Jeann's Guest Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Guest review by Jeann at Happy Indulgence Books
The Falconer (The Falconer: Book One)
Written by Elizabeth May
Steampunk, Paranormal, Fae
Published May 16th 2014
378 Pages
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?

Jeann's Thoughts

The Falconer was exactly what I needed to delve into after binging on contemporaries lately, and the combination of fantasy, Fae and steampunk swept me away into a different world. It reminded me of what Take Back the Skies tried to be, a debutante woman who is bred to be a society girl but in her own time, kills monsters for vengeance.

Aileana is a feisty redhead who burns with the thirst for revenge. She is brutal and vicious when it comes to defeating the Fae, but still successfully wears her mask when it comes to societal expectations as a heiress. Her tinkering and inventions were a pleasant surprise, as I don't often read steampunk novels and every new invention that she pulled out in a fight added a whole new dimension to just being a kickass paranormal heroine. The novel features excellent character development for her and the secondary characters throughout which just made me really root for her.
I am the wild creature he saw fight, kill and survive only last night. Dresses conceal my brokenness. They cloak the savage creature that lives inside me and thrives on anger. I am a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The palpable sexual tension between her and her Fae mentor Kieran was captivating and undeniable, even though they are bred to be enemies, you could just feel their attraction through the pages. Kieran as the mysterious, powerful fae who trains Aileana is brimming with secrets, and he will constantly surprise you throughout the novel.

There's also a second love interest which I actually liked, with Aileana's best friend's brother and childhood crush Gavin. The two have a great friendship and Gavin is the only one who knows Aileana's secret, being a seer and able to see fae himself. On paper, he's perfect as Aileana's suitor, at least as a society girl, but in the background, her heart is set on Kieran. Kieran and Gavin will come head to head together over Aileana which was really entertaining.
'Do you crave me, Kam?' he whispers. 'Do you ache for me?' - Kieran
A heavy focus on friendship is also present within The Falconer, with Aileana's best friend Catherine who happily offers her support where needed and doesn't ask too many questions of her, as well as the pixie Derrick, a fiercely loyal pixie who lives in her dressing room. Having a range of brilliant secondary characters brought out different sides to Aileana, making her seem more authentic.

My only gripe would be all of the telling in the novel instead of showing, as Aileana reflects a lot on the past and her mother's death, and tells us how much she wants revenge and she burns for it. With the few fights sprinkled throughout the novel and her interactions with Kieran, you know what she says is true. There's also a massive cliffhanger at the end of the novel, so be warned!
Vengeance rises up inside me, powerful as ever. My skin burns, my rage purifies, becomes a surging storm within me until I'm cleansed of memories and guilt. Finally.
The Falconer was a novel that I craved and enjoyed, with it's kickass heroine and cross-genre blending between historical, fantasy and steampunk. It's passionate, exciting and fun, with entertaining interactions between it's fantastic, well-developed supporting cast. I can't wait to read the next book now and I'm so glad I picked it up. Thanks to Bec for your fantastic recommendation!

You can find Jeann via her blog Happy Indulgence Twitter Facebook and Goodreads


  1. *waves* Well, HELLO, Jeann, fancy seeing you here. XD I'm quite interested in this book now, actually, although all the telling...meh. That always bothers me. I end up feeling quite detached from the story if that happens. BUT WE SHALL SEE. *dashes too goodreads*

    1. Thanks Cait, I can't wait for you to read it :D

    2. See what happens when you don't lock your doors? Jeann walks in, posts and walks out with my cookie jar.

      No cookie is safe.

  2. Haha thanks for letting me take over your blog today Kelly! I am honoured to be here :) This book was one that I was recommended from by Bec and I surprisingly, really enjoyed it! It was a great departure from usual YA reads.

    1. This one actually sounds like a cross between kick ass and sexy. I love a strong heroine. I'll definably be adding this one to my ever growing to read list. I've loved having you, so much so that I'm hosting you again this week.

      But I have a waffle bat ready... So back away from the cookies.

  3. This one sounds really good! I might just have to order this one since our local bookstore doesn't carry it. ;) I'm loving the sound of Aileana! Badass heroines are definitely my thing. It sounds like (so far!) that I'm going to be on Team Gavin. xD Underdogs for the win! I've also heard adorable things about Derrick! Awesome review, Jeann! <3

    1. Oohh I think you'd really like this book Aimee, it sounds totally up your alley! Thank you!

    2. I'm with the little poppet, go the underdog!

  4. Hi Jeann! Fancy see ya here [;

    I read this one awhile back and gave it 3 stars I believe c: Glad you enjoyed it more than I did. I honestly found the setting and steampunk elements lacking, as somebody who does adore steampunk. They could have easily been not included in my view and The Falconer would still be the same story. These elements didn’t add to the story and because of that I felt they were just pointless. I also would have appreciated more world building in general, I didn’t find myself immersed in the setting at all. It really could have been England, Ireland, Scotland.. really wouldn’t have noticed the difference in The Falconer.

    Kiaran was another problem for me, I really didn’t find myself loving the romance in The Falconer. With Kiaran it felt so contrived, the romance seemed so generic YA. Le super mysterious bad boy who suddenly (in the span of week it seems lol) falls head over heels for our heroine, we start to see his better side come out. Wooo. I think I would have appreciated the romance more if we got to see the slow transformation of cold hearted Kiaran getting worn down by Aileana. The love triangle with the addition of Gavin also grated on my nerves, though that’s just because it seemed unnecessary as we all know how that’s gonna work out[;

    Though I found Gavin’s characterization to be great, you could tell he truly cared for Aileana and I love how stepped up when he was needed. I also did enjoy Aileana herself, I found myself enjoying The Falconer through her engrossing narrative. She was truly bloodthirsty and reading somebody that determined on her goals was quite interesting for me. Aileana’s grief over her mother also felt realistic, really gave the kick ass girl another side and showed you her vulnerability. I wish we had seen more of Catherine, she truly does seem like a great and supportive friend. She managed to calm Aileana down somewhat during times of distress and was clearly a positive influence in her life. I’m also interested in seeing more of Aileana’s father. The relationship there is obviously strained and I feel like delving into it would be quite emotional and enlightening.

    Great review girl! Glad you enjoyed it more than me

    1. Ah, I loved the steampunk elements because it was just a hint at it, but then again I don't really read steampunk novels. I actually wasn't sure where the world was either, just somewhere that was kind of old fashioned. That's a good point about Kiaran, I just thought their chemistry was so sizzling. We slowly found out pieces about him along the way. I'm glad you did enjoy Gavin and Aileana though, she was a really strong heroine.

      Catherine was a great best friend as well who didn't ask too many questions. Thank you Larissa!

  5. Hi Jeann, what a nice surprise. Great Review. I really want to read this one and have for a while, I think I will really enjoy it.

    1. Thanks Rochelle, sounds like you should pick it up :)

  6. Hi, Jeann ;) I spot you here!! MEHEHEHE

    I am soooo looking forward to this book. Many of the people I follow absolutely adored it, and I know quite a few who are too obsessed with this one beyond reason (haha, it's oaky guys, no judging! I'm like this with certain books too). Plus, I want some of that awesome friendship portrayed!

    Faye at The Social Potato


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