The Falconer – Book Review
Book #1 in the falconer series
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 slaughter faeries in secret, in between the endless rounds of parties, teas and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic façade 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 a decision to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Ailena go for revenge…?
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!