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on 23 November 2017
What a fantastic book. I absolutely adored the wit and setting of this story but kick-ass Aileana (Faery Assassin) guaranteed The Falconer a place in my overflowing bookshelf.
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on 20 April 2014
From all the hype I read and videos on this debut novel I have to say I was a little dissapointed. The book starts out pretty slow. The first 1/3 of the book is very slow, really setting up the characters. Then from there the book steps into high gear.

There are certain things that really did not make sense to me if you are going to write a story in 1844, I really did not expect lightning pistols, batwing style flying machines, even electric drink despencers. Really? I do like thet fact that Aileana in an inventor/engineer, but she seems to have some majior technological breakthroughs.

The main character Lady Aileana seems to be a cross between the Buffy the vampire slayer and the imortals in the Highlander. As you might have guessed the falconers are a type of slayer. Aileana, powers seem to be the ability to sense Faeries, and take their energy after killing them in a quickening style.

After the murder of her mother Aileana, old life was destroyed, driven by anger and vengeance, and trained by the mysterious Kiaran MacKey. However when everyone has their own agenda, can she trust Kiaran, or even her old friends or her old loves.

This is the thing Aileana old life seems to be going to endless ball and dances, to try and attract a husband. As one of the characters say how do you even breath like this. There are some good ideas in the book, but everything seem to do from slow to hyperspeed in a matter of seconds. An example one minute the have problems killing one beast Aileana and her friend who have never fought together turn into a well oiled killing machine. This is my main problem with the book, but all in all some good ideas and lots of action to keep the book interesting.
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on 10 July 2017
Actual rating – 4.5 stars

I’d heard a lot about this series and seen it on a number of steampunk recommendation lists so I had pretty high hopes going into it, and it didn’t disappoint.

The setting was quite fun, set during the Victorian era in Scotland we follow debutant and heiress Aileana as she tries to balance her dull, mundane life as a Lady (filled with endless balls and searches for a suitor) with her secret life as a fearless slayer of faeries. I did like Aileana, she was witty and brave, but she wasn’t perfect – she had a short temper and had a tendency to get too cocky, and I liked that about her. I liked that she wasn't a perfect heroine, she was flawed but still wonderful.
The rest of the characters were equally as great. We have Aileana’s fun pixie friend, Derrick who provided a great deal of humour throughout the story. Her childhood friends Catherine and Gavin were kind and supportive. And then there’s Kiaran. What do I even say about Kiaran? Dark, brooding, secretive, mysterious…sexy. I loved him. He taught her to fight and they bicker like children, but I loved that neither of them backed down, there was so much chemistry and passion between them. Kiaran wins major points from me for fighting alongside Aileana and treating her like a partner instead of coddling her and treating her like a damsel. I do love a man who treats a woman equally and encourages her to be independent.

The world that the author has created in this book is just fantastic. I loved the depth to the fae elements and the varieties of faeries that Aileana encounters, as well as the steampunk theme that is woven through. Aileana is a bit of an inventor and she creates some truly unique weapons throughout the book that would look so cool in a film adaptation. I would’ve loved some concept art or sketches of them because they sounded so intricate and unique.

The pacing is pretty good throughout, I was a little worried that too much focus would be placed on Aileana’s role in society and her duties as a Lady, but pleasantly these parts were minimal and still relative to the plot so they didn’t slow it down at all – in fact, they added a lot of fun and humour to the story (and I would definitely find her duties as tedious as she did!).
There was a lot of fighting in this, which is a huge plus for me because a lot of first books in a series spent so much time setting up the world and the plot that all the action happens quickly at the end – not in The Falconer. There is action from the very beginning <3

It does end on a cliffhanger and I’d recommend having the next book handy because you’ll definitely want to find out what happens!
I did really enjoy this book, but something kept it from getting five stars. It’s difficult to explain, but for me it lacked a little something, the sort of thing that would keep my completely gripped. Although I enjoyed it, and I read it relatively quickly, it didn’t give me that ‘can’t put it down’ feeling that I’ve gotten from my other five star books, so for that reason I’ve rounded down to four stars on my rating.
I would still recommend this one hundred percent to fantasy fans, especially if you’re looking for a steampunk theme or love kick-ass heroines.
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on 14 January 2017
Himself procured this one from the library and after devouring it more or less in one sitting, plonked it down in front of me with stern instructions to read it. So I did.

