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The Falconer (Falconer Series #1)

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Overview

Debutante by day. Murderess by night. Edinburgh's only hope.

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 ...

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Overview

Debutante by day. Murderess by night. Edinburgh's only hope.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/17/2014
In this debut novel, first in a trilogy, May brings to life a steampunk version of Victorian Scotland beset by vicious faeries. Young aristocratic Aileana Kameron has been training to hunt and kill these faeries for the past year, each one—she hopes—bringing her closer to the baobhan sìth that eviscerated her mother. She soon discovers that her bloodlust is no accident: she’s a Falconer, last in a legendary line of faerie hunters. With the most powerful faeries about to break loose from their prison, Aileana has only six days to learn to control her powers. There’s palpable sexual tension between Aileana and her faerie mentor, Kiaran; unfortunately he falls prey to many familiar tropes (he’s a semi-reformed killer who refuses to discuss his past, especially the loss of a past love very much like Aileana). Even so, fans of Gail Carriger’s work in particular should enjoy the combination of steampunk tech and supernatural danger with a multitalented heroine who can hold her against murderous faeries and romantic foils alike. Ages 14–up. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
"Forget Bella, banish Katniss and Expelliarmus Hermione-there is a new breed of ass-kicker intown. . . . Elizabeth May's debut is a wicked cocktailof Jane Austen and the Grimms' fairy tales."—Claire Nicholls, SciFiNow

"Ball gowns, blood, and an evil fairy determined to bring about the end of the world-this comedy of manners has it all."—School Library Journal Curriculum Connections

"Aileana is an amazing, brave hero... the writing crackles with wit."—Booklist

"A riveting world, a fierce heroine, and electrifying action—I burned through this sparkling debut!" —Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series

"A combination of steampunk tech and supernatural danger with a multitalented heroine who can hold her own against murderous faeries and romantic foils alike."—Publishers Weekly

"A character and a world that breathes life into fantasy."—Library Media Connection

"[A] fascinating, unique world. May's writing is exquisite and demands a close reading to take everything in. readers will be anxious for the next installment."-School Library Journal

"Witty dialogue, nonstop action, and campy humor. More, please."-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This book was AWESOME. It's full of well-worn tropes and clichés.but somehow transcends them all to become some new animal that is the best of all its borrowed parts." — Billie Bloebaum, Powell's

"Simply put, my favorite YA paranormal this year. A must read!"—New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

"It's very rare to find a YA fantasy that blends the otherworldly with a very real and raw heroine. I ate up this story and mourned when it was over. The Falconer is a standout read."—Read. Breathe. Relax.

"I couldn't get enough of this steampunk world and all it's awesome gadgets."—Owl Always Be Reading

From the Publisher
"A combination of steampunk tech and supernatural danger with a multitalented heroine who can hold her own against murderous faeries and romantic foils alike."--Publishers Weekly

"This book was AWESOME. It's full of well-worn tropes and clichés.but somehow transcends them all to become some new animal that is the best of all its borrowed parts." -- Billie Bloebaum, Powell's

"Simply put, my favorite YA paranormal this year. A must read!"--New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

"Forget Bella, banish Katniss and Expelliarmus Hermione-there is a new breed of ass-kicker intown. . . . Elizabeth May's debut is a wicked cocktailof Jane Austen and the Grimms' fairy tales."--Claire Nicholls, SciFiNow

"A riveting world, a fierce heroine, and electrifying action--I burned through this sparkling debut!" --Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series

VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Stacy Holbrook
Aileana Kameron, daughter of a marquess, is a polite, mild-mannered, young aristocratic woman in nineteenth-century Scotland. She fulfills her obligations of attending balls and entertaining potential suitors at teas. But she also has a secret life: hidden under the aristocratic façade, Aileana is a Falconer—she hunts faeries, kills them, and enjoys every second of it. Her faery hunting begins after seeing her mother murdered; Aileana becomes so full of rage that she no longer seeks a husband, as is her duty as a woman of eighteen, but seeks only vengeance. She trains with Kiaran, a powerful faery hiding many secrets; she hides Derrik, a pixie with a penchant for mending her torn garments who lives in her dressing room, and Gavin, a friend and human seer who helps her in both of the lives she leads. The Falconer is an action-packed, violently gratifying, and darkly addictive novel—the first in a trilogy. It is the perfect blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and steampunk, with enough romance and humor to have readers devouring each page as Aileana learns more about the fae, Kiaran, and herself. This new trilogy will delight fans of Robin LeFevers’s Grave Mercy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012/Voya February 2012) and Libba Bray’s A Great And Terrible Beauty (Random House, 2003/Voya April 2004), who will find a similar girl power vibe as Aileana defies her aristocratic heritage to fight the fae. Reviewer: Stacy Holbrook; Ages 12 to 18.
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Victoria Quint
The Falconer is a fast-paced faery-hunting adventure with a strong heroine craving vengeance. Aileana Kameron stars and becomes well known to the reader, as the story is from her point of view. The biggest downfall is that Aileana’s mentor, Kiaran, is conflictingly described. There is plenty of violence, but it is not grossly described. That being said, readers must enjoy action and be able to tolerate violence to truly enjoy the novel. Reviewer: Victoria Quint, Teen Reviewer; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
05/01/2014
Gr 8 Up—In this debut novel set in an alternate 19th-century Scotland, Aileana, daughter of the Marques, has a secret: she is a faerie hunter. Aileana's world changed when she witnessed her mother violently killed by an evil faerie. Since then, the teen has been secretly training with the extremely powerful, mysterious, and good-looking Kiaran, a Daoine Sith who has given up his violent, human-killing past. Aristocratic life means nothing to Aileana anymore—all that matters is avenging her mother's death. Her killing routine gets more complicated when the fae realize that she is a Falconer, a sacred fae-killing assassin. War is coming, and Aileana is humanity's only hope, aided by Kiaran; Gavin, a Seer and future love triangle interest; and Derrick, her hysterical pixie companion. The Falconer mixes the ever-popular female assassin archetype with steampunk and Scottish faerie lore, creating a fascinating, unique world. Unfortunately, the steampunk-inspired technology does not play a large role in the story, and neither does the Scottish setting. Despite this shortcoming, May's writing is exquisite and demands a close reading to take everything in. Aileana's motives are pretty two-dimensional, but May does a good job showing the protagonist's conflicted feelings about being a killer. Aileana's Beastiary, which catalogs the fae at the end of the novel, is a nice touch. The story ends on a cliff-hanger and readers will be anxious for the next installment in this planned trilogy.—Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-12
Steampunk fantasy based on Scots folklore. Aileana Kameron is haunted by the murder of her mother at the hands of the baobhan sìth, the last of her kind. Few in this version of 1844 Edinburgh know that the fae of folklore are real and about to launch an assault on humankind. But Aileana is a Falconer, a fae-killer, though she doesn't know that until more than 100 pages in. She is being trained by the darkly beautiful fae Kiaran, who defends humans against his own kind, and she is protected by lesser fae Derrick. The tale unwinds in the first person, so readers learn much by Aileana's talking about it. She invents and crafts her steampunk weaponry, including an ornithopter with bat's wings in which she has mounted a swiveling crossbow. She fights off various orders of fae with or without Kiaran's help, with or without the Seer Gavin, to whom she is semireluctantly affianced. Aileana repeatedly describes the horror of her mother's death and the visceral satisfaction of slaughtering the fae but never allows readers to feel those things. Repetitive phrases about her boots sinking into wet grass and her not being able to breathe become distracting, as does her constant refrain about lying to everyone she knows. It ends in the middle of a battle, at a key moment. Readers may not be anxious for the next overwrought volume. (fae taxonomy) (Steampunk. 13-17)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452114231
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Series: Falconer Series , #1
  • Pages: 378
  • Sales rank: 61,620
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth May hails from California and is currently a PhD student in social anthropology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The Falconer is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 31, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 stars For the first half of the book, I was pretty sure tha

    3.5 stars

    For the first half of the book, I was pretty sure that I was going to end up loathing this book. Around 60% into the novel, however, the action really picked up, and I found myself enchanted by the dark, compelling world of "faeries." I use quotation marks because Kiaran calls them something else, a term I wish I'd written down because I can't remember how to spell it.




    As my feelings progressed from near loathing to genuine interest, it's appropriate to start with what I didn't like. One of my first grievances about the book was the poor world building. I don't know much about Scotland or historical periods, but I didn't really feel immersed in the Scottish culture and the time period. The language had more of a modern feel in spite of the occasional aye's and wee's. Though the story introduces different types of faeries early on, Aileana doesn't give much away about what they are and where they fall in the faerie hierarchy. It's not until later, more powerful faeries enter the storyline that more detailed classifications are offered, and I could piece together a better idea of her world. Even then, so much is left open. We only ever get a small taste of it in this first book.




    I get that Aileana is furious at her mother's murderer. So furious and filled with anger that it crosses into obsession as she goes around killing faeries. When she keeps talking about how angry she is, however, it gets old fast. And she did this quite a bit in the beginning. This makes it difficult to see past the anger into the naive, hopeful girl she claims she used to be. It doesn't help that she dallies around in giving a full explanation for why she feels compelled to kill faeries. She also likes how drunk she gets on the rush of faerie power, but she doesn't explain what it is and how exactly it influences her. It wasn't until late into the story that I realized that killing faeries gives her more than an adrenaline rush.




    Aileana is hot-headed character, and I can see why she'd be considered likable. However, I find it very difficult to like characters that lash out on the spur of the moment and take pleasure in making their feelings known without considering the consequences. For example, hough Kiaran is responsible for saving her life and training her to fight, Aileana will lash out at him and seems to feel justified in demanding he confide his secrets to her. Secrets that torment him. I understand that she doesn't trust him because of who he is, but her behavior seems to have more emotional than rational drive. Considering how hot he is though, I can't blame her for losing some control around him. I'll leave it to you to read the book to find out what happens along this vein.




    Other than Aileana, and Kiaran to some extent, the characters remain static. This doesn't mean that they're any less likable. I love Derrick. He's absolutely adorable! I wish that I had a pixie like him—maybe, probably. While he can get on Aileana's nerves, his usefulness and, more importantly, friendship outweigh the cons. Catherine and Gavin are wonderful, supportive characters. These are the friends I'd trust with my secrets and would want to have my back. Not to say that the story couldn't have used more character development though, especially in the first half as characters were being introduced.




    The action scenes are what really bring the story to life. The 'evil' faeries really come to life in horrific detail, and the suspense is built up. I felt myself rushing through the streets with Aileana and cringing as she endured torturous wounds to complete her missions. I felt the rush of power as she conquered yet another enemy and pride in the badges she accumulated on her body. And I found myself liking her a little. It's also pretty cool how there's some steampunk technology mixed in. As the story progressed, the action becomes more intense, climaxing in a nasty cliffhanger that has been melting in a puddle bemoaning the situation.




    Why?????




    As it is, I must wait until I can get a copy of the next book within my grasp to find out what happens. Other than that, I would definitely like to see more world building and character development. And definitely more epic action scenes. I know I've complained about her thus far, but Aileana is pretty badass when it comes to killing faeries.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2014

    Tigerheart to skypoppy

    Come with me to poppy result 1. And lets do this!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Frostedleaf

    She purred. "Yes!"

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2014

    Skypoppy

    Sulked.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Ceremony

    Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath High Branch. As leader of Falconclan it is my duty to choose a deputy along with a co-deputy. Frostedleaf will you take the honor of being Falconclan's very first deputy? Etchedfire will you accept the position of co-deputy? Also Ravenpaw needs a mentor. Etchedfire has been chosen to mentor him. ~ Shadowstar~

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2014

    The Falconer is a rare type of fantasy book, one that carefully

    The Falconer is a rare type of fantasy book, one that carefully blends a number of different characteristics to create a one-of-a-kind story. This is a fantasy with powerful fae and a hint of steampunk which is sure to please readers looking for a thrilling adventure.




