Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Title: The Falconer
Series: The Falconer #1
Author: Elizabeth May
Published: May 6, 2014 by Sourcebooks
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Synopsis: Edinburgh, 1844. Beautiful Aileana Kameron only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. In fact, she's spent the year since her mother died developing her ability to sense the presence of Sithichean, a faery race bent on slaughtering humans. She has a secret mission: to destroy the faery who murdered her mother.

But when she learns she's a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors and the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity, her quest for revenge gets a whole lot more complicated. The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller blends romance and action with steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

As much as I love Fantasy and especially Young Adult Fantasy, I very rarely read low fantasy. I tend to read alternate world or world within a world kind of Fantasy. I was excited to read The Falconer because first of all, that's a badass title, but the book sounded really interesting. This book did not disappoint with great characters including a strong female heroine, an interesting steampunk fantasy world, and a thrilling plot.

My favorite thing about this book was the characters. They were all interesting and different. I'm usually a fan of secondary characters and in this case my personal favorite was Derrick, the pixie that lives in Aileana's closet. He was funny, sweet, and dedicated to protecting Aileana. I was also very intrigued by Kiran the fairy who is teaching her how to fight his own kind. He was full of secrets and I wasn't sure if I trusted him. Then there was the villain of the story a dasterdly fairy who is trying to kill off all the Falconers, those trained to kill fairies (cough cough Ailena cough cough). She was so devious as were many of the other fairies that Ailenna had to fight.

But the best character had to be Aileana, our MC and protagonist. Right away I was able to connect and identify with Aileana and her struggle to fight the fairy population in Scotland that few people believe are real. As a wealthy socialite and heiress she is torn between what society expects of her and who she wants to be. But she is also an amazing fighter and brilliant inventor. She is tough, sassy, and dedicated to the fight that no one even knows she has embarked on. She has definite Buffyesque tendencies and a lot of the book reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the characters, to the humor, to the romance it had Whedon like overtones for sure.

Speaking of that romance, I'm sad to say that it didn't quite work for me. I knew exactly the character they were trying to make into the romantic lead but something inside of me fought it from the very beginning. It's been a very long time since I read a book and I wanted to scream at the character that they picked the wrong guy. I'm not sure what it was about him that I didn't like. Maybe I didn't trust him or maybe I just clung to the more logical person for Aileana to end up with. I followed my head instead of my heart, unlike Aileana.

But despite my dislike of the romance I wasn't taken out of the story at all. The interesting steampunk fantasy world kept drawing mew further in. Aileana as previously stated was a brilliant inventor. She was always coming up with some interesting thing to help her in her pursuit of hunting fairies. Whether it was a weapon, a helicopter, or some other crazy contraption she had it covered. I've never read anything steampunk before but I loved the inclusion of these inventions in the world of fairies. The fairies or fae in this story were also a pretty fantastic part of this world that kept me hooked on reading. Many of them were familiar creatures from other stories I had read like pixies and red caps, but others were interesting and different. They each had diffinitive strengths and weaknesses as well as these ways that Aileana could detect their presence. For each one she could taste their essence when she came near them. The best thing is that even though they were diverse and interesting, they weren't complicated. And just in case you did get confused there is a handy dandy cheat sheet in the back (but it does contain some spoilers).

And with a kickass heroine commited to fighting fairies and an interesting world, there was of course a fantastic action-packed plot. From beginning to end this book was full of thrilling  sword fights, battle scenes, explosions, and narrow escapes for your life. Often times moments of Aileana's life as a Falconer would come to a head with moments of her life as a Debutante forcing her to make the difficult decision to disappoint one person or another. It was the kind of book that kept me hooked from the beginning and built to an amazing conclusion.

But of that conclusion. Not only does this book end on a cliffhanger, it ends on the climax. I read an interview awhile ago (I can't remember where) with Elizabeth May where she talked about how this wasn't the original ending of the book but she was advised to take out the original ending and put it as the start of the next book. And oh boy did it feel incomplete. It was the kind of ending where you keep flipping through looking for the last twenty pages because that can't be all. It made me so frustrated that all I wanted to do is curl into a ball screaming "WHY ELIZABETH MAY WHY!!!" Instead I pulled a Tobias and sobbed in the shower. So be warned!

But despite that torturous ending the book left me with a feeling of deeply devoted adoration for Elizabeth May and this fantastic debut. I can't wait to continue with this series. I need book 2 in my life ASAP!

I give The Falconer by Elizabeth May a 9.5 out of 10

I would recommend this book to anyone who is fans of Young Adult Fantasy, Historical Fantasy or steampunk stories. Fans of Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices series will probably enjoy it (I need to start that series!).

Have you read The Falconer? What were your thoughts? Leave me a comment. Especially leaveme a comment about the romance. Am I crazy for not liking this ship? Do you ship it? Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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