The Falconer (The Falconer #1)
by Elizabeth May
published by Chronicle Books
genre: YA, Historical Fantasy, Steampunk
Summary (Goodreads): 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?
My Thoughts: I so wanted to like this book. I loved the cover, the summary sounded like it had a lot of promise, and everyone was raving about it. The last one should have tipped me off. For some reason whenever there is a lot of hype about a book I don't fall in line with the rest.
The world building was well done, incorporating small steampunk details without hitting you over the head with them. For me I didn't feel like I was reading a book set in Scotland, it felt more British, until the author reminded you they were in Scotland. This did not take away from the story at all just something I noticed.
The characters. This is where I had the most problems with the book. Aileana starts off as a broken young girl who has recently lost her mother and just wants revenge against the Fae that killed her. Not only does she want to kill the specific one but she is out to get everyone she can find. If the author had stuck with this and kept her as a strong female character, even making the hard choices, I would not have disliked this book as much as I did. Enter Kiaran, the cliche YA boy (I can't even call him the bad boy, he didn't have enough personality for that). Everything you just learned about Aileana and liked about her goes out the window. Instead of being the strong female she is reduced to the simpering schoolgirl who can focus on nothing but his lips and how he makes her feel. This would have almost been fine if he wasn't the very thing that we are told she hates with all her being.
Needless to say the story went downhill from there. We also have a Gavin, who is just trying to do the right thing, saves Aileana's life and ruins his own in the process. I've mentioned before how much I dislike love triangles and this is no exception.
The ending. I'm not sure how I felt about the cliffhanger (ish) ending. I will say it showed that the author could write great characters in a short time. Sorcha and her brother were two of the most interesting in the book. Their personalities were solid (even if they were evil) and more there than Kiaran's who we had been reading about since the beginning of the book. The seal, Kiaran's sister, the reason that Sorcha can't be killed, these may be reasons to read the next book but I'm just not sure. I'll have to wait and read some reviews from bloggers I trust before I decide.