The Falconer by Elizabeth May
Summary from GoodReads:
She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.
She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.
She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.
She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.
So far so good with this series, it has lots of what I look for in a story. Some evil magical creatures, a feisty redheaded heroine, a little romance and some steampunk to boot. I also love that it is set in Scotland, somewhere I have been and fell in love with. There were also some nice twists and turns to the story and a little humor at times.
Alieana is a great heroine, and not just because she is a redhead (we are all fabulous). She is strong and fearless especially when interacting with her Mentor, Kiaran. She is deeply driven by vengeance and will let nothing stop her from killing the fae that killed her mom. The only time she is not strong is when she interacts with her father, but then we see how 17 years of growing up in the early 1800’s has shaped her life. She is incapable of saying no to her father and to society norms. She still cares about her reputation, even after everything she has gone through. I also enjoy that she is an inventor, and I loved some of the things she came up with to help her kill fairies. I had some issues with some of her fighting happening in a ball gown with a corset, I’m sorry you just can’t move in those things, let alone breath the way you need to in a fight. But I felt a little better about it after one scene where she rips most of the skirt away and mentions that she had the corset looser than normal.
Kiaran is an interesting character, very mysterious and doesn’t let Alieana in on some of the secrets he keeps until the end of the story. There is a little attraction going on between these two, even though they both struggle against it. I am also not entirely sure that Kiaran’s motives are entirely good. Especially at the end, I’m a little suspicious of him.
I enjoyed the addition of Gavin in the story. He is a childhood friend and as we find out a Seer. He also adds some romantic tension as Alieana had thought of him as a prospective husband, before she became a Falconer. He wasn’t in the story a whole lot, but I hope we see more of him in the next book.
Derrick, the pixie, who lives with Alieana and helps protect her, often provided some much needed comic relief. Especially when he was drunk on honey, I would really like to have a little pixie to hang out on my shoulder during parties making snide remarks about all of the guests.
The plot was great, lots of killing and stabbing of fae. I liked how she often had to leave some social engagement to kill a fairy. I also liked that these were certainly not good fae, but some were monsters and hard to kill. There is a cliffhanger at the end of this book, which makes me so grateful that I found the series after the first two books have been published. I don’t have to wait a huge amount of time to find out what happens.
Here is a great video with the Author showing us around Edinburg: