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The Falconer #1

The Falconer

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One girl's nightmare is this girl's faery tale

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 a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—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 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 a 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.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

378 pages, Hardcover

First published September 19, 2013

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About the author

Elizabeth May

11 books2,252 followers

Elizabeth May is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the romantasy To Cage A God, the Seven Devils duology (co-written with Laura Lam), The Falconer series, and historical romance novels under the pen name Katrina Kendrick. She is Californian by birth and Scottish by choice, and holds a PhD from the University of St Andrews. She currently resides on an old farm in rural Scotland with her husband, three cats, and a lively hive of resident honey bees.

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Profile Image for Elizabeth May.
Author 11 books2,252 followers
May 10, 2021
September 26 edit: The book is out in the UK! It's lurking in your bookshops! *tosses confetti*

September 6 2013 edit: The first two chapters of THE FALCONER are now posted to sample! Check out the Gollancz Blog for chapter 2!

Hi Goodreads people!

The first chapter of THE FALCONER is now available to read over on SciFiNow!
Profile Image for Samantha.
438 reviews16.7k followers
February 3, 2018
This has themes and tropes that remind me of Buffy, and I was hooked. Fast-paced, Buffy with fae, in 1800s steampunk Scotland. Oh and there is an angsty romance with lots of banter. But warning... this book ends in a cliffhanger. So now I'm off to buy the second one :)
October 2, 2013
Faefever lite.

This was not a bad book, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who has read and loved the Faefever series unless you enjoy constantly being hit on the head with dueling comparisons.

It doesn't help that Kiaran's last name is MacKay. I couldn't help but chuckle every time I saw it. Also, Aileana...so similar to Alina.

The parallels are too obvious, and I felt that the setting, characters, and conflict are overwhelmingly shadowed by the superiority of the Fever series. There's also a very forced attempt at romance, the inclusion of an eye-rolling love triangle, and a horrendous cliff hanger. One of the worst cliff hangers I've read this year. The plot itself is fine, the writing is good, it was fairly enjoyable if you don't overthink things, but knowing me, I overthink everything, hence my less-than-ideal rating for this book.

The setting is 1844, a steampunk version of Scotland; it is but a pale version of steampunk, but I'll go into that later. Lady Aileana Kameron is 18, the daughter of a Scottish Marquess; currently she is embroiled in scandal, the subject of whispers and suspicious glares at every social event she attends. Why? One year ago she was discovered hovering, bloodied and traumatized, over her mother's corpse. Her mother's heart was ripped out from her chest. The official story is that Lady Douglas died from an animal attack; Aileana knows better. Her mother was killed by fairies.

From then on, she formed a strategic alliance with Kiaran, a fae, a sithichean daione sith, to get vengeance for her mother's killer. Neither knows the others' true purpose for hunting the fae, and their alliance is strictly business---until now. To complicate things, her father has returned to town, demanding that Aileana must choose a husband, and she's got no shortage of suitors---she's still a peer's daughter, his heiress, and with a plump dowry, after all. Conveniently, Aileana's former crush also returns to town from Oxford, possibly to rekindle the sparks of a romance...but Gavin has some secrets of his own. And further still, there's danger lurking literally beneath Edinburgh. Which is pronounced Ed-in-bruh, for you ignorant Americans out there *shakes fist*.

Parallels to Faefever:
- Death of a much-beloved relative: Aileana's mother's was killed by a fae

- Desire to wreak vengeance: Aileana's made it her mission in life to track down and kill the sith that killed her mother

- A newfound ability to see fairies: in this case, brought on by the flower seilgflùr

- Endangered when she is discovered: Aileana stupidly goes out to hunt fairies on her own, fairies (which are supposed to be invisible to the average human eye) realize that she can see them. You might as well paint a target on Aileana's head

- Girly-girl debutante transforms into deadly fae-killer: "For the briefest moment, I wish I was the girl I used to be. I’d wear frivolous white dresses and attend dances and never worry about anything ever again. But I had to destroy the girl who wore white dresses because she wasn’t capable of murder"

- Asshole: Kiaran, aka Jericho Barrons' more boring half-brother, who trains her, is mean to her, kicks her ass, and keeps secrets from her.
It’s just another blasted secret of his. I’m considering keeping a tally of all the questions Kiaran evades, so that when each answer is finally revealed at some incredibly inopportune moment, I can look at the count and remember how much he hides from me.
Kiaran is also seemingly V'lane's cousin's sister's son twice removed, because he has but a shadow of V'lane's sexual glamour. It's called being "faestruck." Instead of making you want to have sex with the fae on the spot...faestruck glamour will just makes your panties slightly damp.
Catherine grasps the sleeve of Kiaran’s frock coat, twisting the fabric to pull him to her, her eyes dazed. The faestruck will rip and tear clothing for another touch of a faery’s skin. She hasn’t reached that point, not yet, but any further contact with him and she might.

- Ability to sense an particular object: ‘You feel power. And you’ve sensed the sìthichean since the first one you ever saw, haven’t you?’

- Secret lineage

I don't know if it was intentional, if this book was intended to be a homage or an alternative retelling of Faefever, but the parallels and similarities are definitely there. It was a good book, but it is just lacking in comparison.

The Setting
The setting was just not well done. I neither got a sense of Edinburgh itself or of the steampunk elements within it. Really, there was absolutely no purpose for the setting, and I really don't know why this book had to be steampunk. The steampunk-ish elements of this alternate-Edinburgh was limited to horseless carriages, cool decorations at balls and society events, ornithopters (a Leonardo Da Vinci's version of a helicopter), machines that dispense hot beverages, and conveniently designed weaponry that will blast away an army of faeries with a push of a button.

The steampunk setting seems to be in place more to suit Aileana's hobby of tinkering, building machines, and designing custom tools than anything else. This book's setting, unlike the beautifully wrought dark atmosphere of the Faefever series, is but an afterthought. I did not find myself immersed at all, I did not lose myself in the surroundings. I did not get a feel of what made Edinburgh a place where humans and fairies coexist. It might as well have been the rich/poor areas of Detroit, Michigan, for the little thought paid to the descriptions of the book's environment. There was no sense of place.

The fae were very well written. There are many types, and they are very well described, some disgustingly rotten, others terrifyingly beautiful. I just wished that we had a beautiful, dark setting fitting of them, instead of the half-hearted quasi-steampunk scene we were given.

The Characters
Aileana: She didn't feel real to me, unlike MacKayla in Faefever and her amazing character development, Aileana just doesn't compare. Aileana was supposed to have turned from a gentle, happy society girl into a rage-filled, vengeance-minded cold-hearted fighter...but I didn't get any sense of her transformation. She was just too perfect, her transformation was told rather than shown. I understood her rage, her helplessness, her anger at witnessing her mother's death, but we were never clearly told how she has changed so much in that little time. We are given Aileana 2.0, we are never shown how she got there. We see from the beginning of the book that she is an ass-kicking heroine, but it feels like that's all she is.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the fact that she is unflinching in her quest for vengeance. She never, ever shies from killing an evil fae. Unlike some books featuring so-called "female assassins" who are scared to draw blood (which shall remain unnamed), Aileana is a determined killer. And I loved it, I loved seeing her kick, punch, stab, shoot. I loved seeing her as she slashes, disembowels, electrocutes. I just wished we saw more of her vulnerabilities as she became what she currently is. Her grief is also well-portrayed, to the point that at times, I said to myself: enough already. Yes, I am cold-hearted, but her extreme grief seems a little bit of an exaggeration.

Also, drinking game! Take a drink every time you read the phrase: "Crimson suits you best." Or not. You might get alcohol poisoning. Maybe take a sip of a beer instead.

Kiaran: Generic YA love interest. Really, I made a comparison to Jericho and V'lane, but the truth is, there is no comparison. Kiaran has no personality than that of the standard mysterious, ice-cold, unfeeling bad boy with a secret heart and a soft spot in his soul that only the main character can see. The alliance between Aileana (he calls her Kam) and Kiaran seemed...odd. There was very little about their history together in that very short year, we are not given much at all about their past besides the fact that Kiaran trains Aileana to be a fighter, a killer. Too little detail was given about their past to make their current relationship seem like anything but an alliance, and that is why their developing feelings seem so strange. I think Gavin says it best:
‘Is that right? The fellow teaches you to slaughter his own kind and you don’t believe that’s a wee bit worthy of suspicion?’
Gavin: The perfect love rival, with a twist. A really, really convenient and unbelievable twist. Gavin is perfect. He is a student at Oxford, he is Aileana's beloved best friend's brother. He is an earl. He is wealthy. He is understanding. Aileana has also been nursing aspirations of being the future Mrs. for a long time before she changed into a cold-hearted killer. Aileana needs a husband, Gavin is oh-so-very eligible. What's a girl to do? Why, love triangle, of course!