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.

Yes… the blurb does go on a bit – but it is worth including the whole thing because it neatly sums up Aileana’s issues. As an heiress and gentlewoman in a steampunk equivalent of the Victorian era, she is supposed to waft about in corseted dresses designed to keep her physically helpless. But since her mother’s brutal murder and relentless training from Kiaran, a fae warrior who seems to have thrown his lot in with humanity – or at least with Aileana – she has become adept at hunting and killing fae who prey on humans. And her struggles to keep her conflicting worlds apart isn’t wholly successful, with some farcical interludes, though the humour fades as the book progresses.

What this isn’t is some bodice-ripping romance where the supernatural element is an excuse to introduce a totally hot stud for our heroine to swoon over. Not that there isn’t a hot stud, but he’s disturbingly alien and savage – Tinkerbell he ain’t… We are tipped into the middle of Aileana’s situation as her behaviour increasingly marks her apart and makes her a target for gossip as she isn’t behaving appropriately.

Inevitably she has to make some hard choices in this fast-paced, surprisingly gritty story that completely drew me in. I like the fact she has been traumatised by witnessing her mother’s bloody murder and that incident has defined her behaviour as she seeks revenge – and in doing so, she has discovered she very much enjoys killing fae. However there are moments of humour as she has a small faery living in her dressing room. Derrek has appointed himself as her protector and loathes Kiaran, so there are some amusing scenes where he is vowing to revenge himself on the formidable warrior.

I read this one in three greedy gulps as the world drew me in and wouldn’t let me go – and we’ve now ordered the second one from the library. In the meantime, if you enjoyed Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, while there are a lot of differences, the intense writing style and punchy heroine reminds me of that world. Highly recommended.
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on 19 June 2017
Are you a Sarah J. Maas fan jonesing for your next fix of stunning, kick-ass killing machine? Well, do I have a treat for you!

I picked up this book for a couple of reasons: one, the beautiful cover (the original one, the new one is pretty too); and two, the premise sounded a bit like a historical fantasy version of the Fever series by Karen Moning - a big favourite of mine. I'm probably not the first person to instantly get Fever vibes when I saw that the main character has the rare ability to sense Fae, but once I started reading, the Fever comparisons stopped and I found enough original material to concentrate solely on what I was reading.

The Falconer introduces us to our fantastic heroine, Aileana, who's seeking vengeance for the death of her mother at the hands of the Fae. She's ruthless in the extreme (which is where my recommendation for Maas fans comes in!) and will stop at nothing, killing every Fae she comes across. The story was fast-paced and engaging, and introduced several other characters that I fell instantly in love with.

The highlight for me was the developing relationship between Aileana and another pivotal character, a mentor of sorts. It was incredibly enticing and I only want more from that direction. I also loved the setting of historical Scotland and the steampunk elements sprinkled on top only brought more ingenuity to the already stimulating plot.

I do recommend having the next book, The Vanishing Throne, handy and to just read them back-to-back as the ending of this first book leaves a lot up in the air.