    Reasons to Read:




    1. Plenty of action:




    The Falconer starts with a bang and ends with one. The action in this story just never ends! I loved how fast-paced it was, but the fight scenes and action was also purposeful. I think this is a feature that will appeal to many readers who enjoy plenty of excitement in their books, but with a reason and explanation for all of it.




    2. An intelligent main character:




    I really like protagonists to be smart and Aileana is a perfect model of an intelligent lead character. She's not only brave and headstrong, but her cleverness is biggest strength. It saves her in many tough situations. She spends much of her time trying to balance her "real life" as the daughter of a Marquess and her hobby of hunting down the fae in Scotland. Needless to say, the two don't complement each other.




    3. n intriguing setting:




    I loved the Scottish setting in The Falconer - I haven't read nearly enough books set in Scotland so I thought that was neat. I also liked how Elizabeth borrowed much of the mythology in her book from Scottish mythology, staying true to the setting. There's a bit of steampunk twisted in but it isn't overpowering and I wouldn't exactly call this a steampunk book, either. It's minimal and just a taste to add to the fantasy atmosphere. 




    I was underwhelmed by the love story, unfortunately. I didn't feel strongly about her love interest or the chemistry between them at all. There was definitely something there and I liked that it had a nice, slow build but towards the end of the book it started to feel more rushed. This is the kind of romance I would have preferred to have seen gradually build over an entire series - it felt too sudden for one book.




    The Falconer is a fast-paced read that has me excited for the sequel - I can't wait to see where the story goes and what happens next since there was so much left unfinished in the first book.




    Review copy received from Raincoast Books for review; no other compensation received.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Steampunk indeed

    I liked the lore mixed with steampunk. It made for an interesting read. Characters could have been better but hey, I'm still totally going to read the next book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Not what I expected...

    I've never rated or wrote a review on any books i have read until this one. Wow... just wow... Well written. I bought this book on a whim; I needed something new to read. I thought it would be angsty like a lot of paranormal romance books nowadays, but not so much. The romance is pretty straight to the point as well as the plot. The heroine is straight to the point with her suitor and her love interest. And the plot doesn't drag on. Straight to the point. There's humor and classy smartass-ness. Thumbs up for Ms. May!! I'm definitely looking forward to books 2 & 3!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014

    This one took a little bit for me to get into, but once I did, I

    This one took a little bit for me to get into, but once I did, I loved the story world. It's clean, although gory, with plenty of action.

    Aileana is a tough-as-nails character, and I enjoyed being inside her head. She's got a difficult life, some major bumps along the road, and the plague of knowing whom to trust. Her tinkering won me over, along with her pixie pal and the isolation she experienced from her father. Despite her roughness, she's easy to understand.  

    My only complaint is how the story ended. Yup. Just saying, you're probably going to want to wait until book 2 is out before you read this one. 

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  • Posted May 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Falconer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    The Falconer by Elizabeth May
    Book One of The Falconer series
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Publication Date: May 6, 2014
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: eARC from Edelweiss




    Summary (from 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?




    What I Liked:




    Another historical fantasy novel! I just read and reviewed Chantress Alchemy by Amy Butler Greenfield, which is historical fantasy (it takes place in England, but around the same time as this novel, I believe). I really enjoyed that book, and I really enjoyed this book! I can definitely see why this book is so wildly popular in the UK and other countries overseas - it really does have a sense of magic and uniqueness to it. It will be one of my favorite YA historical fiction novels of 2014!