Side characters: Well-written enough to keep me interested. I wish there had been more written about Aileana's relationship with her father; they are so distant from each other, they have such a strained relationship, and it was painful to read at times. I felt very badly for Aileana for her father's continued disinterest in her, he is the very picture of an absentee father. Not uncommon, given the time, and given his status as nobility, who are expected to ignore their children, but I truly felt bad for Aileana for her father's neglect. I wish their relationship had been developed further.

I loved her best friend, Catherine. Catherine is beautiful, and unlike the trapfalls of having a beautiful best friend who exists to highlight the heroine's flaws, Catherine is absolutely lovely in character as well as appearance. I wish I had a best friend like her. She is so utterly supportive, such a calming influence on Aileana: a truly enjoyable character that I wish had been more involved in her life.

There is a little sidekick pixie named Derrick in this book. He exists to mend Aileana's clothes and to be an annoying little shit, it seems. I know Derrick is there for insertion of humor and lightness into an overall dark book, but personally, I wanted to snatch him out of the air and pluck out his wings. He is a nuisance more often than not, and he truly grates on my nerves. And he has a habit of getting drunk on honey that would put Winnie the Pooh to shame.
‘But your friend offered it,’ Derrick complains. ‘So she might not have explicitly said, “Derrick, please eat all of the honey in my kitchen,” but it was implied by the mere fact that she has a kitchen.’
Shall I mention the fact that that little phrase was uttered after his neglect almost got Aileana killed that night? Now do you understand why I want to commit pixie-cide?

The Romance : Not plausible. Why? I needed more background on them. Right off the bat, after a year of fighting together and little else, we see glimpses of Aileana's thoughts that signalled that she might fall for him. Inexplicable. Why now? Why all of a sudden? Aileana is not irrational, she knows that he's a killer, she knows that he's cold-hearted, for fuck's sakes, Kiaran kills his fellow fae without telling her why. They have never confided in one another as to why they're committed to their quest, their relationship has been strictly business-like, strictly student-mentor, so why does she start developing feelings now? Their conversations in the book are largely impersonal, more fraught with conflict than romance, there's not much bonding, so their feelings feel...forced. And really? In the middle of all this mess? Is it really a good time to start a romance?
He turns to look at me, and our faces are a mere breath away. Everything around me fades and blurs and my gaze drops to his lips.
Gavin’s voice sounds so very far away. ‘Get back, faery. Now.’
Bloody hell. I recoil from Kiaran, suddenly aware of what I almost did. My cheeks flush and my heart speeds up in embarrassment. I swear, I was tempted to kiss Kiaran, and in front of Derrick and Gavin, no less. What is wrong with me?
Yeah, Aileana. I don't know what's wrong with you, either.

Recommended to younger readers who want a fast-paced, action-packed fantasy, a brain-candy type of book. Not recommended for fans of adult fantasy, or those seeking more complexity out of their reading experience.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
October 14, 2020
how dare this end on a cliffhanger. i had made it until the very end, positive i wasnt going to continue the series, and then it ends the way it does and now im forced to find out what happens next. i feel swindled. lol.

i guess that means i was slightly more invested in this story that i originally thought i was, hence the rounding up. i just really wish it didnt take the ending to make me realise it - i wanted to be more engaged throughout.

still, i can appreciate the unique world building. i think this is the first book ive read where fae are actually quite violent. its definitely a change of pace from the fae stories im familiar with. i also like the time period, although there are a few discrepancies and inconsistencies here and there.

overall, not a horrible book, although i do wish some aspects were better. fingers crossed it improves with the next book.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.9k followers
May 5, 2016
“I'm like him.I'm a monster,too.”

Historical fiction meets steampunk.They fall in love,they get married and they go for their honeymoon to Scotland,the magical land of wild beauty and alluring lore.Everything is perfect,until the bloodthirsty fae find them.Hunted and on the run,they give birth to their love child.The Falconer.
“Crimson suits you best.”

The Falconer.A female warrior,born to kill the fae.Except Aileana's the last one of them,and she has a crumbling social life and reputation to fix,her mother's death to avenge,a honey-loving pixie that mends dresses in her closet,a friend who covers for her midnight strolls and a mysterious,insanely handsome instructor who happens to be a faery.Oh,and she also has to stop the Apocalypse.And find a husband.
“Time won’t fix me. Time allows me to become more skillful at hiding how much I hurt inside. Time makes me a great liar. Because when it comes to grief, we all like to pretend.”

Do you know what's the best way to prevent your brain cells from turning into mush after long hours reading Philosophy of Law?take a napGrab a good book.Preferably one that features flying machines,balls,a hot collection of weapons and beautiful gowns.Thank you Elizabeth May,you're the reason my brain still functions!

I LOVED IT.I swallowed this book.Plain and simple.The quick pace was captivating,the descriptions and landscapes breathtaking and the heroine really badass!!I can't say I've read many steampunk books but The Falconer is a great example of how fascinating this genre is!Add some sass and romance,world-changing events and a variety of emotions and voila!,you read it in one sitting without regrets!
“Kiaran and I have little connection beyond our names. We battle, bleed and hunt together almost every night. He teaches me how to slaughter in the most effective, brutal ways possible. But I've never told Kiaran why I hunt, and he has never told me why he kills his own kind. This is our ritual, our dance. The only one that matters.”

Kiaran is an absolutely swoonworthy male lead.Hunted by his own demons,secretive and bossy,he starts off as Kam's mentor but he eventually becomes something more.I love me some slow-burning relationships!

I must warn you though,there is a terrible cliffhanger that left me frustrated,angry and hurt.

Care to join me in agony?
June 25, 2023

DNF at 77% (pretty impressive, huh?)

Laaaaaaaaaadies & Gentlemeeeeeen!

☆☆ Why-The-Hell-Did-I-Try-To-Read-This Productions proudly present ☆☆


🤗 It won't keep you reading until 4 am!
🤗 It won't make you want to throw away your underwear across the room!
🤗 Now stress-free!
🤗 Now angst-free!
🤗 Faint-of-heart enabled!
🤗 In a steampunk setting!
🤗 Amidst the exotic landscapes of beautiful Scotland!
🤗 With a teenage MC!
🤗 A dream come true!

Why bother with the real lethal deal when you can enjoy the so-healthy-you-might-get-bored-out-of-your-mind, diet version?! Why? Because you're a TOTAL MASOCHIST that's why!

Let's cup the crap and get down to it shall we? I'm pretty sure you are all dying to find out just how much The Falconer differs from Fever. Because clearly both series have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN COMMON:

☣️ Meet Alina Mac Aielana. She was born to kill fae. It's a gift she had all along and never knew about. You don't say?!
☣️ Her sister mother was killed by fae. You don't say?!
☣️ Her weapon of choice is the Sinsar Dubh sgian dubh! You don't say?!
☣️ Meet V'Lane Kiaran, the damnably beautiful Unseelie Prince daoine sìth who fights his own kind because they are cruel, unfeeling, destructive creatures who crave power above all else. And he is way above all that. You don't say?!
☣️ V'Lane Kiaran takes away Alina Mac Aielana's seilgflùr (a magical thistle of all things) whenever they meet. You don't say?!
☣️ When faieries are around the strangest thing happens: you become Priya faestruck. You don't say?! [Unfortunately, this being YA-rated there are no bra on/bra off games to be expected *sighs*]
☣️ Meet Barrons Gavin. He can see the Fae too! You don't say?! [Again, this is YA-rated so he totally lacks JZB's awesome assholeness *sighs*]
☣️ The Unseelie evil fae are about to escape from a prison and slaughter thousands of humans. It will happen on Halloween when the lunar eclipse occurs on midwinter. You don't say?!

Anything else?

Aileana. This girl. She awakens the serial murderer in me with her serial I am's: I am so totally cool. I am not broken or empty. I am so freakingly awesome. I am a genius. I am an inventor. I am so unbelievably remarkable. I am unburdened. I am complete. I AM SO TIRED OF THIS SHIT ← that was me, not Aileana. Just in case you were wondering.

And the icing on the cake: this was all MIND-BLOWINGLY BORING.

Note to self: next time you want to self-destruct consider death by tequila. Not by YA.

Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
September 11, 2013
I was hanging out with my good friend, Elizabeth May. We were riding unicorns along a deserted beach as our hair whipped in the wind, occasionally strands of her red and my brown locks blending together. We gazed lovingly together as we rode, smiling as joy filled our hearts in an almost mutual amount.

When we pulled our unicorns to a break, having reached the peak of a cliff overlooking the sea, I took an opportunity to ask her a question.

“Elizabeth,” I said whimsically as I gazed out at the setting sun glinting off the ocean, “Why did you break my heart with the ending of The Falconer?”

She smiled sadly and beckoned me forward, cricking her finger in my direction to encourage me closer. I leaned in expectantly. In a flash she was on me, stabbing me several times in the abdomen before whipping behind me, yanking my hair back and slitting my throat. As the blood spewed out my throat, drenching my chest, she whispered in my ear, “The House of May sends its regards.”

Then she dumped my body over the cliff, but I wasn’t paying attention to that. Because I was dead. My soul wasn’t, though. That is until she shot it, and it died too.

Fuck you, science!

I really enjoyed The Falconer. It wasn’t a perfect read. For example, I loved Aileana’s tinkering, and the various Steampunk aspects of this book. However, I feel like some of the aspects (Like a hovering hand that retrieves library books) were a little far-fetched. The world interacted a little with the Steampunk aspects, but most of the innovations seemed limited to Aileana’s Fae killing usage.

There is a love interest. He is hot. Like, splooge hot. But after a while of going:

Now Kiss


Then there may or may not have been kissage. And I may or may not have been like:

Spiderman's Body is ready

The writing was great. But you know what the best part is? May didn’t get all flowery about the romance. No. She got all flowery about the violence and massacre. I swear to god, for anyone who likes kicking ass, and protagonists who can do so – this is the perfect book for it. There is just a surplus of things that need to be shot, stabbed or blown up and Aileana is so very ready to oblige! With delicious, delicious abandon.

The plot is the really healthy dose of angst, murdering the living hell out of things, and romantic tension. They cycle around you, one after the other, like you’re a little kid on a Merry-G0-Round. You know what’s coming next, but it’s so much fun that your mind is rocked any way.

I’m kind of ready to rage quit over the ending. Like, I finished it and flipped the closest table I could get to. It’s the kind of ending where you’re going to want to be glad Elizabeth May is on twitter so that you can rage at her about it. (Her handle is @_ElizabethMay btw. You’re welcome.)

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to go harass Elizabeth May some more.

This review, and others like it, also appear on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.

This ARC was provided to me by the author for reviewing purposes. This did not entice me to be any less annoyingly opinionated than I would otherwise be. I am also friends with Elizabeth May. You have my permission to feel sorry for her.
Profile Image for Kiki.
194 reviews8,529 followers
December 14, 2015
I hate the Victorian era. I find it excruciatingly boring. Here's some taffeta and high tea and let's have masked balls and let me carry my parasol and oh, fie! What do you make of these new inventions?

I hate the Victorian era because it's so overdone. You know what else is overdone? You know what else I'm sick of? London. Before any of you get into a flap - particularly any of you who know me - let me preface that by saying that London is the shiz. London absolutely rocks. Have you been to London? Oh my god, go. London is such a cool ass city, but that doesn't mean I want every single piece of British media to be set there. I mean, my god, stop trying to make Victorian London happen. It's not going to happen.

This book tore me two ways. Victorian era? Stop it, I beg of you. Edinburgh?

Nyeh. Just let me have a quick look.

I think my absolute favourite thing about this book is that it's devoid of stereotypes. People say aye and they eat shortbread, but...people say aye and eat shortbread in Scotland. That shit gets done. But this book does not fall back on woad and barbarism. This book says that high society existed and still exists in Scotland, because look at Rose Leslie, who lived in a fucking castle when she was a kid. Like, what the actual? I lived in a townhouse and then a caravan.

Look, whatever. And never mind that I secretly love books and movies about people being filthy and wearing armpit daggers in the Middle Ages (I'm sorry, but I love the wars of independence. They were such a perfect example of how money and fancy costumes can't buy nationalism). I liked Elizabeth May's Victorian era. I actually felt something in the face of the age old "I have to marry for duty, not love" tirade despite it usually treating my patience like mortar to pestle. "I have to marry for duty not love" is - wait for it - overdone as hell, but because Aileana has so much agency and passion for her cause, that is, killing evil faeries, it really strikes a chord. All of this bravery and skill that Aileana has built up, and all the time she has spent hardening herself, will be thrown to the wind. It'll all be for nothing. She'll go from battle-axe to subjugated Victorian wife. Isn't that sad? I think that's really fucking sad, and true of women, now and in antiquity, who've built lives for themselves only to have them pried from their hands for the sake of marriage. Look at Jill Duggar. That girl was training to be a midwife, and spent hours upon hours studying and taking house calls and even going abroad to help women who needed her, only to toss it all away because Duggar wives don't go to college or have careers. They literally aren't allowed to. I mean, jesus christ, the girl was pregnant seven minutes after she left the altar. Calm the fuck down.

Aileana surprised me in that her struggle felt real, and so did her grief. Man, her grief was epic. Don't knock Crimson suits you best because the girl is obviously suffering through some serious survivor's guilt and that does ugly things to a person. You might think that her constantly banging on about revenge and the hunt and her burning desire to taste the guts of her enemies is tiresome, but for me it rings true. This protagonist is fucked up and she knows it. She's going through some serious shit and she's a very unstable person at her core. What I'm getting at is that it hit me in the feels, and that matters. It matters that I felt something. I was supposed to feel something.

The author's love for the city of Edinburgh is obvious, and it shone through in such careful, adoring descriptions, which isn't to say that I feel that the setting was rendered to its full potential - it wasn't - but I got a sense of it and it was present. That said, I have strong expectations for setting. Setting should feel like a character in and of itself. The setting ought to have a pulse, and we ought to care about it, and it doesn't count if you care about it because you've already been there and seen how awesome Edinburgh is (it's awesome. Behind my hand, with eyes averted, I'll say that it's not as good as Glasgow. Glasgow rocks my world, daily. Glasgow is my fucking lover, with its rock-hard abs and ass that won't quit. But Edinburgh is goddamn beautiful). You need to feel it in your soul. And in your special place.

Speaking of special places, I want to mash my face up against Kiaran's, because this dude is glorious, so tough and dark and scary, but that's not what'll make your panties damp. (This review is all kinds of NSFW.) What'll make your panties damp or your jeans a little tight is that he's such a fucking feminist. Oh, Kiaran, I love it when you talk social justice to me.

This dude treats Aileana with so much respect, and he's such a great example of a male character who's dark and broody and mysterious but isn't a sexist prick about it. He sees her sexuality and he prays to it; he listens to her when she explains how hard it is to be a woman in her world, and he humbles himself before the social struggle that she is facing. He spars with her, and beats her, and that's awesome because he's not coddling her or treating her like she's incapable. He trusts her and believes in her. I think that is beautiful, and it's refreshing, and this is me enjoying a Victorian era novel. Enjoy it while it lasts. That piquant tang of my agreement will be gone as quickly as it came.

The writing's smooth, and while it could've had a little more flair, it's nothing to sniff at. Solid, strong, consistent. It's what was needed. Even if I nearly broke my neck with all of that Gaelic. (Sorry I'm not from Oban, okay?) Some good advice I can give you is that sgian-dubh is pronounced "skeen-duu", and that sith is "shee" which means that baobhan sith is "bah-van shee". Now say that three times fast. Bah-van shee. Banshee. Cool, right? Told you that a shit-ton of faerie lore comes courtesy of your good friend Alba.

(On a side note, why are villains always called Sorcha? Why? Wow, this just got super personal.)

My beef with this book both is and isn't the author's fault. What isn't the author's fault is the steampunk, which I absolutely hate. Steampunk can eat my toenails. I'm not even that sure what it is about it that pisses me off; it just does. But it's annoying because I love, love, that Aileana is an engineer and please, girls, be engineers. Live your dreams! Change the world! Tell your daughters that they can fix cars and built rocket ships! Tell them about the women who built warplanes in the thirties and forties! Tell them that it was a woman who created the coding that allowed modern computers to exist! Tell them these things!

Just keep your steampunk away from me!

