THE FALCONER by Elizabeth May


From the "Falconer" series, volume 1
Age Range: 13 - 17
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Steampunk fantasy based on Scots folklore.

Aileana Kameron is haunted by the murder of her mother at the hands of the baobhan sìth, the last of her kind. Few in this version of 1844 Edinburgh know that the fae of folklore are real and about to launch an assault on humankind. But Aileana is a Falconer, a fae-killer, though she doesn’t know that until more than 100 pages in. She is being trained by the darkly beautiful fae Kiaran, who defends humans against his own kind, and she is protected by lesser fae Derrick. The tale unwinds in the first person, so readers learn much by Aileana’s talking about it. She invents and crafts her steampunk weaponry, including an ornithopter with bat’s wings in which she has mounted a swiveling crossbow. She fights off various orders of fae with or without Kiaran’s help, with or without the Seer Gavin, to whom she is semireluctantly affianced. Aileana repeatedly describes the horror of her mother’s death and the visceral satisfaction of slaughtering the fae but never allows readers to feel those things. Repetitive phrases about her boots sinking into wet grass and her not being able to breathe become distracting, as does her constant refrain about lying to everyone she knows. It ends in the middle of a battle, at a key moment.

Readers may not be anxious for the next overwrought volume. (fae taxonomy) (Steampunk. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 6th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4521-1423-1
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2014


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