Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Age Classification: YA
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: 6 May 2014
Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.
Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.
But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?
I’d seen so many amazing pictures involving this book on bookstagram! It looked absolutely beautiful! So imagine my horror when the copy I ordered ended up coming with a different cover. Now I know we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers – but we’ve all done it! I still decided to give it a go, because I’d also heard it was a great story!
We start with our protagonist. Aileana hunts faeries after she witnesses the death of her mother at the hands of a fairy. She puts aside the ‘easy’ world of being a rich lady in those times and focuses on how to better hone herself as a weapon. She is a fierce, dark warrior and should be everything we want in a heroine. However I was much more interested in learning about Kiaran, our dark and brooding almost hero of the fairie kind. His history is full of secrets and we barely scratch the surface of why he is a brooding as he is! There’s so much more to find out about him, and I’m sure we’ll learn more in the next books.
The story is set in Edinburgh in the 1840’s. But this is no ordinary Scotland – it’s steampunk Scotland! Having lived in Scotland, I enjoyed the historical aspects included in the story, being able to follow the story setting in my mind. But even for those who have never been to Scotland before, the story weaves by May is intoxicating and gripping. The history of the faeries is able to be fully explored with Scottish folklore as a base, and this folklore almost makes the fantasy story believable – who are we to say that they don’t exist!?
I really wanted to love this book. But aside from the historical setting, I felt like the world building fell a little flat. There was so much potential with the steampunk additions, but I don’t think there was enough explanation or reasons why these things were invented. They’re cool – definitely – but they seem superfluous to the overall story. While I wanted to be completely invested in the characters, I just wasn’t (aside from Kiaran). And back to Kiaran – we need to address the cliffhanger. That was the type of cliffhanger you end a tv episode with. Not a whole book! In saying that, it was enough of a cliffhanger to make me buy the next book! So I guess that’s still a success!
This book gets a ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ out of five stars from me. It was an interesting read, and I want to know what happens next, but it just wasn’t as gripping as I had hoped. You can still grab a copy here and tell me what you think!
Have you ever read a book and had it not meet your expectations?
Happy readings loves!