A girl in an old-timey dress and bright red hair holds a dagger, point up.

About the Book

Title: The Falconer (The Falconer #1)
Published: 2014

Cover Story: Brave
BFF Charm: Heck Yes!
Talky Talk: Aye, She Said
Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Faerie, Badass
Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Steampunk
Relationship Status: In It for the Long Haul

Cover Story: Brave

Gorgeous red hair, a corseted blue dress and a weapon. Remind you of anyone?

(I couldn’t resist the snark, but really, this cover is lovely. And dangerous.)

The Deal:

Lady Aileana Kameron is the talk of Scotland’s high society. She’s lovely and intelligent, and her parents are rich and famous. Everything’s coming up Aileana … until her mother is killed, and Aileana becomes a suspect in the eyes of pretty much everyone. Only Aileana knows the truth, however: Her mother was brutally murdered by a faerie.

A year later, Aileana has spent much of her mourning period learning to fight the fae who haunt the streets of Edinburgh and tracking her mother’s killer as she goes on a spree around the country. As the killer circles back toward Edinburgh, Aileana solidifies plans to exact her revenge, but she might have a bigger battle on her hands than she ever expected.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes!

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

Aileana is awesome. Yes, she’s young. Yes, she gets distracted easily. And yes, she’s more than a little driven by her need for revenge. But girl is brilliant: She can create weapons out of nothing more than the parts of a fob watch and build a flying contraption that seats three and serves hot tea at the push of a button. She’s kind, when she thinks about it. Plus, she’s more than a little adept with shooting a gun and throwing daggers. If I’m ever faced with fighting faeries, I know who I’m calling.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Aileana is, at first, much too preoccupied with her quest for vengeance to take much notice of the menfolk around her. But she is a young woman of marrying age in 1800s Britain, which means that—whether she likes it or not—she has to think about marriage. And although she goes along with her father’s wishes in the matter, Alieana doesn’t believe she’s the marrying type. That doesn’t mean, however, that she’s not the type to consider and revel in feelings when they come into play.

Talky Talk: Aye, She Said

In The Falconer, Elizabeth May has created a wholly believable alternate Edinburgh in which faeries steal energy from humans and steam-powered devices don’t seem out of place amidst the balls and typical society life of late 1800s Britain. Aileana used to be a typical Scottish girl of the era (it seems), but finds herself struggling with being proper when all she wants to do is go out hunting. The anxiety she feels at times, when she’s being forced to do something when she would rather be otherwise occupied, is almost palpable. May also does a great job of intermixing Scottish colloquialisms into the formal British language, probably since she’s a Scottish woman herself.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Faerie

Edward from Twilight stares mysteriously while leaning on a car in the parking lot of Forks High School

Aileana is trained to fight the fae by a mysterious “man” named Kiaran. He’s got a secretive past, likes to lurk in dark corners and is too beautiful for anyone’s good.

Bonus Factor: Badass

Charlize Theron as Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road holds a gun a stares fiercely just off camera

Aileana used to be a spoiled high-society girl—until her first run-in with the faeries turned her into a young woman driven by vengeance with abilities she never even dreamed of. She’s green yet, and prone to listening more to her heart than her head, but I can see her going through the fire and coming out on the other side all the stronger for it. And taking out a bunch of nasty fae in the process. Replace faeries with vampires, and I could totally see Aileana being one of Buffy’s slayer ancestors.

Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Steampunk

A skull decorated with metal gears and such with a night sky in the background.

Depending on which side of the fence you hang out on—fans on one side, haters on the other—the bits and pieces of steampunk technology in The Falconer could be good or bad. The book isn’t overflowing with it, but there are frequent mentions of things such as devices that serve tea automatically, “stitchers” that mend cuts and wounds, even an ornithopter.

Relationship Status: In It for the Long Haul

Yes, Book, you are the start of a new series. Which likely means that I’m going to have to wait for-ever your siblings. I’m with you, though, regardless. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Chronicle Books. I received neither a private dance performance from Tom Hiddleston nor money for this review. The Falconer is available now. 

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.