Overall Score: 8/10
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Series: Yes, Book 1
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Book Summary (From GoodReads)
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.
Warning: Before you begin reading this book, make sure to have the sequel readily available because you will want it right away. I didn’t have the second book and spent a few minutes staring at a wall after turning the last page. The Falconer originally lured me in with the promise of steampunk, Scotland, and fae. It absolutely delivered on every single one of those promises. This series is incredibly addictive and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
Aileana is such a wonderfully broken character. When we first meet her, her world has been torn apart by her mother’s death and the knowledge of what she witnessed that night. Aileana revels in her nightly hunts of the fae, savoring the power and sense of revenge each death brings her. What I particularly liked about this book is that she still conformed to (or at least attempted to) the standard of high society. While she didn’t like them, she still accepted the power they had over her life. Many books gloss over the social repercussions of being different in that time period and I loved that this one didn’t.
The world building was a little skimpy and left me with many questions (and the need to read the second book to find out more). I hope to see the world fleshed out in the rest of the trilogy. Most of the explanations about the world came up as Aileana learned about them. Since she doesn’t know much herself, the reader is left wondering about some things (such as her powers, what’s special about her bloodline, etc). However, there was enough world-building to allow me to enjoy the novel without feeling as if I was missing essential pieces of information.
Onto my favorite character. Derrick was funny, warm-hearted, and good (as well as sassy and honey-obsessed). The inclusion of a good fae to contrast with the morally ambiguous and evil ones was a brilliant idea of the authors. I loved his relationships with both Aileana and Kiaran. Now I just need to figure out how to lure him (or a pixie like him) into my closet to take care of my clothes….
The romance was one of the weaker aspects of this book for me. Aileana seemed to flip-flop between her feelings for the two men in her life, occassionally giving me whip-lash. Also, Kiaran’s romantic history was too shadowed in mystery to make me truly root for him. I can see the chemistry between them but would have liked a little bit more detail/fleshing out of their relationship.
The Falconer is definitely worth a read if you enjoy this genre. The author made some excellent character choices across the board that allowed it to stand out from some similar novels I’ve read recently. I was so engrossed in the characters and the excellently paced plot that I didn’t realize I had finished the book before turning the last page. I am definitely going to continue with this series (particularly after that absolutely brutal cliffhanger!!)