Book Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

16046550Title: The Falconer

Author: Elizabeth May

Format/Length: Paperback / 312 pages

Publisher/Date Published: Gollancz / September 26th 2013

Category/Genre: Young Adult / Urban Fantasy – Paranormal – Historical

Source: Library

Goodreads Author’s Website |


She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title — and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. She’s leading a double life: She has the rare ability to sense the sìthichean — the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans — and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her abilities and her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons — from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols — ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with the gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder — but she’ll have to save the world first.



I put off reading The Falconer because I’ve never been a fan of steampunk. There. I said it. It’s out. Steampunk, for some reason, has never really appealed to me—for reasons I could never put my finger on. Now, though, I’m definitely going to be backtracking though the steampunk books I’ve been avoiding and giving them a chance, because even if they’re only as half as good as The Falconer was, then I know I’m going to like them.

This novel had everything in it I was hoping for.

A badass female protagonist (seriously, our main character—Aileana—is pretty kickass), a historical backdrop that isn’t overbearing, or confusing, but just enough to paint a vivid picture of the world, and most of all: the beautiful blend of fantasy, mythology and romance which made Elizabeth May’s debut novel so brilliant. So all right, maybe I couldn’t actually pronounce any of the fae terms used in the novel, and maybe they blended together confusingly at some points, but it’s really easy to overlook the minor qualms I had with this novel by looking at it as a whole, instead of picking it apart.


Let’s talk romance. Yes, there is a romance—as there is in pretty much all YA fiction—but unlike a lot of them, it’s not overbearing or in your face. And okay, so maybe there are hints of a love triangle there, too, which I guess you could also consider to be a bit of a cliché in YA, yet none of that really matters when you consider that the story is not about the romance.

Oh, and, the fight scenes? Awesome.

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Fans of steampunk—and hell, even people like me who’ve never had a good experience with steampunk before—will love this novel.

What are your favourite steampunk novels? Let me know — I need to read more books like this one!


12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

  1. A historical fantasy steampunk novel? The Falconer sounds like just my thing. I love when YA novels have romance that isn’t too overbearing because I’ve gotten really tired of seeing that in so much of the YA fiction I read. And I can definitely overlook confusing fantasy names.

  2. I’ve never read any steampunk book before. Weird, right. I guess I’m like you. It’s just never appealed to me but if this book has a badass girl then I’m all in for it

  3. Jeann actually reviewed this as a guest review a few months back and I loved the sound of it. I enjoy a bit of steampunk from time to time and you had me snared at badass. I love a kick ass heroine. My favourite steampunk was the first one I’d ever read, Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin I think the author is. It’s fabulous! Wonderful review Kara <3

  4. This book actually sounds pretty cool. I think the closest thing I’ve read with steampunk is The Mortal Engines (I think that’s what it’s called) but that doesn’t count as it’s Children’s and probably isn’t even steampunk actually. :)

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