Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

July 18, 2014 Book 21

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth MayThe Falconer by Elizabeth May
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Series: The Falconer #1
Published by Chronicle Books on May 6th, 2014
Source: Borrowed from Library
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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.

Marianne’s Thoughts: 

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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I'm Marianne. Professional Fangirl, part-time Blogger. Full-time college student. GIFs are a natural part of my posts, so be warned. I LOVE reading, so definitely feel free to discuss books with me. Opinions are welcome.
  • Omg, omg I’m reading this at the moment, just over halfway and it is so INTENSE when it comes to KIARA and GAVIN. AGggh I just love both of them and I don’t know which one better! It seems like there’s more tension between Kiara though. I kind of like the contraptions and inventions, steampunk isn’t something I read a lot and I like the bits here :)

    • They are both so cute and adorable! Maybe I’m more partial to Kiaran because he’s… Kiaran, but I think Gavin is a really great contender in the triangle. The steampunk was well written and fleshed out, however I think it’s more of a personal issue than an issue with the book. I’ve read a couple of steampunk books already and while interesting, I could never truly appreciate the contraptions.

  • The cliffhanger fairy strikes again. Gosh, I can’t even begin to say how I loathe them, too, along with love triangles. Anyway, I like that even though it uses several tropes that have been used in other books already, it was still able to give something new to the table. I’m sorry that the steampunk aspect didn’t mesh well with the story and I’m quite apprehensive because I haven’t really read many fae and steampunk stories so I do not know what to expect. Nevertheless, I’m glad you enjoy the book! Lovely review, Marianne.

    • The steampunk didn’t click with me. However if you really enjoy steampunk I’m sure you’d love it. It’s just that I didn’t expect that to appear in the book so when it did I couldn’t really enjoy it as much as I would’ve. I was thoroughly engrossed in the book, though, so expect a captivating book if you ever read it. 🙂

  • I’m not that really into fae stories (which is why I couldn’t get into Julie Kagawa’s one, but loved her Blood of Eden) but I might give it a try, since I love revenge based stories anyway, and it does sound badass, and the romance. Sexual tension ones are always the best, so yesss! Haven’t read that many steampunk, though I read an Arthurian/Steampunk and DNF’D it because I just couldn’t get into it. I love Arthurian time stories, so I guess the steampunk ruined it for me. So I’m 50/50 on this now. :( But you don’t know until you’ve tried it, right? :)

  • *sighs* I’m glad you liked this one Marianne, but I had to put it aside for later just a few chapters in. I’m not giving up on it! But I had already heard about the cliffhanger ending, and the constant middled-age man, Victorian curses drove me up the wall. SORRY!! But again, I’m glad you liked it. I’ll just probably wait until the series is finished before trying it again ;)

  • I really need to get my hands on this book myself! I saw a lot of bloggers loving it left and right, and I’ve been curious ever since. It would be interesting to see the Faes portrayed as brutal creatures. I’m imagining them now as piranha-ish… so small, so light, but with razor-sharp teeth that can rip off a chunk of your flesh… Although I’m sure it’s not as cliché as that, these Faes, yes? ;) Great review and I can’t wait to meet this heroine!

    • Haha no definitely not cliché. Actually look as ruthless as they are. I hope you enjoy it once you get to read it! Thanks for stopping by, Faye 🙂

  • Don’t ask why…but I LOVE books with fairies in them. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one, so I’m really intrigued! 😀 Aileana sounds like such a strong heroine, and I love the sound of her dynamics with her best friend. Definitely going to check this out! Thanks for sharing Marianne, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

  • I love books like these that center around a strong protagonist like Aileana. I love the fantasy aspect and the twist where Fae are actually the bad guys, not the light and peaceful ones. This book sounds amazing, I hope I can read it soon! Awesome review.

  • I haven’t read many fae stories (partly because i never found them all that interesting) but i’m loving the sound of The Falconer! Love that he MC is a pretty kickass character and while the love triangle aspect of the book isn’t my favourite i can support the fact that it isn’t the main focus of the book!

    • Aileana is pretty kickass. And the romance isn’t the main focus. Give it a try, maybe you’ll end up liking dae stories 🙂

  • The main character in this one almost reminds me of Celaena from Throne of Glass 😛 With all the badassery and killing, at least. I think I’ve heard more than a few people say that about the steampunk, which is kind of a shame. It almost seems like it’s just in there to BE there, and not that it really adds anything. Great review :3

    • Haven’t read Throne of Glass (what am I waiting for? No idea) but if Celaena is badass then I’m definitely up for that. I think it could be more of a personal preference because I can’t seem to enjoy steampunk no matter how I read it.

      Thanks, Alise. 🙂

  • Hmmm, so much to like here. A few things that are unappealing though. Characters that you want to lock in a closet for instance. Those drive me nuts. Maybe I will have to check it out though!

    • For some reason the characters I want to lock in the closet are one of my favourite parts. LOL. I guess I like angst? Anyways, yes, you’ve got nothing to lose by checking it out.

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