Like I said, it's not the author's fault that I hate steampunk, thus all of those gears and the ornithoptor and this bag of vomit did not affect my rating. What did knock the star off is that this book isn't fucking finished. I kept looking for more pages at the end, because what the actual fuck? That's not an ending. That is not how you finish a novel. Part of me doesn't even believe that the author wanted to finish this book this way, because the rest of this novel was solid and logical and consistent. How was it all supposed to end? No author anywhere, ever, at any point in time, has ever written an ending like that in a word document, then hit save and shut their laptop down, with a smiling sigh of, "There. Done." Nobody would ever be satisfied with that, so who made this happen? Editors? An agent? How incredibly bleak.

I'm definitely picking up the next book, but only because of that cliffhanger. And my anger about the cliffhanger is not a cute Tumblr anger like "stop torturing us because we love these characters so much and miss them and how dare you end this book!" It's genuine irritation that a good book was spoiled by a crappy ending.

Now I'm all hot and bothered and it's bedtime. I'm taking my leave of all of you. Blast you all, ninnies and scallywags!

(That physically hurt. Let's never do this again.)
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
575 reviews761 followers
August 19, 2018
Aileana is a upper class Scottish girl living in 1844, recently back out on the social scene a year after her mother's death. Though before she fit into it all seamlessly, after watching a faery murder her mother she has become changed. She has spent the past year training with another one of the fae, Kiaran, to kill the fae. I think with books a lot of times there's this trade off between the writing and the story telling and honestly I would much rather have good story telling than good writing. When I started reading the book I was a little annoyed at how immature the writing seemed, but it's ya so it's not really meant for someone as old as I am so I kept reading and I'm really glad I did. After about five pages I started to really get into the story. It was so good, the way it all flows and builds up to that final scene at the end was excellent. I also really liked all the characters, I can't think of one person who got on my nerves through out the book. Aileana is a sweetheart and I love Derrick. The steampunk thing was pretty cool too, I haven't read a lot of things incorporating that but I enjoyed it here and wouldn't mind reading more of it in the future. I can understand people may not have enjoyed it because it parallels others series they've read or because it seems like a typical YA book but I think when reading YA people should really be more realistic about their expectations. Things like this story have been done but I think this is a terrific execution of the story and that is worthwhile to read.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,988 reviews298k followers
December 20, 2013

Goodreads members have differing opinions on what kind of rating is the hardest to write a review for. Some say it's the ones they didn't like - perhaps trying to keep a balance between their own subjective dislikes and the overall general standard of the book; some say it's the all time favourites - how can you put that kind of book love into words? For others, myself included, it's those annoying books that sit right in the middle. Those books that are okay. Fine. Overwhelmingly average. When they're neither bad nor good, what do I say? For me, The Falconer is one of those books. I feel like I've read this book about fifty times before (okay, five or six but shh...) and I feel like I've written this very same review that many times as well.

If you're new to fantasy, if you're new to faeries in fantasy, there's no real reason for you not to like this novel set in an alternative Edinburgh in the year 1844. It's a little tame for my liking, occasionally almost edging towards the middle grade end of the age range, but I'm sure newcomers to the genre will find it more entertaining. But all I can see are the same recycled features: a female warrior protagonist who's out for vengeance, an awkwardly forced romance, another love triangle, and a cliffhanger worthy of Moning's Fever series. In fact, this book feels like an amalgamation of several I've read before. It's like Shadow and Bone without the Darkling, Throne of Glass without the entertainment (or a fabulous sequel to make the first worth sitting through), and Darkfever without, like, everything I love about that series.

The writing is fairly good, though. With some more original material, I think I could find myself returning to see what the author writes in the future. I've just exhausted myself on this story line. But anyway. Here's what's happening in The Falconer: Lady Aileana Kameron is the daughter of the Marquess of Douglas in Scotland. She was blissfully enjoying upper class life and social events until a faery murdered her mother and she became a hunter. In secret, she slays faery after faery, hoping to one day come face to face with the faery who murdered her mother and quench the need for revenge that is burning inside her. On top of that, drama ensues when her father returns and demands she choose a husband. Other possible suitors aside, Aileana is torn between her fae ally - Kiaran - and her old crush - Gavin - who has recently returned to Edinburgh.

I will say that I'm glad the author included nasty, evil faeries. While there is obviously some faery romanticization with Kiaran, the faeries in this novel tend to be the vicious, blood-thirsty kind (perfect, in my opinion). But I think there is a lot of untapped potential in this story and a bit of tweaking could have made it a more original and engaging tale. For one thing, it actually took me a while to realise that this is supposed to be a steampunk novel, those elements of it were so subtle that I didn't even notice them at first. I'm really enthusiastic about the new steampunk genre because it combines so many different things that I love, but I find myself being frequently disappointed by the lack of it in books that promise so much. Don't be afraid to go all out, I say! I want machines! I want old times! I want that magical blend of science fiction and historical! ...please?

Afterthought: I compared this book to many others and I remember noting to myself several times that it seemed loosely similar to the Fever series. But Khanh did a fantastic (and shocking) breakdown of the similarities between this and Faefever in her review. Wow. Enough said.
Profile Image for Jennifer Armentrout.
Author 130 books122k followers
December 4, 2013
Oh. My. God.

I don't know what to say. Other than this has to be my favorite young adult paranormal/fantasy/whatever they are calling it so far this year. And that's saying something because I'm not a huge fan of fae books other than the Iron Fey series and this book is NOTHING like that. It kind of reminds me of the Fever series, but for young adult. It's nothing like that plot or what not, but it has that hard edge, ya know. This book is so different it terms of what's out there in the YA market. I loved the historical aspect and while I don't read a lot of steampunk, it didn't bother me at all in this story, b/c I don't think the steampunk overshadowed the story at all. Besides the bloody awesome fight scenes, if you guys know me, I'm all about the romance and the romance in this book is one of my favorite kinds. I don't want to get too spoiler, but if you know what I like and what I write, then you probably know what I'm talking about. Oh, Kiaran.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Buy this book when it comes out. I think it's out in the UK and the end of this month and then in the US May 2014.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
795 reviews2,846 followers
March 31, 2020
Sometimes the memories we cling hardest to, are the ones that hurt us the most.

Before you read this review, I must warn you that it might contain spoilers, or better, things or facts that some people might consider so. Since I don't know you all's take on what's a spoiler and what's not, I'll try to keep it as vague as possible and tag when I have to.

The Falconer is my second attempt at reading something about Faes and their magical and intricated world and, not gonna lie, I approached the subject mainly thanks to my dear friend Virginia and her utter obsession over everything faerie-ish.
Thank you, Gin, now I'm obsessed too!
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The Falconer is a compelling story about vengeance, self-knowledge and love, all sprinkled with Scottish humor and slang.
Aileana Kameron found out legends were not just stories after she lost her mother by the hand of a beautiful and deadly Baobhan Sìth. Blinded by the will to avenge her, she starts training with Kieran MacKay, who fights his own kind and will teach her everything about Faes and even something about herself.
Now...I kind of live for vengeance storylines. I have read a rather long list of books where blood thirst and revenge are the main point of the story, the thing that drives the characters through the pages, and I have to say it, The Falconer -with its exquisite writing and interesting descriptions- just got on top of that list without many compliments.
Although it being a bit repetitive at times, I think the writing is incredibly nice, almost never boring (only a tad bit at the start, but that's it) and amazingly colorful, especially if you consider the presence of all those Gaelic terms and phrases, that make everything ten times more authentic than the setting already suggests it is.
Another thing that makes this book a worthy read, are the fact that the dialogues are totally on point. The charaters talk and act properly and in tune with the period they live in (I'm looking at you and your various "holy shit"s, Royal Bastards).
If I had to be completely picky (and you can bet your sweet bippies I'm not going to refrain myself), I found the steampunk factor to be a bit weak in the first pages, but it definitely got better as the chapters went on.
Amazing action scenes, too. I literally could feel the adrenaline rush whenever my fierce red-haired heroine had to fight against one of those flipping monsters.
Also, can we talk about those footnotes? I loved every bit of Aileana Kameron's Notes and Observations of the Fae -With some comments from Kiaran MacKay. (those were my favorites lol)
I learned so much reading them, and I had fun, as well.

