Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review ~ The Falconer by Elizabeth May

I'm finally catching up in reviews! I'll have a lot more for you next month.☺

Series: The Falconer #1
Genre: YA historical fiction/fantasy (with steampunk)
Pages: 378
Publication date: , 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Goodreads Description: 

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?
Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review. 

The Falconer was a very creative historical fiction/fantasy with steampunk elements and themes of grief, feminism, and strength. It had its tense moments and laugh-out-loud funny ones. I really enjoyed the majority of the book, but the ending left an "okay" impression.


I loved the blend of historical, fantasy, and steampunk elements. There were dance cards and balls and societal expectations. There was a hilarious pixie and lots of faery slaying and a threat of faery slaying and a threat of faery apocalypses. There was a heroine that loves to invent things (how cool is that?), some flying contraptions, some really cool mechanical spiders, and some awesome weapons. All of that and more was wrapped into this book. I loved it! The elements were blended so well, and I really liked how creative it was.


Aileana was such a good heroine. She fits in well among the strong heroines in YA, but was still a bit different because of setting she was in. She lived in the time where the proper thing to do was wear dresses, go to balls, behave ladylike, marry a worthy man, and keep her family's reputation clean. Aileana, though, didn't want to be a weak person she wanted to avenge her mother's death. She wanted to be strong and she wanted to be strong and she wanted to have control over her life. I saw feminism, grief, and strength highlighted by her and her actions--a combination that many readers may like. She was a very tough character (pretty funny as well), but also had a softer, sadder side (which is where the grief I mentioned comes in). 


Kiaran - I haven't decided just how much I like him yet. He was quite mysterious and seemed to have a complex past, so that's a bonus. He also helps Aileana build her strengths--he taught her how to fight faeries and he never babies her.

Catherine - She was a smaller character, but I just want to say that I really liked that Aileana has a best friend.

Gavin - I won't reveal much about him, but I also really liked his role in the story.

Derrick (the pixie) - He was absolutely hilarious! He added so much humor and was another good friend for Aileana to have.


To me, the ending felt like the word cliffhanger missing the last letter. It felt incomplete. I was reading along and . . . there it was. There was the ending. The book just ended. I had read a few reviews that said there was a massive cliffhanger, so I was expecting it. I was expecting something BIG, but the last sentence--that one that is supposed to drive readers nuts with curiosity over what's going to happen next--didn't feel cliffhanger-y enough for me. 


The Falconer was a great book. Despite the lingering disappointment I have over the ending, there really wasn't much that I didn't enjoy. The creative blend of genres/elements, the heroines, and the characters, though, were what stood out the most to me, and I have a feeling that they'll stand out to most readers.

My questions for you:

Do you like cliffhangers?
Have you read any books with steampunk elements?
What is one of your favorite faery books?


  1. I pretty much regard cliffhangers as a fact of life now, seeing as every single book is now a series. Your description of Aileana and how she embraces her femininity but is still a strong woman reminds me of Celaena from Throne of Glass <3 Great review Kaitlin!

    1. I regard cliffhangers similarly. I'm oftentimes surprised when a book in a series doesn't have one. :D Aileana definitely belongs in the same group of heroines as Celaena. Thank you!

  2. I pretty much hate cliffhangers! Only because i can't handle having to wait for the next bookm they give me such a hangover. I'm only ever okay with a cliffhanger if i have the next book sat next to me ready to go!

    Really can't wait to read this one though, great review! :)

    1. I rarely ever read books of the same series back-to-back, so I'm okay with waiting for the next one to release. :D

      Thank you! I hope you get to read this one soon.

  3. Man I really want to read this book, I posted it on a wishlist a couple of weeks ago! Great review, I can't wait to get hold of a copy!

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination


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