    Aileana is a Falconer, born with abilities that enable her to fight and kill faeries - yes, they do exist in the 1800s in Scotland. But she must also play the part of a dutiful daughter and heiress, a proper lady, a debutante searching for the proper husband, and so on. It's not easy keeping your reputation intact when you're tasked with killing faeries (so they don't suck out the energy of humans). And there is a bigger problem - even more faeries and creatures are pouring into Edinburgh, endangering the city and its inhabitants. Aileana must find a way to stop the creatures, while trying to maintain her reputation.




    There is just something about Aileana. She isn't your typical YA heroine. She can't be, I suppose, because she is a woman of historical times. She is a debutante, a warrior, a murderer, an avenger. She seeks vengeance for her dead mother, who was killed by a faery. Aileana trains with the heartless Kiaran, in order to become stronger, to avenge her mother's death. Aileana's personality, her being, her character, is very raw. She is driven, motivated, tunnel-visioned, hell-bent on revenge. I don't know how to describe her other than that - and raw. Raw comes to mind when I think of Aileana. 




    I really like Aileana. It's not enough to say that she kicks some serious butt. She is, overall, a strong and fearless fighter, one who values her revenge, but also cares very much about the welfare of other humans. She risks her reputation and societal status many times, in order to hunt faeries that want to prey on humans. 




    This actually brings me to another point that I really liked - the author did an excellent job of mixing historical fiction with fantasy elements. I love how May combines the two. For example, a faery attacks a human during a ball, one that was important for Aileana's social status, and for "her" quest for a husband. As with most eligible girls in the nineteenth century (especially the heiresses), Aileana must find an eligible suitor to marry, per her father's request.




    I guess I should talk about the romance... well, Aileana's heart clearly belongs to one person, and one person only. I'm not going to say who that is (although I'm sure the world knows about the romance by now), but I will say that I LOVE the romance in this book. It is subtle, and if you know nothing about the book (which, honestly, I didn't), then you might not see it coming. I can't wait to see how the romance develops in the next book.




    The faery aspect is... interesting. I'm not a huge fan of faery-related stories in general, but I liked this one. Perhaps it is because the overall genre is historical fiction, and I like how the faery aspect is woven into the historical fiction aspect. I don't necessary like the plot of the story (involving the faeries), but I did enjoy the story. If that makes sense.




    The supporting characters were so fun to read. I really liked Derrick, the faery friend of Aileana who lives in her dressing room. Catherine, a friend of Aileana, grew on me slowly - I think her role in the next books will be important. Gavin... I really like Gavin. His role will be crucial in the next books. I hope he gets what he deserves! In a good way. And Kiaran. I don't even know where to start when it comes to Kiaran. He is such a complex and intriguing character. As a powerful faery, he seems emotionless and contained, all the time. There is so much to him, and I really want to discover more!




    Overall, I seriously loved this book. I love historical fiction, so that drew me right away, but the rawness of the protagonist, the simplicity of the romance, the hardcore fantasy aspect... this book had so many things that I absolutely enjoyed. You all know I love historical fiction. And fantasy. And beautiful romances. 




    What I Did Not Like:




    I mentioned this above, but I actually wasn't a huge fan of the plot, in terms of the faeries. Maybe it was because I missed something obvious or important? But in general, there is seal over Edinburgh that keeps the faeries and other bad creatures out of Edinburgh. I think it was broken, or fading, or something. So Ailean must reseal the seal. But there are consequences to resealing the seal. 




    I just feel like this plot twist was a bit forced? I don't know how to describe my problem with this particular aspect of the structure of the story. Like, I don't really understand what unsealed the seal. Why did it become unsealed? I'm hoping that my questions will be answered in the next book or two.




    Would I Recommend It:




    Um. YES! This book had so many parts to it that I personally LOVE. Historical fiction? Check. Fantasy? Check (though I usually dislike faery-related books). Gorgeous writing style? Check. Beautiful romance? Check. Unique and interesting heroine? Check. Check check check. Go read it.




    Rating:




    4 stars. I enjoyed this historical fiction novel! I definitely cannot wait to read the second book (ahhh, 2015. So far away)!

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