Series: The Falconer #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Hachette on May 6th 2014
Also by this author: The Vanishing Throne, Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
Format: Hardcover (378 pages) • Source: Library
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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?
The biggest thing I can say about this book is HOLY CLIFFHANGER. Good god, how am I supposed to wait until later this year for the sequel? Someone help me.
I was really excited to read this book when I grabbed it from the library, because I’ve been super in the mood for fairy books lately. I will say up front though that it had some trouble keeping my attention. I’ve talked briefly before about how fantasy books can be kind of hard for me, because I get distracted so easily. I really don’t know why. Usually I think it has something to do with the mix of world-building and action; if this balance is off a little bit in either direction, I get bored or the book loses my attention. I’m not entirely sure if this was the issue with this one, but I actually had to take a break in between for a light, quick contemporary. This happened before with Red Queen too. Usually I burn out about halfway through the book, take a break to read something fluffy, and come back to it with renewed energy. Taking a contemporary break totally helped me get back into this.
What did I love about this book? The setting and the characters. Loved, loved, loved. Aileana is a freaking badass and pretty damn fearless. Once she witnesses her mother get murdered by a faery, she starts tracking and killing any fae she sees. She is trained by Kiaran, a faery who actually wants to join her in killing his own “people.” His motives are unclear throughout the book and he’s pretty damn mysterious. The biggest question is: can she trust him? I imagine that he’s super attractive, and they did have a few ~moments~ … but he didn’t really bring me into the swooniest of places, unlike lots of others who enjoyed this one. Towards the end I was certainly more into the idea of them being together. (Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for Gavin. I’m sorry, I can’t help but fall for the childhood best friend character! They never win.) As for the setting, I forgot how much I can LOVE historical fiction. It’s usually only when there are some fantasy elements mixed in, and this book was no exception. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Scotland, so that was pretty neat. It definitely wasn’t easy to hear the struggles that women went through during that time! Women have achieved so much throughout history and the struggles will seemingly never end, but I am certainly grateful I was born now instead of back then!
The writing was good but somewhat repetitive in areas. I liked that it reflected the time period. The steampunk elements were really cool! I’m pretty sure this is the first book where I’ve encountered steampunk. Her inventions were amazing and I’m so glad that she was able to work on them, even though it wasn’t really “appropriate” for women during that time.
What could have been better? As I said earlier, I struggled with it holding my attention sometimes. I could blame this on my boyfriend talking to me, or the TV being on, or the writing/story itself. It was probably a mix of the three. The plot was always progressing and moving forward, but there wasn’t as much action as I’d hope. A lot happened towards the end and maybe it could have been spread out more throughout? I say this completely in hindsight though. Looking back on the book, I can’t remember many events that actually happened. She gets trained, she kills, she nurses her wounds, she invents stuff, she goes to a ball, and she does it all over again. In the meantime she’ll sometimes have some of Kiaran’s secrets get revealed.