I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. 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. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mothers murder, but first she’ll have to save the world.
I’ve been really into Scotland since starting Outlander. Because of that, I was beyond excited to read Elizabeth May’s debut The Falconer, which takes place in 1844 Edinburgh. What ended up being disappointing though, was the steampunk aspect. There was no world building in regard to this. It was the opposite of an info-dump, I got very little and had a hard time orienting myself and deciding how different the world is. And I’ll say I’ve never read any steampunk, so maybe there’s not supposed to be any world building, but I felt like I needed it.
In addition to that, I feel like the plot moved along very slowly. It wasn’t until about halfway through that I felt engaged in the book. Before that, the characters were just going through their everyday motions and the main point of the story hadn’t yet been revealed.
Speaking of the characters, I found Aileana to be a really intersting heroine. She used to be your typical debutant, but then she witnessed her mother was gruesomely murdered by fae. Ever since Aileana has been a social pariah, and secretly hunting fae. She’s actually a Falconer—a person with the innate ability to hunt fae, as passed down through the mother’s bloodline. I enjoyed her feisty behavior and remarks, along with her talent for inventing. But what I eventually got a bit annoyed or frustrated with was her hyper-bloodlust.
Feeding this bloodlust is her training partner, Kiaran. He’s actually centuries old and a very powerful fae, who surprisingly wants to destroy his own kind. I was very hesitant about him for most of the book. He’s very composed and you don’t get a lot from him. Another fae friend of Aileana’s is Derrick. He’s this really fun and vibrant pixie who lives in her wardrobe, eating honey and mending clothes. He has some truly great one-liners.
There are some other central characters that come up, but I’m going to skip on them to avoid spoiling. I will say that there is romance in The Falconer. It’s a little bit confusing honestly. It seems to switch back and forth hinting at who the love interest might be, without really creating a love triangle. It’s not the central point of the book, which I’m happy about, but because of that when it’s all resolved (well kind of) it feels a bit forced.
As the first book in a trilogy, obviously The Falconer ends with a crazy cliffhanger. And even though I had some problems with this book, I see myself possibly picking up the second and third to figure out how this all gets resolved. A good debut, you can find The Falconer on Amazon and author at elizabethmaywrites.com. Give it a read and let me know what you think in the comments. Plus leave recommendations for my next book!