In short, this book is almost perfect on paper.
The strongest point of the entire novel, though, remain the characters, Aileana first and foremost.
I apparently have developed a thing for badass red-haired swordswomen, lately.
Nothing new if you ask my closest friends, but let me tell you why this time is different.
Aileana (sorry, I still hate this name because it's too similar to Celeana) is THE BEST.
An actual badass with her eyes focused on the prize and no time for anything frilly and distracting.
She's so passionate, smart, strong-willed, stubborn and sarcastic (nice alliteration, self). Her huge heart and all the scars -both physical and emotive- she's endured make her nothing but one of the best main character I've read of in a very long time.
I usually don't like books in first-person pov, but I liked that The Falconer was narrated through Aileana's words, because it gave me an amazing insight of her own thoughts and motivations.
I love her relationship with Catherine (sweet and loyal Catherine), Derrick (a pixie who gets drunk on honey and stitches clothes? Heck, yes, I want to adopt one) and Gavin (adorable and probably way too kind for his own good).
And Kiaran...well, let's say I apparently have developed a thing for devilishly handsome fae daddies men, too.
He's such a deep and complex character. I laughed so much whenever he, Derrick and Gavin were in the same room, bickering and teasing each other. So much sass and so. much. poison.
I expect them to become best buddies by book 3 or else I might be very disappointed.
Plus *swoons* his interactions with Aileana, or Kam as he likes to call her.
Holy Moly.
They made my blood boil in my veins. In a very positive way, that'd be clear, but still.
Gosh, our guy might be over 2000 years old but he definitely knows what's up.

Also, excuse me while I put my shipping goggles on, but I shipped the heck out of those two!
Their undeniable chemistry goes way beyond the classic apprentice-teacher dynamics and it's sooooo amazing to see them growing over their differences and into mutual trust and affection.
And those quotes, oh my little pony!
"Aoram dhuit. I will worship thee."

Let me just...check my pulse real quick...
Nope, it's gone. I'm dead.
As dead as I could be after that amount of hotness.

I was a bit disappointed about the ending, not because I didn't like what I read, but because it felt a bit rushed. It's nothing compared to the heart attack it gave me, though, so I won't consider it as a flaw.
I'm probably being childish and on the verge of throwing a tantrum, here. What can I say? I didn't want the book to end. It was just that good.
It left me on the edge of my seat, and I'm not even exaggerating.
The Falconer is one of those stories that are easily unforgettable. Magnetic, entertaining and absolutely addictive.
If I don't read The Vanishing Throne soon I'm afraid I'll start to get withdrawals.

*squeals enthusiastically*
*falls off chair*
Who am I kidding, I'm already missing The Falconer gang!

(rounded up to 5 because the characters were my absolute favorite!)

Professional Reader
10 Book Reviews
Reviews Published
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
261 reviews4,943 followers
November 25, 2016
*Full review update*
This was quite the pleasant surprise. Scotland? Steampunk? A dark heroine that slays? Why yes, thank you. Magic? Fae? Seelie/Unseelie Courts? Heck yes, I'll take them all.

We start off with a broken heroine- which is how I like them best. I find that I connect with MC's when I catch them in their moments of weakness- and Aileana drew me in quickly. She's cold and barely hanging onto her humanity when we first meet her. It's been a year since her mother was murdered; since she re-purposed her life for revenge.

“Time won’t fix me. Time allows me to become more skillful at hiding how much I hurt inside. Time makes me a great liar. Because when it comes to grief, we all like to pretend.”

She keeps up a normal "pretense," but behind everyone's back, she is someone else entirely. Not only is she driven by revenge, she's also brilliant. She legit builds her own gadgets to take down any fae she comes across. At night, she trains /hunts with Kiaran. We know next to nothing about this dude. All we know is he is fae and he hunts his own kind. (AAAND not to mention the fact that he's Rhysand's doppleganger basically... seriously, they look identical.) He's devious, mysterious, and wowza super powerful. Then we have Derrick, the pixie that lives in her closet (who, I might add, is my favorite character.) He's sassy and hysterical and obsessed with getting drunk on honey (yes, that's a thing).

Honestly, I knew nothing about the actual plot and I'd recommend reading it without any expectations. The development/world building was a bit lacking, if I'm honest. I liked the amount of mystery surrounding everything - I love being kept in the dark and left guessing. However, the whole "war" element was extremely vague and didn't make much sense. (Like okay- if this upcoming war is such a big deal... why is she and Kiaran the only ones doing anything about it? And why aren't they more worried that its going to be 2 people against thousands??) So, on that note- I felt like there were big chunks missing out of the plot and general world building. I'm hoping for better development in the next book. If it weren't for this, it would have been an easy 5 stars.

Whatever, I still enjoyed it... mostly because I loved the characters so much. Plus, several elements of the magic system paired along with the whole steampunk gadgetry really made this super fun and unique. The Fae have all different classes and abilities - and Aileana can actually sense their power - she gets a certain taste in her mouth when one is near. It is actually super cool how it is described.

One thing I've seen in several reviews is the complaint on the similarities of this book vs. the "Fever" series by Moning. I've read the first book in the Fever series and was quite let down. The idea was really cool (and very similar to this- true) but that one just went over the edge with the cringe worthy sexual content (death by sex... really guys?) and a heroine that was annoying. Sorry if you like the series- I'm not judging... but this was everything I wanted from the "Fever" series and didn't get. I've been searching for similar books since I read that one - looking for the whole Seelie/Unseelie court jazz.. and FINALLY found this one.

Holy crap... Cliffhanger alert. Seriously, have the next book ready. Aaaand I'd just like to add that I've already started the first few pages of the next and I'm pretty estatic at the direction soooo YAY.

All in all, I'd definitely recommend checking out this book. I think it deserves much more recognition and hype.

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Profile Image for Nasom.
195 reviews141 followers
August 2, 2018
Full review

Had to stop reading the second book so I can write a review for this before I mix the two up lol

What I liked
- I found the storyline unique. I have read alot of fae related book. I have even read fae + technology related books but nothing like ‘the falconer’ (someone whose destiny is to hunt and kill fae that threatens the human race). I loved all the other supernatural elements too like the different types of fae and a seer (apart from seeing visions, they are the only ones that can naturally see the fae)

- The characters. I liked everyone in this book which usually doesn’t happen. From Aileana, the falconer, to Kiaran the deadly fae, to the seer and my favourite ‘person’, the pixie (why can’t I remember his name????) I love that he loves to sew and takes honey as payment. He’s just too cute 😭

- Although this is steampunk (a word I just learned of), the tech talk was not boring which was nice! Let me not lie, I kinda zoned off sometimes when Aileana was describing the mechanics of her tech but it did not happen enough times for it to bother me.

- I loved the relationships in this, which were mostly platonic! I loved Aileana + Pixie, Aileana + the seer and Aileana + Kiaran. I love when the MC in a book actually interacts with different people instead of just the potential love interest. It makes them more interesting.

- Grief was a theme in this. Aileana watched her mother get killed by a fae and that is what made her the way she was. Aileana actually never grieved her mother but instead was in what I would call a state of denial. All she thought of was revenge and it showed that her lack of grief was actually a weakness. Although thankfully I don’t relate, I can see why one would be like her when they watch someone they love get killed. I hope she learns to heal in the next books

Overall, this was a great book and I still have a lot of questions that I hope get answered in future books.

I literally have no idea what "Steampunk" is so here is hoping to be educated lol (if I actually notice a difference)
757 reviews2,349 followers
May 9, 2017
*Edit: 5/9/17
Screw it, I'm bumping it up to 4.5 stars.
3.5 stars!

This books was a lot of fun. I doubt it's anything new, but it was fun and I enjoyed reading this so much. When I saw the words "murder" and "covered in blood" from the first page, I knew I was going to love this. I binge read this even though it was frigging 12 p.m and I had to sleep. But forget sleep when you have this book. This book isn't the best thing in the world and I had a lot of problems with it, but it's still a good read.

Aileana Kameron aka Kam was covered in her mother's blood the night her mother was murdered. Rumors are spread saying that Kam was the one who murdered her mother and because of that she has a tough relationship with her father and pretty much everyone else. What everyone doesn't know is that it was a faery that murdered Kam's mother and now Kam, also a gifted Falconer (peeps who have the gift to kill faeries) hunts and kills faeries who murder innocent humans. She's also out for revenge to hunt down and kill the faerie who killed her mom.

→My biggest problem with this book is the lack of world building. There is not much information about the faeries and pixies. Terms like sithichean, seilgflur, daoinesith, and many more words are just thrown in the story and not explained. I think these were some of the faerie breeds, but they aren't described and explained and I was left clueless most of the time about the story and world building. There's also no explaining where the faerie's came from, how the breed of Falconer's was born and much more spoiler-y information.

