The Falconer by Elizabeth MayThe Falconer #1
Published on May 6, 2014 by Chronicle Books
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
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I’ve heard wonderful things about The Falconer so I went in with fairly high expectations and that led to a bit of disappointment. Set in an alternate history filled with intriguing inventions and a new spin on the Seelie, Unseelie, and Solitary Fae, I thought that this just had to be the book for me.
Aileana never struck me as anything special. I liked that she invented her own weapons and other useful devices, though it always seems to come in as a side comment, something she just does (I wanted to know more about the inventions!) but otherwise she’s a Faery hunter. A chosen one, the last of her “kind.” And so she spends the book preparing to face the big bad and save the world. Woo… haven’t seen that one before…
Honestly, I wanted Kiaran’s story. He was mysterious enough to make me curious with this layer of humanity he tried to hide behind his Fae nature. His history starts revealing itself closer to the end but he (and Derrick, the pixie) held my attention over Aileana.
Then there was this romance-thing. It started out looking like there would be a love triangle between Aileana, Kiaran, and Gavin (her best friend’s brother). Thankfully that wasn’t the case but the way it’s written that isn’t really confirmed until later. But the romance that was there kind of caught me off guard in the “oh this is actually going to be a thing now” way. I was shipping them, don’t get me wrong, but it was almost a zero to sixty scenario, with the world ending and whatnot, so it didn’t feel real, if that makes sense.
Despite following the Chosen One trope and introducing what could have been a love triangle (the fact that it wasn’t is a redeeming point but the lead-up to that particular reveal was annoying), I loved the way The Falconer took the Fae and twisted the legends into something new. I love all things faerie, especially the stories of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, which are mentioned here so hoping to see more of them. Combined with the Scotland setting and the alternate history, I think the backdrop for this story was my favorite part.
As for the story, I liked the beginning because it did catch my attention. Then the story slowed down and nothing really happened. I mean, Faeries attacked but it was kind of the same thing over and over while the doomsday clock kept ticking and Aileana didn’t move to stop it until the last minute. Then the end was one big action scene ending in a massive cliffhanger that I would assume was intended to make you NEED the next book, but I didn’t feel that.
Honestly, I reached the end at felt a mild interest in the sequel but nothing stronger than that.
The Falconer had the potential but never quite reached it for me. Here’s hoping The Vanishing Throne does a better job of holding my attention. This one was just an average fantasy.