Coming Attractions: The Falconer

Coming Attractions is inspired by The Perpetual Page Turner's Save The Date. Coming Attractions showcases a book that is not released for a while that I've read, and gives you a sneak peek (like a pre-review, if you will) as to what I thought about the book, since I can't post the review until closer to the release date.

The Falconer
Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer, #1
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Rating: 3.5 stars
Word rating: KIARAN. Oh, and Aileana and badassery but seriously, KIARAN.
Reviewed by: Ellis

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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?

Yes, people that have known me for a while, I see the confusion in your eyes. No, don't give me that "Um, Ellis? Everything okay? Didn't you read and review this book months ago?" look. For this Coming Attractions, I'm going to do things a bit differently. Instead of pre-reviewing a book that won't be released for months, I'm going to raise awareness for a book that has been available to the Ellises (and I think Mels) of the world for months, but still hasn't hit the shelves in The Continent of Blythe. The US. I'm talking about the US, thus why I used the US cover. See, it all makes sense now.

Now, before I go into the HELL YESses and could have been betters of this book, let me just say that I already bought The Falconer for six people and that my copy currently resides with a seventh friend in a foreign country. If this isn't dedication, I don't know what is.

This didn't work for me:


Okay, obviously that's not true. The rating should have been an indication, for one, but I like to pretend that there wasn't a thing I didn't like about this book. To be honest, the beginning is rather slow. It took me a good 100 pages to get into the story, but once it gets good, you kind of want to just put your life on hold.

I also felt like the setting of Edingburg - 19TH-CENTURY SCOTLAND - was underused. I wanted Aileana's surroundings to come alive while she was slaying Fae, and while there was potential for that kind of tension between characters and the world around them, the setting didn't leave that much of an impression on me. A second aspect in which the world-building failed a little is that Fae mythology was never really elaborated on. There was a bestiary at the end of the book, but I would have liked for that knowledge to have been woven into the story.

And then there's the ending, which is a complete non-ending.


This absolutely did work for me:

Let's see. First of all, there is the use of Scots and it is delightful. I love that the language makes this story even more authentic. The characterisation in general is incredibly strong. I have to say that I didn't take an instant liking to any of these characters - with the exception of Derrick, Aileana's honey-addicted personal fairy nurse. He's the comic relief this book needs. It would have been a very gloomy - but undoubtedly awesome - affair otherwise.

Nevertheless, over time, all the characters grew on me, none more so than Kiaran. More on him in a bit. Elizabeth May has a knack for writing clearly defined and detailed characters without bogging down the narrative or making the story read tedious. This doesn't just go for the human characters. The Fae Aileana battles on an almost daily basis are not just a general, amorphous blob of supernatural creatures. They, too, belong to different sorts and stations, which I why I was a little disappointed that their origins and nature were more or less info-dumped at the end of the book.

Another great plus is the focus on friends and family, and how well-developed Aileana's relationship with each one of them is. Aileana has to balance two worlds, her life as a completely normal heiress debutante poised to be married soon on the one hand, and her after hours Fae-slaying sessions with Kiaran, the hottest mentor on the block. She tries to keep these lives apart, but has to acknowledge by the end that she needs to make a choice, and it leads to a few heart-breaking moments involving her friends and family.

Okay, we need to talk about this. The romance is not just a regular ship. It's something I yacht, and I know for a fact that I'm not alone in this. There is the infamous page 292, which is nothing short of flawless. I'm dead serious about that. There are hints of a love triangle, but Gavin feels more like a good friend than an actual love interest to me. It's not even that Gavin and Kiaran both represent a certain kind of life. While either man plays a role in her decision, Aileana chooses a life. She doesn't spontaneously go for a man and just accepts the life that comes with. She considers all options.

Even more, the word or even sentiment "love" isn't used to describe a romantic entanglement. The only people Aileana genuinely loves are family and friends she has known all her life. And yeah, Kiaran. His relationship with Aileana is a mix of hate/love and mentor/protégé, but it's clear that the latter isn't supposed to stick. These two tortured, vengeance-focused, seemingly-indifferent-towards-each-other-but-actually-exuding-sexual-tension-like-whoa nighttime warriors do end up as equals. And. it. is. GLORIOUS.

So, I don't know, if reading about a 19th-century Scottish female warrior with a support network of loveable and decently fleshed-out side characters and an occasionally infuriating but generally ... appealing love interest is something that excites your reading tastes,

You might want to keep an eye out for this one.


  1. Yup yup yup! I have this one down for review in a few weeks (first week of April). I have seen nothing but amazing things about this book. As a resident of The Continent of Blythe, I've detested the long wait, but at least I have an early copy? But you non-USA people keep teasing me ahhh! lol

    Great post!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  2. I did like Aileana and Kiaran together, they have an interesting relationship. I do wish that we actually got to see their relationship develop. Instead, the book starts with them already knowing each other and he's already taught her how to kill faeries. To see that transformation from gentle society girl to faerie assassin would have been fascinating and I felt like it kept me from being really emotionally invested in their relationship.

    That ending…the middle of a scene cliffhanger. What??? Very frustrating.

    Great review! ~Pam

  3. Just going by the synopsis I don't know if this would have been excited for, but your review makes it sound really awesome!! The romance sounds like the type I would enjoy, and I love a badass chick MC in books. That cover is pretty awesome too!!


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