The Falconer by Elizabeth May


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.


I don’t think I read the description before I started reading it.  It’s a habit that I’ve gotten into that I’m grateful for, because more often than not, the jacket summary gives me a set of expectations before I go into it, and the story is typically different from the expectations that the jacket summary gave me, sometimes better, sometimes worse.  In The Falconer‘s case, my expectation of a story borne of wish fulfillment would have been spot on.

What Worked for Me

Some dialogue • • • Admittedly, there was some clever dialogue that made me laugh out loud, mostly from the feisty sidekick (of course) but the main character, Aileana, was pretty sharp-tongued, so there’s that.

World building • • • Big fan of Scotland and the time period, so definitely a plus for me.

What Didn’t

Main character • • • Okay, can I just say: get over yourself, Aileana Kameron.  I’m not a huge fan of the “looks like a beauty, kills like a beast” trope anyway, but this girl was the constant host of her own never-ending pity party, and it drove me bonkers.  “I’m a monster, I’ve accepted this about myself” blah blah blah.  Suffice it to say, she was not what carried this story for me.

Bits of the romance • • • So the question is, what did carry this story for me?  Well, up until the resolution of the love triangle came about, it was the romance, in a guilty pleasure sort of way.  But as soon as she made her choice, I lost all interest.  Resolving the love triangle killed a lot of tension.  My major critique is that the romantic tension should’ve been carried along as long as possible, because in this case, I feel that the romantic tension was far more satisfying than the relationship itself.

World building • • • This is in ‘What Didn’t Work For Me’ because I wasn’t totally satisfied with the world building.  It wasn’t all bad, but I expected a charcoal sketch and got a watercolor, and I feel this had to do with the writing style.  I just didn’t feel immersed.

Plot • • • Was not a fan of the ending at all.  If you aren’t a fan of cut-off endings, either, may want to give this book a pass, or have the sequel standing by for immediate consumption.  As for me, I wasn’t enthralled by any of it enough to rush out and get the sequel, so I was just annoyed with the way the book ended.  I thought it was a heavy-handed attempt to keep the reader hooked, and it completely lacked tact.


Despite my issues with it, The Falconer did teach me about the delicate process of building a character arc, and how it comes off when it isn’t done well.  Also, don’t kill the romantic tension.  I really wish Aileana and Co. had been a group I could cheer for, but beyond her feisty sidekick, I wasn’t overly enthralled.  So, farewell, Falconer series.

Book Info

378 pages • Book 1 • Published May 2014 by Chronicle Books


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