Author Elizabeth May’s debut novel, The Falconer, really should come with a warning to readers: May create an unrealistic desire to acquire a loyal charismatic pixie friend who lives in your wardrobe.
Arranged to be a trilogy, The Falconer, the first book in the series, introduces you to Aileana Kameron, a debutante by day and a kick-butt-fey-killing assassin by night. Set in Edinburgh, the novel merges steam-punk with Scottish folk-lore in an absolutely tempting literary piece that readers are sure to devour. The novel is slightly reminiscent of The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, so I was not the least bit surprised to learn that Elizabeth May admits to being inspired by veteran writer Robin McKinley’s work. This inspiration can be seen in the fiery female protagonist and the brooding male character, as well as the ability to introduce and immerse readers into an ethereal (yet dangerous!) setting and foreign language (I’m not talking French here people!). Though the main characters are intriguing, you may find yourself rooting for the little guy who lives in the closet.
Enchantingly full of action, littered with comical satire, and skillfully placed hints of romance are what readers can look forward to in this young adult fantasy novel. The cliff hanger at the end may invoke a love/hate relationship with Mrs. May, but it clearly sets up readers to salivate for more of the magic that is The Falconer and its counterparts which as of yet do not have a release date.
Desiring more faerie lore while you wait for the next installment? Though they are more contemporary, you might try reading Marissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series (recommended age 16+) or Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series (recommended age 16+). In the mood for a classic? A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare or The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope may be to your liking.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Chronicle Books
Profanity/Language: 32 religious exclamations; 85 mild obscenities; 8 derogatory names.
Violence/Gore: Extended scene (about 3 pages) characters gossip about a suspicious death, non-detailed, some blood mentioned; character admits to being a murderer; character recalls the scene of a parent’s murder, some blood mentioned (about 2 paragraphs); character has a strong desire to be violent; character mentions having killed many supernatural creatures; extended scene (about 4 pages) character engages in violence fantastical in nature, some blood mentioned; character receives stitches to wound, blood mentioned (about 1 page); character mentions how many mythical creatures she’s killed for the week; character examines wounds, stitches herself, some blood mentioned; character discusses her violent escapades for the night (brief scene); extended scene (about 2 pages) character discusses the violent activities that one mythical creature has ensued; general mention of how mythical creatures like to lure their prey to kill; extended scene (about 3 pages) characters engage in physical violence trying to overpower one another, some blood mentioned; mention of particular mythical creature committing murder; extended scene (about 9 pages) character engages in intense physical violence with mythical creatures, somewhat graphic in detail, blood mentioned, causes destruction of property; character examines her wounds (brief scene); mythical creature reports wounding another mythical creature; character strikes another character resulting in non-serious injury, some blood mentioned; report of mythical creature killing two people; character inadvertently wounds herself, non-serious (brief scene); extended scene (about 1 page) character admits to having violent fantastical visions; extended scene (about 4 pages) characters engages in a physical altercation resulting in death with fantasy creature, infliction of wounds, some blood mentioned; extended scene (about 6 pages) characters are being hunted by mythical creatures, blood and death mentioned; brief scene character kills mythical creature; brief non-detailed scene character tells another character how a parent was murdered; extended scene (about 3 pages) character is being chased by a mythical creature, killing mythical creature; (brief scene) character recalls how a specific breed of mythical creature tends to kill their victims; extended scene (about 1 page) characters engage is a physical altercation; (brief scene) character recalls killing her first mythical creature; (brief scene) character remembers how a parent was murdered; (brief scene) character incurs an injury; (brief scene) character injures another character; extended scene (about 1 page) characters engages in physical violence with one another, wounds and blood mentioned; two extended scenes( about 2-5 pages) in which male character examine/treats female character’s wounds, blood and infection mentioned, character stitches wound; (brief scene) character inflicts superficial injury to another character, some blood mentioned; extended battle scene (about 3 pages) somewhat graphic in nature, blood, wounds, and death mentioned; (brief scene) character kills a mythical creature; (brief scene) character inflicts injury on another character, blood and wounds mentioned; a few brief scenes of characters making menial threats to one another, somewhat comical; several mentions of murder(ing) and kill(ing) throughout the book.
Sex/Nudity: 3 brief scenes in which characters kiss; 1 brief scene where characters embrace; 2 extended scenes (about 2-5 pages) male character examines female character’s back to inspect and treat wound; female character has romantic desires; few instances where female has romantic thoughts/longings (non-graphic) towards male character; few brief scenes in which characters flirt.
Mature Subject Matter:
Murder(ing), death of a parent, family conflict.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
A few mentions of whiskey and characters drinking alcohol; one reference to “snuff” (tobacco); mention of one character using alcohol to dull unpleasant memories; a few (about 2) mentions of spiking punch.