→The romance: This is a spoiler about the romance.
At first, I though the romance was going to be a love triangle between Gavin and Kiaran. Gavin is a Seer (another term that isn't really explained well) and Kiaran is some breed of faerie or something that trains Kam to fight the evil faeries. Gavin was Kam's childhood lover and was away for 2 years, but then returns and is forced to marry Kam when her reputation is put in danger. I actually liked Gavin, but loved Kiaran more and imagine my screaming when Kam and Kiaran end up together AND KISS AT THE END AHHH.

→Also, that ending was very abrupt and left loose. I feel like the author just quickly crammed that in. It wasn't a well done ending and it happened so out of nowhere and quickly that I was left confused and had to reread like 3 times to understand what was going on.

◇Kam is a likeable MC and I enjoyed her character, though she wasn't really developed and I would have liked a little more character development. The characters are sort of boring and bland except for Kiaran. I love him so :))

*Just something I have to say about the steampunk part of this book. Please correct me if I'm wrong though!

➖I know this is steampunk/historical and it's a time period where they are discovering technology and blah blah blah, but did anyone notice the part about the earplugs towards the end? When SPOILER, Kam gave Kiaran earplugs, but there is no mentioning of how they were invented and I don't remeber reading about cellphones or any other electronic device that uses earplugs. It was so thrown out of nowhere and I forgot to mention it in my review before. Where did those earplugs come from❓❓❓❓ Did I miss something???

Overall, it was a fast paced, fun, and interesting read and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.

I received an arc in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.
Profile Image for Maya ︎☁︎︎.
183 reviews148 followers
April 13, 2021
“Aoram dhuit,” he breathes. “I will worship thee.”
I was only a few pages into this book when I knew it was going to become a part of me. The Falconer was one of those stories you pick up on a whim one day that ends up defining you. These books aren’t always the ones with the most outstanding prose, characters, or themes, but they’re the ones that leave you desperate and aching for something you can’t name. They strip something you always thought was a vital part of your genetic makeup, and they become a fundamental part of a new version of yourself. I imagine that the next person who picks this book up will forget about it in a few days, but I left pieces of myself in between those pages, and I think these words are going to remain with me for years to come. The friendships and the romance and the raw grief in this book spoke to my soul in ways I can’t stop failing to put into words. It made my soul ache, my blood pump, and my heart soar. This was a glorious beginning to what I assume is a trilogy that’s going to help define this decade in my eyes.
The Falconer opens in Edinburgh in the late-19th century where our main character, Lady Aileana Kameron, is leading a double life: the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas by day, and a huntress who chases down and slaughters fae who prey on innocent lives at night. Aileana is a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing fae, and she is the last hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. She’s been aided for the past year by her mysterious mentor, Kiaran, whose promise to help her destroy the faery who killed her mother drives Aileana’s every choice. Together, the two of them are going to have to work together to prevent the end of civilisation – but they’ll have to stop trying to kill each other first.

Elizabeth May has such a way with words, and she has woven a gorgeous tale full of adventure, magic, and romance. For a few hours, I experienced myself hunting fae amidst the streets of Victorian, steampunk Edinburgh, and I have never wanted to visit a city more than I did this one. I was constantly entranced whenever some new, unexpected aspect of this strange yet whole familiar world was unveiled, and I truly believe its dark fantasy at its best. I cannot wait to see what else May has in store for us in this trilogy!

The myths that are central to this story only added to the heady, otherworldly atmosphere contained in this glorious tale, and I have to take a moment to praise Elizabeth May for managing to place her own, unique spin on these legends while still making me feel like I’d just peeled open the pages of an ancient, leather-bound tome on folklore that’s been passed down through a family for generations.

The faeries in this world are immortal, deadly creatures whose descriptions made my blood run cold. I never once got the feeling that these monstrous beings would drop to their knees and declare me their mate. The first faery we meet, a Revenant, both bewitched and terrified me, and the imagery of cloying, decaying matter and a rancid, earthy scent employed by May only heightened the intensity of our first battle with Aileana. The faeries she fights throughout the Falconer are the kind the Celtic used to warn their children about under the cover of darkness– they will smile and charm and preen at you until you are close enough for them to tear out your throat with their teeth and claws. They were definitely one of my favourite parts of this story, and I’m not ashamed to say I had to keep the closet door shut for a little while after I finished reading this book.

“Sometimes the memories we cling hardest to are the ones that hurt us the most.”
The characters in this story are at the heart of my devotion, and they feel like flesh-and-blood people, not writing on a page. I can’t begin to describe how much they mean to me, especially Aileana. After she witnesses the gruesome murder of her mother at the hands of a faery, she no longer lives for tea parties or assemblies or polite conversations accompanied by fake smiles, but instead for the chase, and for the kill. Aileana is such a wonderful character – complex and rife with rage and despair. I enjoyed the chapters where she began to grow into someone who is assertive and confident in her choices and abilities, and I was cheering her along all the way. She’s slowly inched her way up my list of favourite heroines, and I am so grateful to have her on my shelf whenever I need her.

Kiaran Mackay holds such a special place in my heart, and I don’t think I’m ever going to find another love interest who can compare to my beloved faery warrior. Because he’s someone who doesn’t offer trust and affection easily to other people, Kiaran feels like an enigma when we first meet him. However, as he and Aileana are forced closer together, we start to see a more vulnerable, fractured side of him that he’s struggling to keep contained. He can’t help how much he cares about Aileana, but he’s afraid he’ll lose her like he lost his first love, and he doesn’t want to become trapped by his grief for a second time. The angst and yearning between these two is exquisite, and I haven’t been this desperate for two characters to end up together in a long time. When I think of The Falconer, I think of the moments of bickering, sincerity, and gentleness between these two, and I have a feeling this will quickly become one of my favourite slow-burn romances.

“His lips curved into a smile that promised so many things I’d rather not contemplate.”
I have to take a moment to talk about the final chapter and how even thinking about it right now makes my heart clench and my eyes water. I found myself frantically scrambling over the last few pages, convinced that no author would be cruel enough to leave her readers on such an agonising, shocking ending. But, oh boy, let me tell you – I could not have been more wrong. I’m in agony, and the fact that I don’t have the sequel in my hands right now physically pains me. I can’t wait a week for it to arrive! I think I might have to use this time to re-read the kinder parts of this book because I’m pretty sure the only cure for my broken heart is a little more of the brooding, snarling Kiaran and his secret heart of gold. If you want to save yourself a lot of pain, make sure you have The Vanishing Throne on hand when you finish this one. You’re going to need it.

Overall, this is a splendidly written and mesmerising adventure that’ll keep you entertained and enthralled until the very last page. The Falconer is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I think that once the dust has settled and I’ve written the final few words of this review, I might decide that it’s one of my favourite books of all time. I am so glad that I couldn’t sleep one night and I decided to pick up this underappreciated, hidden gem because I’ve found a book that will remain a part of me for the rest of my life. This story has left me breathless, and I hope it’ll do the same to you.
“I'm like him. I'm a monster, too.”
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
November 21, 2016
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

There is no easy way to say this, but this was actually painful to force myself to finish.

Khanh said it perfectly with “Faefever lite ” in her review, because that is exactly what this is. Like, to the point where I'm honestly surprised there is no legal issues with Karen Marie Moning.

Please, if you have already read The Fever Series and enjoyed it, steer clear of this book because it will only infuriate you. If you have not read The Fever Series and want to read about evil Seelie and Unseelie fae trying to take over the world, while a huge unnecessary love triangle unfolds, please just skip this series and just read The Fever Series because it's a million times better than this sad attempt.

I mean, it is trying to be a steampunk/historical version of The Fever Series, and that's sort of different, right? I mean, the book is still being published, so I guess nothing was violated.

Also, again, very reminiscent of Jericho Barrons, one of the love interests does some questionable, problematic shit that is never okay to do. I get it, really I do, he's the angsty bad boy that doesn't want to fall in love, because he's been hurt so many times before, but none of that shit gives him a reason to treat the girl horribly. I've read this shit a million times, and it is never okay. I'm just sick of carbon, problematic, copies.

I know I sound harsh, and I'm sorry, but the only reason I even requested this ARC was because it was being marketed as a feminist read. With the results of this election, a lot of people were recommending it as a good feminist escapism book, and honestly I think they had to be reading something completely different than what I just forced myself to finish.

Yeah, Aileana, the main protagonist, is an eighteen year old girl that is not happy having her life dictated by her father, and she voices her feelings to a couple of her friends, but that hardly deems this book feministic in my eyes. I mean, she looks more like a brooding teenager, who always knows best, more than anything else.

But of course, she is the only special snowflake that can save the world. I mean, it's not like she would completely fuck it up for a boy, right? I sure do love reading almost 400 pages of an attempted plot, to just have it end on a cliff-hanger. Literally, nothing is solved at the end of this book. Nothing.