4 Stars ★★★★ A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Its the 1840's in Edinburgh and Lady Aileana Kameron is recovering from the traumatic death of her mother, a murder she witnessed. All is not as it seems for beneath the dances, pretty dresses and demands of social status Aileana hides a secret. She is a Falconer, a hunter of faeries. The gift makes her stronger, quicker and more deadly than other humans and she raises to the occasion, spending her days hiding her true nature and her nights hunting and killing faeries while tracking the one that killed her mother. She's not without allies, Kieran a powerful fae who kills his own kind for a mysterious reason and Derrick, who is the cutest fae ever and has a passion for making his own clothing. Laden with the responsibility that comes with being a member of a rich powerful family Aileana must juggle her dances, a wedding proposal and her friends while also preventing the end of the world.
This is simply an entertaining book with quick funny dialogue. The steam-punk elements in particular are impressive, there are floating lights, early version of helicopters, locomotives and even a sonic cannon! The main reason I love this book is because the author avoided easy routes. For example, Gavin the seer (he can see the fae and has visions but lacks the strength to fight them)is forced by social convention to marry her but Aileana doesn't suddenly fall in love with him, their friendship doesn't suddenly turn to suit the purpose of cliche. Also, there's no feminine horror and disgust when it comes to the subject of gore and killing, Aileana is a fighter first and foremost. She isn't horrified by it and she certainly doesn't faint at the sight of something ghastly. This is gutsy and interesting writing, a truly strong female character without any of the 'oh, I simply can't do that' nonsense. I must admit I did find there to be too many similarities to Buffy which lessened the originality of the story for me but overall this is a fun quick-paced read.
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on 7 March 2017
I am so pleased this book exists!! If you're sick of the generic YA fantasy tropes of the "strong female character" who is mostly just a grump (not that there's anything wrong with that but it does get a bit samey!) and hates most if not all of the other female characters in the story, look no further! It also deals with the "love triangle" trope in a really different way, and I just love this story. Completely non typical. Set in Scotland about a young lady who fights faeries with vengence in her heart after her mother is killed by one, she is still incredibly badass - but she has a lot more personality than a lot of heroines I've experienced. Her struggles feel a lot more real, and the other characters are beautifully diverse in character. The only issue I have is lack of POC or LGBTQA+ characters, but as it's set in 18th century (at a guess) Scotland, I also find this understandable. The world is full of faerie lore and has a lot of steampunky elements to it, too, making it incredibly unique and beautiful. I've just bought the sequel, and I can't wait to read it!
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on 26 January 2016
This book has been on my TBR list for a long time and I am only sorry that I didn’t pick it up sooner. Thrilling, action packed and set in 19th century steam punk Edinburgh; I couldn’t help but enjoy The Falconer immensely.

On the day of her coming out ball, seventeen year old Aileana is changed forever after she witnesses a mythical fae woman rip out her mother’s heart. Now one year on, Aileana is hardly recognisable as the meek, polite society girl she once was. With her reputation as a Lady hanging together by threads, she fights to endure her days of mindless balls and inane gossip, yet at night, she prowls the streets of Edinburgh, hunting down the blood thirsty fae in the hopes of running into her mother’s killer.

Only Derrick, her tame pixie companion and clothes mender, knows about her nightly excursions. But when Kiaran, Aileana’s trainer and unlikely accomplice in arms discovers that Aileana has been killing fae without him, he is furious. Now word is fast spreading through the fae world, that for the first time in centuries a falconer, a legendary female warrior born with both the skill and strength to hunt the fae, is alive and on the hunt. But the hunter is about to become the hunted.

As the seal holding the most powerful fae captive begins to weaken, Aileana learns she has only mere days to re-enact the spell keeping the fae from slaughtering the entire city – but she doesn’t know how. Now with time working against her, she can no longer keep up appearances as a highborn Lady. Yet as the scandal surrounding her spreads, she not only has to contend with impending world doom, but an arranged marriage as well… and even Kiarans forbidden good looks cannot distract her from that.

“Duty comes first” her father told her, but now Aileana must choose, duty to society, duty to the world or duty to her heart… either way, no matter what she chooses, people she loves are going to die…

I really, really loved this book. It’s the first steam punk style setting I have ever read and now I am certainly eager to check out more books in the genre. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, steam punk is set within the historical Victorian era except the technology is usually both highly advanced and steam powered.

In terms of the story, I was gripped from the first few pages where we are immediately introduced to Aileana, a feisty tempered red head who is out for revenge. She is an easily likeable character yet for all her tough exterior, beneath she is a soft hearted girl who is a little love staved and naive. Struggling to balance her two lives of debutante and fae hunter, she is also sinfully attracted to her tormented fae trainer, who she knows better than to trust, yet alone fall for. My heart couldn’t help but go out to her.

The secondary characters are also interesting and often humorous, particularly Derrick the Pixie, with his small yet foul mouth and never ending love of honey.

Yet I also loved Catherine, Aileana’s best friend. She knows there is more going on in Aileana’s life than meets the eyes and steadfastly stands by her. Catharine’s mother is also an intriguing, if disproving piece of work while Catharine’s brother, Gavin is a true gentleman – and the first human to really understand Aileana’s true nature.

