Fairies and Steampunk and Bloodshed, oh my, or my review of The Falconer

red border limited cropThe Falconer (The Falconer #1)

by Elizabeth May

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Publication Date: May 6th, 2014

Format Read: Kindle E-Book


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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3 star rating


I’m going to say this a lot, but this was a typical YA novel which really failed to grab my interest. Overall it was a pleasant read, just nothing terribly new or stimulating.

We start with Aileana Kameron, Edinburgh society lady by day, faerie-killer by night. Or, you know, at balls between dance sets. Of course, we learn pretty quickly that her skills don’t extend to a few fairies, such as the sassy one living in her closet, or the one secretly teaching her the best ways to kill fairies, Kiaran. But when she gets wind that the fairy who killed her mother (and inspired her massacre) is coming to Edinburgh, she has to choose between revenge and saving the world from a massive host of fairies about to swarm Edinburgh. Oh, and there’s something of a love triangle.

The book has a certain wry humor, I’ll give it that. The sassy fairy is quite sassy, and he was one of my favorite characters in any scene we come across. Aileana is a bit sassy, and love interest Gavin is funny and amusing, more so than the brooding fairy Kiaran, who in my mind has too many secrets anyways. It’s also fast-paced and action-filled. You don’t have to wait more than five chapters for a charmingly bloodthirsty battle scene, usually involving steampunk technology that Aliana has made herself.

Cons? Well, the characters aren’t too well thought out. Aliana is sassy, admirable in her determination to get out of the obligations of society (aka marriage) while being totally ineffectual about it. It feels like she is Standard Heroine Material, cut out in the form of a red-headed weapons-wielding Scotsgirl (entirely original, just ask Disney) and placed in a story with fairies and steampunk. Tragic Parental Backstory plus Daddy Doesn’t Love Me, a dash of Destiny and a side of Miraculous Inventor. Kiaran too, besides his obsession with wiping out his own race, is Standard Brooding Love Interest. The only main character who seems to break a mold is Gavin, who at least questions why everyone is chasing him and trying to kill him. Still, he blows hot and cold the entire book–not wanting to be a part of Aliana’s quest, but joining it anyways, denying any interest in Aliana but attacking Kiaran for his.

The plot, despite the action, felt dull as well–like, there wasn’t much besides action and the highly awkward love triangle. Have I talked about the love triangle yet? Alieana is hopelessly drawn to the brooding, genocidal fairy, but can’t help feeling something for her friend’s brother, to whom she is also engaged. And the violence and blood gets a bit boring after a while–you know in every scene there’s going to be lots of fairies chasing Alieana and crew, and she’s going to save the day with some fantastical steampunk thing. It’s not that it didn’t catch my interest, it’s just that nothing made a lasting impression on me. Certainly an entertaining read, just not more than that.

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.

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