Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 with 21 comments
Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer, book #1
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?



The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)I always think I'm done with fae stories, and then a book like this comes along and I'm pulled back in. I wasn't even going to read this one, not with the original UK cover (to the right), anyway. I know, I know...don't judge a book by it's cover, but that cover just did not appeal to me. Once the new cover was posted, though, I took notice...not because I love it or anything -- it's just another headless body -- but it's slightly less ferocious in nature and I actually read the synopsis this time around and felt compelled to pick it up.

And after reading The Falconer, I can say that the UK cover actually does the story justice because Kam, the heroine of our story, is fierce and determined and an altogether kickass protagonist. She's hellbent on avenging her mother's death at the hands of faeries, her reputation be damned. Well, for the most part. Everyone thinks she had something to do with her mother's murder, including her father, because of the manner in which they found her with her mother's body. So, in truth, she'd like to clear her name and earn her father's love. But considering that everything that's happened was because of faeries that aren't supposed to exist, that's a lot easier said than done.

Rather than trying to expose the fae and risking society believing she's a lunatic, Aileana sneaks out at night and battles the fae on her own. Well, not completely on her own. She does have a little pixie who lives in her wardrobe, mending her garments in exchange for honey, which makes him hilariously drunk. And she does have MacKay. Broody and menacing as he may be, he is Kam's mentor in her battle against the fae. And being fae himself, Kam knows better than to trust him completely.

Kam's father is an arse. Her best friend is a ninny who is only there as a means to connect Kam to her brother Gavin. And Gavin has his own issues, but he's a friendly enough guy. There is a love triangle of sorts, but I felt as if one side never fully legitimized itself, at least not based on true feelings, so I discounted the triangle pretty much from the beginning. Honestly, I really liked the romance in general, without the intrusion of a third party, because it was slow to build but also because it was rarely at the forefront of the story. (And because it provided some seriously swoony moments!)

After all, this is a story about kicking some fae ass, and it does it's job well by also providing us a truly awesome heroine. Aileana is ferocious in battle, but she's also clever, inventing all manner of things to make her fae-hunting adventures even more advantageous. There are steampunk elements in this story, as well, and I enjoyed the parallels between industry and machines versus the fae magic. I also loved the writing and pacing of the story, even when the action was particularly, ahem, violent.

I've seen comparisons to Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, but I can't speak to those, having never read that series myself. However, if they are even remotely accurate comparisons, I'm sure I will find myself picking up those books in the very near future. Preferably on audio so I can get to them that much sooner. Either way, I think it's pretty clear that I was impressed with this story, much more so than I expected to be. And after that ending -- which I'm not sure can adequately be described as a cliffhanger because the story just stops abruptly -- I'm dying to read more of Kam's story. I can't believe I almost passed on this novel!

GIF it to me straight:
Please tell me more...now, not next year.


About the author:

Elizabeth May was born in California, where she lived during her formative years before moving to Scotland. She is currently working on her PhD at the University of St Andrews. When she isn’t writing or doing academics, she can be found with a camera in hand; her photography has been published on an array of book covers and in magazines. She currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband. THE FALCONER is her début novel.

Find Elizabeth:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook | Tumblr


21 comments:

  1. Awesome review. I have this one my TBR too. I didn't like the UK cover either. Oh I and I so want a pixe in my closet mending my clothes. I could do without the fae battles though. I am so not a kick ass heroine. That is why I like to read about them. Moving this book on up on my list.

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    1. Good, glad I'm not the only one, though it did grow on me as I read the story. :) And I know, right? Especially if he's as good-natured as Derrick was and all he asked for was a spot of honey. :D That's why I prefer stories with epic heroines, too...so I can *pretend* I'm kickass like them. :P

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  2. Uhm, okay. You sold me on the little pixie drunk on honey. :)

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    1. Oh, yay...he really was a bit of fun thrown into a darker story. Though, he could get mean when he wanted to. :)

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  3. I'm not a big fan of Fae stories but this sounds kind of kick ass so I might give it a try.

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    1. It didn't feel like the typical fae story to me, where you walk into their world and everything is gorgeous and mysterious. But it was definitely more than a little kickass...the uglier fae, the trolls and hellhounds, are in our territory and Kam's made it her job to stop them. The story worked really well for me.

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  4. YES! So happy to see those 5 stars. With you loving it then I'm for sure going to. *sigh of relief* I've had my eye on this book since seeing the UK cover and I have the e-arc but somehow I've resisted diving in yet. Since I will be reading/reviewing this soon (I hope) I didn't read all the details in your review but I HAD to know what you thought of it. *happy*

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    1. I wavered between 4 and 5 stars for, like, 2 seconds...but this is the kind of fae story I really enjoy: lots of action with a touch of magic, instead of the other way around.

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  5. Stellar review, Jen! I've never read a fae story before. I guess I've never felt the urgency to do so, but this one sounds pretty cool! I mean, death by faerie? Is that a thing in literature? It sounds creepy and crazy, and I like it! Plus, there's a kick ass heroine and lots of action! Sometimes, you just need those types of reads. I hope my library gets a copy. I'll be on the lookout for that. :)

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    1. Thanks, Marlene! But never? You've never read a fae story? Oh, then this is definitely a good one to start with, but it might ruin you for others, as most focus on romance and magic and aren't nearly as kickass as this one, unless they're more adult than YA. I hope you get to read it soon!

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  6. This cover definitely appeals to me as well, and I want to own it in hardback! I don't read a lot of fae YA either, but I like how strong Kam sounds, she's the type of MC I love reading about.

    Now following your blog :) xox

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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    1. Yep, Kam is definitely my favorite kind of MC. And I want to own a copy of this book, too, but I don't know if that's the cover talking or the fact that I'm a book hoarder. :P

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  7. This does sound good. I love the blend of genres like PNR and Historical so I'll definitely be giving it a try.

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    1. I enjoyed the blending of genres, too, even if the fae aren't my favorite subject. But I think the fact that the historical elements were there to focus on, too, helped.

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  8. I'm so with you. The original cover didn't even spark my interest, but I totally decided to give this a try after seeing the new cover. It's the hair. I love it. So I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed this one. Fae novels aren't normally my thing, but I love a good kick-ass heroine. The fact that the novel stops so abruptly has me cringing a little bit, though. Great review!

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    1. I love the hair, too! I wish I had hair like that! Fae stories haven't been my thing for some time, but this one really stood out to me because of how kickass Kam is. I'll read anything as long as the heroine is like her. :) The ending does leave something to be desired, namely, the next book, lol, but I can overlook that because I enjoyed the story immensely.

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  9. Wow, 5 stars, Jen?! I guess I should have asked Chronicle for this one. Hmmmm..... I agree with you, though, I thought the UK cover was kind of messy and I didn't care for the colors all that much. The US version is much nicer. Plus, her HAIR. <3

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Yep, probably more like 4.5 because of that abrupt ending, but I enjoyed this story so much that I had to round up. :) That hair is awesome, no?

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