Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Series: The Falconer #1
Published by Chronicle Books on May 6th, 2014
Source: Borrowed from Library
Amazon, Barnes & Noble , The Book Depository
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, is attending yet another boring debutante ball. Beautiful, rich, and charming, Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady; there is far more to her than meets the eye. She can sense the presence of faeries, or Sithichean—most of whom are hideous and deadly to humans. She has been trained by one of their kind, the mysterious and magnetic Kiaran MacKay, on how to kill them. And she has vowed to track and destroy the faery who murdered her mother—and annihilate any remaining ones who prey on humans in the city’s streets. Aileana has come to accept and even relish her strange double life. But even she is taken by surprise when she learns that she is a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing faeries. And she is the sole hope of containing a powerful faerie population underground—a population that for the first time in thousands of years is breaking free of a device that has held them captive.
There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve read a book like this before: a quest for revenge, impending doom on the horizon, brooding and mysterious guy with a secret way to help, a dangerous race bent on destroying humanity, the fate of the world on the shoulders of one girl. This is a very standard plot. I may just have described The Mortal Instruments to you. Or maybe Fallen, or The Iron King. Point is, a story like this has been done before.
However, what Elizabeth May brings to the table is an original and refreshing spin on the fae. The fae are no longer these compassionate, flower frolicking, creatures that mean no harm. The fae are these monsters that feed on human energy; they’re ruthless killers.
Since the murder of her mother, Aileana has dedicated her life to killing as many fae as she can. With the help of Kiaran McKay, she’s a brutal and merciless eradicator of these creatures. However, the fairy who murdered her mother is still out there, and Aileana will stop at nothing until it is destroyed. Burdened by keeping up the debutante façade while protecting those she cares about seems harder and harder each day, but Lady Aileana cannot ignore the deep desire for revenge. Just how far is she willing to go?
I love stories of women who are strong and brave and kickass. That’s why I was so interested in this story in the first place. I wanted to see first hand just how badass Aileana was. And I was not disappointed.
“I’ve committed murder exactly one hundred and fifty-eight times in twelve months. My tally grows almost every night.”
She doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t let anything get in the way, she knows what she has to do, and when she has to do it. I really admired Aileana, though I would’ve wished that as a narrator, she‘d showed a bit more than what she told.
Another element in this story that I really didn’t click with was the steampunk. There is a lot of steampunk in this story, and it frankly didn’t add much except that it lost me with all the description. Every time a new contraption was introduced, I couldn’t help but groan internally. I really don’t think it was that necessary, even if there were many weapons that Aileana used throughout the story.
I liked that Aileana had strong relationships with other characters, such as Catherine (her best friend) and Gavin (one of the love interests). My favorite side character was definitely Derrick, a pixie who was basically the comic relief. I really enjoyed his interactions with Aileana and I think he was a really dependable friend. I would’ve wanted a more solid relationship with her father, but I’m hoping this is something we’ll see later on in the next book.
Kiaran is basically the character Aileana is “closest” to, but that’s because he’s the only one that actually knows her secret. He’s… definitely something. We don’t know much of him, except that he’s cold and calculating
(and gorgeous) . I enjoyed every time his demeanor would slip and we would actually see into his real emotions.
There is sort of a love triangle here, but one of the few that I really enjoyed. It wasn’t a “I love both of them, what do I do?” love triangle, but mostly a “should I listen to my heart, or perform my duty?” triangle. It was really nice to see because it was like Aileana’s normal girl side and her fairy killer sides were both at war.
The romance here is not that present (even if there is a love triangle), but when it was present it was so intense. I would be clutching the book in my hands without daring to breathe because I didn’t want the tension to break. There is a lot of sexual tension and I just wanted to take the characters and lock them in a closet or something until they resolved their issues.
There was a cliffhanger. And I couldn’t enjoy it because I felt really pissed off. It was unnecessary. I was already motivated to read the second book, there was no need to end the book in such a pivotal moment.
Overall, although a story seen before, Elizabeth May finds a way to make it her own. If you’re new to fae stories, or have never found the right one for you, definitely check out this book.
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