This book is the epitome of tropes done badly, and I honestly don't want to waste anymore time even writing this review. I'm sorry, and I hope if you decide to pick this book up that you can find far more enjoyment with it than I did.

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Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,009 followers
February 7, 2017
"For this instant, I am whole again."

This book was a surprise. You should know that generally, steampunk and I don't get along well. I had two horrible experiences with The Illumination Paradox and The Iron Fey series and as a consequence I came to think of the steampunk genre as a cheap one (to those of you you are now screaming Heresy!, I apologize. It's just that the connection is kind of automatic in my mind now. You think I don't regret it?). Of course I've read also pretty good things like The Infernal Devices, and I just discovered the fabulous The Lunar Chronicles is considered steampunk too (though in my opinion it has nothing, or very very little, that can be called such; to me, it's sci-fi) but as I said, my subconscious has made up its mind. (Writing this sentence gave me an headache.)
So, anyway, imagine my delight when I found out that not only was The Falconer readable, it was also entertaining, provided with a compelling cast of characters, and generally good. Let's rejoice!

The plot is very simple and unpretentious, and so were the world building and the characters, though for all these things I anticipate (and strongly hoe in) a general expansion and deepening. I appreciated everything, loved nothing. Nor hated, by the by. Which cannot be a bad thing.

•I've been told more than once that book two is way -way- better than this one, and since my feeling is that this book is nothing but full of potential, I'm absolutely prone to believe it. I want more info of Faery history, on the Falconers, on everything. Also, some more chemistry between Aileana and would be appreciated too -they are okay but not dazzlingly so, and with a little extra effort they can easily be. I am more than ready for this ship to sail.

➽ Long story short, The Falconer is a book without infamy and without praise, though I more than gladly concede a bit of the latter. I want The Fallen Kingdom so bad I'll probably break my strictly non-binding vow and by more books soon. (Thank you universe for parents.) I'll keep you informed.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,582 followers
July 21, 2017
4.25 stars

"None of them—including Catherine—realizes that the rumor isn't inaccurate, only understated. I've committed murder exactly one hundred and fifty-eight times in twelve months. My tally now grows almost every night."

Dark heroine, dark heroine, DARK HEROINE.

I mentioned I've been really into dastardly characters these days and The Falconer was perfect. It's a story of revenge, of breaking free of societal constraints and embracing inner strength.

The atmospheric setting of Victorian London hits you like a wrecking ball. I study a a lot of Victorian literature in school and to read it during my downtime was a struggle at first, but I really got into it. The steampunk aspect was a nice touch and I can fully imagine Victorians in an alternative universe inventing antique flying contraptions and bombs constructed of cogs and oil.

Aileana's growing awareness of the unequal position of her gender is fabulous.

"In what way could keeping me in ignorance be construed as protection?" I straighten a piece of wire to add to the fire-starter. "God spare me from such protection, especially when it involves safeguarding my poor feminine sensibilities from life-saving information."

I adored the hell out of her. She's smart and resourceful and isn't above using what's at hand to complete her task.

"My legs pump harder and I shove Kiaran in front of me. I throw myself at him, rolling us so his indestructible body protects me from the direct blast."

She can get pretty angsty, but it's to be expected. She watch her mom die, man. I never did get the fandom's complaints over Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. What do you expect, for them to clap their hands and knit a commemorative tapestry?

About the similarities to the the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, I can see them and acknowledge them, but it doesn't bother me at all.

Be aware that I'm not the biggest fan of Mac and Barrons. I get why passionate fans would be pissed. For me, it's more good-concept-poor-execution. Barrons is a secretive, violent ass, the plot dragged, and Mac's overuse of the term "southern belle" got on my nerves. It's not her overt femininity that annoys me (and I'd gladly throat-punch anyone who turns their nose up at heroines who like pink and clothes); it's everything else.

The Falconer took a similar concept and spun it into something I loved. We get enough references to Aileana's past life to piece together the transition from "Angel of the House" to steel-hearted killer.

There's no love triangle either. It could've happened. It was a thread from happening. But Elizabeth May decided to give the standard formula a manicured middle finger and transform it into a platonic relationship.

Gavin is such a sweetheart. He's this ordinary guy who got sucked into the fey-killing business and tries to help the best he can, even though he doesn't want to, because that's what decent folk do. I almost want there to be a love triangle if it wouldn't ruin his and Aileana's hilarious conversations.

“For heaven’s sake,” I say, “will you please sip the tea so I don’t have to pour you another cup every five minutes?”

“We’re facing an apocalypse,” he replies. “There is not enough tea in the world to calm me.”