What really grabs me about these characters though is how they drive the story forward. With hidden pasts and unclear motives for helping Aileana , they add an undercurrent of speculation to the story.

Undoubtedly the most unique character however – aside from Aileana herself – is Kiaran. A full blooded fae, he is a powerful being with deadly good looks and a blunt, to the point manner. While lacking the charms of Derrick and Gavin, he has a pained, tortured soul and a thirst for vengeance that captures the readers attention – and while maybe he isn’t the best love interest for Aileana (He isn't exactly the kiss and cuddle type) his lessons both better and protect Aileana in some way. I really hope we learn more about Kiaran in the next book.

My only disappointment with ‘The Falconer’ was its major cliff hanger of an ending! Right in the middle of the action! It’s fair to say I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book, I’m dying to know what happens next as so much of the plot was left unresolved.

All in all though a great, unique read set in a fantastical yet emotionally realistic world with a story that will keep you turning the pages. 4 stars!
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on 12 November 2014
Hands down the best book I've read this year (and I read a lot).
It has action, romance, tempo an interesting setting and good characters. I cannot wait until the sequel. Please please Mrs. May write faster.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Since the day that Aileana witnessed her mother's murder she has been aware of the faeries that walk amongst us unseen by most humans. At a time in her life when she should be focusing on attending balls and attracting a wealthy husband she is leading a secret double life. While pretending to act like the young lady she was brought up to be she sneaks out at night to hunt and kill the fae with the help of her mentor Kiaran. What she wants most is to track down the faery who killed her mother so that she can have her revenge. It isn't easy keeping her night time activities a secret and she knows that if she is caught she will lose her reputation and be shunned by polite society but that's a risk she is willing to take if it means stopping the fae from killing more innocent victims.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Elizabeth May's debut novel The Falconer and it's been at the top of my wish list since I first heard about it. Just one look at that stunning cover and I was sold but the blurb hooked me even more especially when I heard Aileana compared to one of Buffy's ancestors who fights the fae instead of vampires. I'll admit I was a little nervous that it wouldn't live up to my expectations but I'm very happy to say that this is a fabulous start to a new series and it's one I can't wait to continue. The Falconer is historical urban fantasy at it's best with a strong, kick-ass heroine, a rich historical setting and plenty of action. It also has a hint of steampunk in the weapons and gadgets that Aileana has designed to help her fight the much stronger, faster fae.

Aileana is a fabulous heroine, she has changed a lot since witnessing her mother's murder and is no longer the spoilt young lady that she once was. She has started to realise how trivial her life used to be, how unimportant balls and afternoon teas really are and how little she cares about finding a suitable husband and getting married. She has more important things to worry about like protecting the city from the murderous fae that seem to be arriving in greater numbers every day. It is very difficult for her to keep quiet about her secret life, especially when the gossips are all talking about her behind her back because of the circumstances surrounding her mother's death. She finds it difficult to hold her tongue but knows that nobody would believe her even if she did tell them what really happened. Aileana has had to learn to become tough, she has put a lot of effort into learning to fight and into creating the weapons she now uses to hunt. Her mentor Kiaran has secrets of his own and she isn't sure how much she can trust him but she didn't have anyone else to turn to for help so they have formed an uneasy alliance.

As much as I loved Aileana I also really enjoyed getting to know the side characters too. I'm incredibly curious about Kiaran and can't wait to learn more about him but I think Derrick, the honey drinking pixie, was probably my favourite, he was always amusing and added a nice bit of comic relief to the story. Where The Falconer really excels is in it's fight scenes, the fae that Aileana must battle against were creepy and well described and it was easy to picture yourself in the middle of the story. I don't want to say too much about the plot because I think it's better to let things unfold as you're reading but I really enjoyed Elizabeth May's take on faerie mythology and I'm definitely looking forward to finding out how events unfold as the series continues. I will warn you now that the story has quite an evil cliffhanger but I was enjoying the book so much that I can't really mark it down for that. The Falconer really is a fantastic debut and one I'd highly recommend to fans of urban fantasy with a historical setting, Elizabeth May is definitely an author to watch out for!
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