Monday, May 5, 2014

ARC Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

336 pages
Expected publication (in the US): May 6th, 2014 
Published by: Chronicle Books 
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: 5/5
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?
This novel is as epic as it sounds. I didn't have to read further than "Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844" to know that I had to request an ARC of it. The Falconer follows Aileana, a super kick-ass socialite whose only goal is to avenge her mother's murder. So, what's better than a novel set in Edinburgh? A FANTASY novel set in Edinburgh! Aileana doesn't fight just anyone. Oh, no. She slays fae. Aye, this is a fairy book.

I loved the characters, the friendship, the way the romance developed, and the story as a whole.  Aileana loves to murder fairies in the same way you probably like to collect books. Her story is tragic and very dark. She witnessed the murder of her mother and she won't rest until that fairy is dead. Fortunately, this eighteen-year-old girl can sense these creatures and has the training and tools to kill them. She invents her own weapons and has the responsibility of being the last warrior with the ability to hunt and kill the fae. Most of the fairies she encounters are cruel and awful creatures. I love that Elizabeth May made fairies terrifying instead of silly. That fact alone makes this book special. 

Aileana's trainer, Kiaran, is such an interesting character and I'm sure May will develop him even further in the next novel. Also, the friendship in this book is fantastic. I feel like female friendships are not very popular in YA and I wish that wasn't the case. I adored the moments between Aileana and her friend Catherine. They reminded me that Ailena wasn't just a killing machine. She's also an eighteen year old girl living in the 1800s. 

Usually, I take notes as I read the novels I plan to review. For this novel, one of those notes simply said this: THAT COVER, YO. Really, I don't need to explain it any further. Also, for all of you interested in knowing if there's romance, fear not! There's a little something something going on. And you'll be happy to know that there's no insta-love.

Even though I felt like the world building could've used a little bit more work, I loved to read about Edinburgh in 1844. I felt like there weren't enough Scottish elements throughout the novel but the language set the mood perfectly. The steampunk aspect of the story were okay.  The innovations were cool to read about and not difficult to picture. I hope Elizabeth May develops the world a little bit more in the sequel so that the steampunk elements won't feel as basic as they do in this novel. 

I gave this one five stars because I loved it so much. I did have a minor issue with it, though. I hated the ending. It was so abrupt that I thought my copy was missing pages. Keep in mind that I read an eARC of it so it wasn't very apparent that I was done reading. As much as I wish that the story didn't just stop all of the sudden, it did leave me wanting more.  I could pick apart this novel and complain about little things but at the end of the day I felt like The Falconer really had a lot more pros than cons.

Overall, this novel is pretty fun. Full of action, vibrant characters, and awesome fantasy elements, The Falconer is a novel you won't want to miss! 

Note: Quotes are not from the final copy of the book. They are from an eARC and are subject to change. 
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