Monday, 18 November 2013

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: September 26th, 2013
Rating: 8/10

Amazon summary:

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 when 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 is Elizabeth May's debut novel and is a historical fantasy that has a quite a lot in common with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's set in 1844 in an alternate Scotland, and is about Aileana Kameron, a noblewoman by day and a fae slayer by night. As soon as I started reading The Falconer, I was hooked - it's definitely my kind of book!

Aileana is a strong female character who I'm sure must have been influenced by my favourite vampire slayer. She's outspoken, tough and a dab hand with a crossbow, making killing faeries an easier task than you'd think. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and, thanks to May's characterisation, she's a realistic heroine who owns every page she appears on. I've also found myself with a soft spot for Kiaran, Aileana's faery friend and trainer. He has more secrets than even he knows about and he's doing his best to keep her alive and out of trouble. His story is a fascinating one and I'd love to delve deeper into his background, one that literally spans thousands of years. Oh, the stories he could tell.

Although I'm a big fan of Aileana, the star of the show for me is Derrick, a little pixie who lives in her closet. He has a penchant for honey and a skill for fixing her clothes - everything you could want in a tiny faery! He has a fantatic rivalry with Kiaran and some of the insulting lines he comes out with had me laughing out loud. I hope he features heavily in future books in the series, honey pot and all.

The Falconer is full of all my favourite things: faeries, action, history and a sprinkling of steampunk. There's advanced weaponry that will blow your mind, healing agents like something from a sci-fi film and ornithopters that are just plain cool. I also liked the faerie bestiary included at the end which showcases the author's impressive knowledge of different faeries and their mythology. Elizabeth May is a talented new author to keep an eye on, though be warned: she likes to leave her readers with a maddening cliffhanger. Roll on book 2!

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