ARC Review: The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May


The Falconer
Series: The Falconer #1
Author: Elizabeth May
Published September 19th 2013 by Gollancz

Goodreads Synopsis
One girl's nightmare is this girl's faery tale
She's a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.
She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.
She's a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.
She's a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.
The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read. 

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

Now, I read this book way back in early 2014, but couldn't really remember much about it. I knew I'd have to re-read it soon, seeing as The Vanishing Throne is coming out in November, and when I saw a copy available on NetGalley to review, I just had to request it.

All I could remember was:
- It's set in 19th century Edinburgh, but there's loads of technological inventions that shouldn't be there - basically, it's steampunk.
- Aileana is the daughter of some high aristocrat, who saw her mother killed by an evil faerie, and since then she's been killing other faeries on basically a nightly basis.
- She has a friendly little faerie living in her closet, and is being trained by another, Kiaran, who kills his own kind for some reason.
- I also remembered a load of stuff about Aileana and Gavin, but spoilers, so I won't talk about that here.
- Something really big happens at the end, and there is a massive cliffhanger, which made the wait to November even longer.

I think I'd done pretty well with all of what I remembered. Basically, the story is that Aileana discovered her mother's dead body on the night of her debut into society, and saw the evil faerie standing over the body. Since then, she's gone out to kill faeries in a hope to find the one who murdered her mother, and have her vengeance. On the way, she is found by Kiaran, a faerie, who helps to train her, and fights alongside her against the nasty faeries. Another nice faerie, a pixie, called Derrick, lives in her dressing room, and mends her ruined clothes in return for bowls of honey. When the book starts, Aileana is 18, and just returned into society after a year of mourning. Her father, the Marquess of Douglas, tells her she needs to get her act together, and will be married by the end of the Season. She no longer cares of marriage or children, rather all she thinks about is enacting her vengeance on the faerie who murdered her mother, taking down as many others as she can along the way.

Aileana is a heroine who I love! She's strong and feisty, but also has a vulnerable side that comes out from time to time. She knows she;'s no longer the perfect nineteenth century lady, but she keeps up that facade for the sake of her family's reputation. Inside, she has a blood lust with you don't really see that often, and her fighting and innovation skills are unparalleled. Basically, she was born in the wrong time. She built her own ornihopter, kind of like a helicopter, and invents her own weapons to include the thistle that is deadly to Fae.

Though she is impatient with her faerie friends at time, she cares for them deeply, and the feeling is reciprocated.  Derrick and Kiaran are both steadfastly protective of Aileana, even with each other, and their depths of feelings for her was wonderful to see. Aileana has to hide a lot of herself from her human friends and family, and having someone to share her true self with was something she desperately needed. When she learns what being a Falconer actually means, she accepts her fate with a strong face.

The romance in this book was so slow that it almost hurt, but at the same time, it was well worth the wait. That was another thing I remembered from my previous read of the book, but it felt I was reading it all over again for the very first time. It was also not without it's angst. I know that book 2 will be heartbreaking to read, and I'm expecting some truly heart wrenching scenes when you consider the cliffhanger. To talk about the cliffhanger, it was abrupt. I remember how much I wanted more, and that is something still present. It just ends in the middle of a really important action sequence, and you're left with tons of questions of what is to happen next. I'm glad November isn't that far away now, and I just hope The Vanishing Throne doesn't end with an even worst cliffhanger.

Basically, this book was wonderful, and a perfect addition to the genres of YA, fantasy, steampunk, history, UKYA, etc. The writing style was exactly how I'd expect it to be for that time, and I love to hear more about Scottish myths in the sequels. I can't recommend this enough, and, considering the book was first published in September 2013, you should have read it by now.

Dates Read:
July 27-28, 2015

5 Stars  

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  1. Oooo, so you read these two fairly close together! It's been well over a year since I've read The Falconer, but it's one of those rare books that I remember a lot about, even after so long (it was that good!). I am SO excited to start The Vanishing Throne at some point in the near ish future! So happy that you loved both, Sophie. :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!