Book Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Posted June 5, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth MayThe Falconer by Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer #1
Published by Gollancz on September 26th, 2013
Genres: Faeries, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Steampunk, Young Adult
Pages: 312
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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 the rare ability to sense the sìthichean — 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 abilities and 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 the 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.

5 Stars

The Falconer is… whoa. Just WHOA. This is a debut? Are you kidding me? I’m addicted, I loved every second, and I want more.

First point of love in this beautiful book with its lovely cover is the unstoppably fierce main character, Aileanna. Holy crap do I love Aileanna. She takes badass to a whole new level. She actually toes the line of morality. She kills faeries and actively loves it. I love a good vengeance story, and with her memories of her mother’s brutal and horrible death, it’s understandable where she’s coming from. I sympathized with her and was drawn into her mission. I couldn’t wait for her to grow stronger and stronger until she could finally take down the faerie who killed her mother.

Aileanna also struggles with the expectations and conventions of her society – the upperclass in Scotland. I love historical fiction, you guys, so I loved seeing her life there. She’s a debutante, attending balls, and subsequently sneaking out to take down faeries. This causes a lot of gossip and glares to be pointed in her direction, but she shrugs it off rather well. She just has different priorities and owns them.

Have I mentioned that she’s also a kickass inventor? How much do I love steampunk? SO SO MUCH YOU GUYS. But this kicked steampunk up a notch. Aileanna is constantly inventing new weapons and transportation vehicles and I love reading about it. It created this absolutely beautiful image in my mind. I loved every detail.

Next topic of love: Kiaran. This is when the fangirls come a-screaming, but they are not wrong. Duuuuude. This guy. SWOOOOOON. I was cautious about him at first. I didn’t really trust him, and I didn’t know what to feel about his relationship with Aileanna, but it got so good man. It’s slow burn – Aileanna doesn’t trust him either. There’s chemistry, but she tries to convince herself she hates him – as she hates all faeries. And the banter. OH THE BANTER. I ships it like whoaaa. But just, yeah. Those few scenes where they just have the briefest touches to each other… I need a fan. Now. Please.

I also seriously, seriously love Derrick, Aileanna’s pixie companion. He is all of the adorbs and seriously gave me the giggles. So more or less all around the cast of characters in this book is amazing. Catherine, Aileanna’s best friend, and Gavin, her past crush, are solid personalities that I loved reading about.

But okay, I should focus on the story too. It’s good, guys. I was sucked in from the first page. I loved Aileanna’s fierce voice and her killer instinct towards the faeries. And I loved how the faerie lore developed and tied to the Scottish setting. The world building was awesome. And then. Well. THINGS happen. Battles. Blood. Gore. Secrets revealed. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

BUT. While I am praising the hell out of this book, I’ll also give you a warning. If you value your sanity, hold off on reading this book until you have the sequel on hand to continue. The ending is one of the cruelest cliffhangers I have ever encountered. Just. Just. WHAT EVEN. HOW. NO. I CAN’T BRAIN. My reaction in gifs:





Summing Up:

Holy crap I love this book. It proudly holds a spot on my “everything-i-wanted” shelf (though I guess I may have tweaked that ending just a little *sobs*). Elizabeth May can expect my therapy bill in the mail. I haven’t felt this seriously enthralled and excited by such a unique fantasy since Stormdancer, I think. Instant favorite. Give me the next one. Now. NOW.

GIF it to me straight!


Recommended To:

Fans of genre mash ups like Stormdancer or beautifully written, deeply creative fantasy like Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

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12 responses to “Book Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

  1. MJ

    So glad you liked this one. I bought it on spur of the moment purchase, so I’ve sort of been weary about reading it. I’ve been on a book drought lately, so I might read this one next.

  2. Joanna W.

    I’ve been wanting to read this anyhow, but now reading your review I REALLY want to read it. I love books with everything-I-want in them, plus Scotland and faeries. If your looking for another special gem, I HIGHLY recommend “Stolen Songbird” by Danielle Jensen. It’s book 1 in The Malediction trilogy, a fantasy; I felt magical while just reading it. 🙂

  3. I’ve seen The Falconer around for a little while and I’ve been on the fence about taking the plunge and reading it. I think you’ve convinced me, it sounds awesome! I love strong main characters like Aileanna and she sounds like so much fun to read about. I’m definitely moving it up my TBR, thanks! Great review 🙂

  4. Now I have serious book envy. I’ve wanted this one in my hands for a long, long time. If Debby approves, then it is a MUST for me.

  5. I really enjoyed this one too. Finally, we have a girl assassin who actually kills! And enjoys it! I loved that, it was refreshing. And Derrick, loved his humor. Aileana and Kiaran have an interesting relationship. It’s more of an alliance with Kiaran as her mentor even though he doesn’t tell her anything (which was quite frustrating). I do wish that we actually got to see their relationship develop. Instead, the book starts with them already knowing each other and he’s already taught her how to kill faeries. To see that transformation from gentle society girl to faerie assassin would have been fascinating and I felt like it kept me from being really emotionally invested in their relationship. That’s my biggest complaint. Other than the cliffhanger…gah! What??? In the middle of a scene cliffhanger. The absolute worst. I’ll definitely be reading the next one and I’m so glad you loved it!

  6. YES!! YESS!! YESSSS!! I absolutely adored this one!! I have no idea how Elizabeth May can have mixed steampunk, historical fiction and fantasy in such a flawless way!! AND THAT ENDIIIIING!!! That has to be the cruelest of book cliffhangers that ever waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!!! *wailing*

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