'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Thursday, 5 December 2013

REVIEW: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer by Elizabeth May
The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)
One girl's nightmare is this girl's faery tale. 

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 the rare ability to sense the s√¨thichean — 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 abilities and 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 the 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.

*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you, Gollancz*

This book was one of my most anticipated books of this year. It sounded like everything I needed after reading Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. I needed more assassin-types in my literature and this one really did not disappoint. I think I've found one of my favourite characteristics in my female fantasy characters. They must, must, must be assassins! There's something so brilliant and captivating about it. It makes for a brilliant change and it never gets old reading about them. Aileana was badass but she also showed how human she was through her feelings. She wasn't 100% capable of slaying the fae and this doubt made her situation that much more real.

The Falconer mixed a wonderful blend of fantasy and steampunk, creating an incredibly realistic world to sink into. This is one of my first 'steampunky' novels and I'm definitely eager to read more of them. I have Gail Carriger sitting on my shelf just waiting to be read! A big part of Aileana's character is the inventions she creates. It's a reminder of her now deceased mother and of why it is so important to avenge her through killing the fae. I loved that this usually considered masculine role was taken up by two women and I thought the inventions were so original and brilliant having never come across anything like it before - I could picture each and every one of them! I loved that it was set in the 1800's (my favourite historical period to read about!) and I absolutely devoured the dark and fantastical world created by May.

I had a few reservations about the book. I wasn't sure how the fae were going to be represented, but it's safe to say they were as horrific as I'd hoped. They are so far from Tinkerbell and Merryweather and are something straight out of a nightmare. Just what I wanted! I loved the characters in the book and loved the curveballs thrown in towards the end of the novel. Kiaran was the stereotypical male: handsome, inhuman, fae and mysterious but this just added to the relationship between him and Kam (Aileana). Usually I shy away from the stereotypes in literature but I really enjoyed reading about their fights and training. I adored Derick, Kam's little pixie friend and his getting drunk on honey was hysterical. I really liked that the difficulty of women's position in the 1800's were shown. There's constant reference to the slander and rumors that Kam has to endure since her behaviour isn't what is to be expected. I loved that, towards the end, she has a more fuck it attitude towards the patriarchy.

Overall, The Falconer made for a very good read. There were a few issues with the language - a lot of unnecessary descriptions and a case of telling the reader everything to avoid any possible confusion. This is good but definitely unnecessary in certain parts. However, this book was captivating, dark and definitely a series that I will be following. Looking forward to reading book two!

2 comments:

  1. Oh yay, this one was also one of my most anticipated reads and yours is the first review I've come across so far...I am SO pleased that you enjoyed this one!! Your thoughts on the MC definitely line up with my own when it comes to female assassins!! I think it's beyond cool that she's an inventor too - especially given the time period :D Plus I'm seriously pumped at how fierce and terrifying the fae sound! Wonderful review Leah^^

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  2. Nice! I keep seeing this pop up on STS or WOWs but no reviews yet so I am glad to hear you enjoyed it! Intense Fae is also a plus.

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

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