My review of The Vanishing Throne
My review of The Fallen Kingdom
Profile Image for Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers).
256 reviews507 followers
February 13, 2015










~~~~~~EDIT REVIEW~~~~~~

5 Stars

THE FALCONER was PHENOMENAL!!! From it's Scotland lure, to it's vengeance and murder, to it's THRILLING, action-packed adventure, and heart-pounding, slow burning romance, that sent heat rising, and toes curling, THE FALCONER was exceptional, and did NOT disappoint!!!

THE FALCONER is indescribably AWESOME!!! I can pretty much say that I loved just about everything about this book. I listened to most of it on audio, but also read some from the physical book. But honestly, I think I preferred listening to it rather then reading it. The narration was flawless, and one of the best I've come across in a long time.

The characters were developed and had all the character traits I love. Aileana was broken and determined, fierce and deadly, but still capable of love and compassion. She was able to play her part to the T: Lady by day, elegant and noble, hunter my night, killer and deadly. And she was soooo good at it. Even though they both started to bleed into each other by the end of the book, she still played her part regardless of opinions. She was the perfect character for this book. I loved Aileana and can't wait to see how much more deadly and dangerous she becomes to her enemies in book two.

And Aileana's mentor, and close but distant friend, Kiaran McKay was the perfect example of AWESOME!!! Ruthless and cunning, dark and dangerous, deadly, but loyal to his cause, and determined to right his many wrongs. He was the perfect mentor for Aileana—smart, skilled, strong, powerful, deadly, and pushed her to the breaking to teach her her weaknesses. And he was so dam sexy at doing it!!!

The world-building was unique and VERY well done. I loved the historical and Scotland background, intertwined with dark and dangerous faery's tearing the city apart. I thought the elegant lady by day and huntress killer by night was brilliant, and tied into the rest of the plot with ease and grace. It was just phenomenal!!! I loved the way it was done, written and narrated!! Yup, it's safe to say I pretty much loved everything about this novel and characters!!!


Heiress... Debutant... Murderer...

Aileana Kameron is a Lady by day, and a killer by night... She's been that way since last year, when her mother was murdered, torn to shreds and had her heart ripped from her chest right in front of her. But the person, or should I say thing, that killed her mother wasn't even human at all. She ordinarily wouldn't be able to see them, the predators preying on the weak, but she was wearing the thistle—A plant that gives humans the abilities to see their predators coming. And the predator that she seen that unforgettable night, was more terrifying and deadly, then anything she's ever laid her eyes on. But that was just the beginning for Aileana, aka Kam...

They hunt weak humans, they devour their energy and kill them after their sucked dry. They are in all forms and shape, they are strong and mighty, they are imprisoned under the city, and they are breaking free little by little.They will either end the human race, or imprison them all. They are dangerous and deadly, and have many different strengths, and they are preparing to rise up and rule again, and if not stopped, they will defeat and conquer, and all will be lost to the human race. They are called Faerys, and they are coming....

Only one can save the human race from death and imprisonment, and she is the last of her kind, the last remaining Falconer with the power to stop them. But she is only one against many, she is just learning and acquainting herself with her capabilities, she has yet to come into the ultimate power of a Falconer, but she will give her life to save them all. She is a hunter, the hunted, a predator, the prey, a killer, the rescuer, unstoppable, the defeat-able, she is lady Aileana, last Falconer and Scotland's only hope, and she will rise up and fight for them all...

Dark, dangerous and deadly—all my favorite qualities in a book, and THE FALCONER had them all and MORE!!!! The dark essence and deadly demeanor that THE FALCONER portrays is precise and flawless. I can not even come close in expressing the full depth of my love for this book. And that ending was strait TORTURE!!! It should really be freaking illegal to end a book like that, SERIOUSLY!!!! ;)

Overall, THE FALCONER is one of the best fantasies I've read this year, and it will definitely be going on my favorites shelf where it will stay. I loved everything about this world; from the elegant, yet rough writing, to the superb acting of the narration, it was all just flawless and addicting, and totally time worthy. I would HIGHLY recommend this novel/series to ALL fantasy and paranormal fans out there!!! Their really is NO WAY it could possibly disappoint!!!


READ. . . IT. . . NOW. . .

Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
675 reviews1,506 followers
September 17, 2020
This book reminds me a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And by that I mean nothing with the story and everything to do with who 18 year old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas truly is: A Falconer.

Falconer: a female warrior born with gifts to hunt/kill fae.
..or really a Vampire Slayer minus the vampire and plus the fae.

So we have steampunk,

based in Scotland.

So just add a red-headed warrior-heroine,

sprinkle in a pixie,

and a lot of faes.

And you have this book.

I think the narrator, Susan Duerden (★ ★ ★ ★ ★) made me love this book even more because she has a Scottish Accent and it just drew the whole setting into a complete circle. She was easy to understand and it was just a glorious listen.

So Aileana leads a double life. She is the proper daughter and lady she is suppose to be during the day, and a fae hunter by night. She goes against everything that she is suppose to be purely because she wants revenge. A fae murdered her mother right in front of her. She wants to kill her in the least, probably torture to the greatest.

"Crimson suits you best."

She is being trained by the exactly thing she hunts, a fae named Kiaran, in how to survive, and she has a little pixie named Derrick who helps mend her clothes for a cost (side note: Derrick was my favorite part of this whole book. He's hilarious and I need a pixie in my closet).

There is romance in this book, though it isn't the main focus. I will say that there is another Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference towards the romance side, you know the whole "forbidden" and "I hunt your kind, you kill my kind" type of deal.

I loved the fact that we didn't start out with her being oblivious to the world and not knowing what she is doing and all of sudden she is so great and wonderful and spectacular at this random thing that dropped in her lap and blah blah blah blah. Insta-stars are so annoying.

She has been doing this for a while and she knows what she is doing and she trained her butt off to be as good as she is.

It's a great read for anyone who loves things about Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court things. I can tell we are going to expand on that in the next books. Basically if you love fantasy, steampunk and just kind of BA things, this book is up your alley and you should read it so we can discuss it!

Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews1,011 followers
January 30, 2016

My crusade "give a book second chance" continues, and after Red Queen I am back to faeries. The first time I read The Falconer I couldn't move past 15% of the story, because steam-punk part kept driving me nuts. I think it's clinical. Me and this genre exist in different universes and we can't find a way to tolerate each other. This time, I decided to clench my teeth and fight through my dislike. I read negative and positive reviews on this book and after finally reading the named book, I can say that the positive side wins, for me. I really am not in the mood to write a big review (reviewer's slump?), so if you want a more thorough opinion, I advice you to read my friend Katerina's review.

The Falconer is not an original story, moreover, I know that it resembles Darkfever a lot. I haven't read that popular series yet, but supposedly Elizabeth May did and is a fan of the series, then she decided to write some kind of a fan fiction. I must add that it was a good idea in this case, because The Falconer is a rich entertaining story. I don't know how I will feel after reading the original, but so far I am mostly satisfied with everything.

My only major problem was a relationship between our MCs: Aileana Kameron & Kiaran MacKay. I think their romance was rushed and appeared out of nowhere after the 60% of the book. First they just trained together and had strictly business relationship. Kiaran was cold and asshole-ish and he NEVER showed any interest in Aikeana except for her fighting skills. Aileana saw his unearthly beauty and found him alluring, but she understood it all had to do with his Fae powers. No romantic thoughts there. But then the switch clicked and Aileana started to swoon over Kiaran, thinking how she could save him and all. And Kiaran out of thin air became goody two shoes. Seriously, guys, THAT was strange. I didn't have time to comprehend their romance or to be invested in it. Maybe it's just me and my perception.

One of the best things about this book is, strangely, not the MCs but the secondary ones. We have a very funny pixie called Derrik. He likes to talk a lot and is easily drunk on honey, so you better hide it if you have any:

At that precise moment, Derrick barrels through the ballroom doors, bright as ever. He hovers above my shoulder and lands gracefully on my bare skin.
His wings graze my neck and he hiccups once. ‘Glorious lady.’ He stretches across my collarbone. ‘I have consumed –’ hiccup ‘– wondrous, splendid, beautiful honey. And it was –’ hiccup ‘– magnificent.’

And then there's Gavin. He is supposedly a second love interest, but worry not - no real triangle there. But Gavin was a very interesting character and I wish he had a bigger place in the story.

This book has a really likable male characters whether they fae or human. One particular scene made me laugh for a few minutes non-stop:

‘For once, I agree with the Seer,’ Derrick says. ‘Keep your distance, or I will bite you.’
Kiaran picks up my drawing. ‘Try it and I’ll pluck your wings off and feed them to you.’
Derrick hisses. Gavin just looks interested, as if wondering whether such a thing might be possible.

Ahaha, I see these three will became great friends in the future.

Anyway, in the case of this book, I don't really have an opinion to read or not to read. You can give this book a try and see how it goes. At least, some moments for sure will brighten your day.

Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews842 followers
January 5, 2021
7 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog Living A Thousand Lives (please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Skillet – Not Gonna Die
Stan Walker – Unbroken
Zella Day – Sacrifice

Genre: historical-fantasy, steampunk, YA
Stuff: Fae, balls, ladies, gentlemen, 19 century
Fail: kinda depthless
WOW: funny-moments, male-leads
POV: 1st-person, female
Setting: Scotland (Edinburgh)
Love-Geometry: light

"Time won't fix me."

My first steampunk. Did I like it? Definitely.

Though the plot was a bit average: special girl saves the world, she’s training to kill evil creatures while being torturing by the memory of her mother’s murder and falling for her enemy. BUT! The execution is good. Also, it was a very fast read.

Seeing as I’m new to the steampunk genre, let me admire the mix of old times, beautiful gowns, distinguished manners, and modern technologies. Metal spiders stitch your wounds, machines make your tea, a young lady creates an air vehicle… Too much? Not at all. All this stuff really suits the plot. I will continue my relationship with steampunk for sure.

People say our MC Aileana is a murderer. Whom did she kill? Her mother. She was found next to her body two years ago, covered with blood. Back then Aileana said nothing and held her tears. That night in her hair was seilgflùr (a plant that helps mortals to see fairies). That’s why Aileana knows who’s a real killer and she’s going to get her revenge.

For two years theMC has been crushing her enemy’s kin: to the left, to the right, through the length and breadth. How does she manage to do such a thing? Kiaran. He’s one of the highest Fae and he'd saved Aileana’s life a couple of years ago. After that, he became her hunter-partner (she doesn’t know his reasons) and now he's helping her to kill his own kind. I’m sure you have already guessed that this Fae-man is freaking awesome? Amethyst eyes, pitch-black hair, Apollo-like body, superpower within… Of course, I like Kiaran.

With the passing of time, Aileana is getting used to her destiny and the danger she and the world are in. On days she leads her previous life with balls and tea-parties and other lady-like things, at nights she becomes a killer. It's hard to balance between two lives, but what choice does MC have?

Aileana has a pixie Derrick, who lives in her wardrobe. This tiny elf-like creature adores eating (or drinking?) honey and do some sewing. He's adorable, funny and cute and actually saved The Falconer to me. At the start of reading I always gave a story 10 stars and then, page after page, they goes out (if there are reasons for them to do so). When The Falconer was left with 6 stars only, I’ve read this:
“When Dante described the circles of Hell, he clearly forgot the one where a hungry pixie sits on one's shoulder for eternity.”


‘Daaaaaancing,’ Derrick cries. ‘I love daaaancing! Tell him to toss you over his head!’

And this:
"'Derrick giggles. ‘Whirling! I love to whirl. Ask him to whirl faster! I see lights. Do you see the lights? Aileana? Do you see the lights’"

And decided this book will end up with 7 starts and no less.

Oh, I almost forgot about Gavin, the brother of Aileana’s bestfriend. She had a crush on him when she was younger but now she’s all about Kiaran. So believe me, there is no love-triangle (so faaar). Well, Gavin is a Seer; he's aware of fairies without any plants, that’s why his human energy is really tasty for these magical creatures. That's why we can't let him be, he's in need of protection and can be useful. Also, that's not so bad to have him around. He's handsome, smart has manners, and likes whisky (British men and tea? Nah, old-news).

What to expect? A few chases, fights, and kinds of Fae; a couple of balls and awesome machines, a bunch of funny banters, one really hot kiss, a couple of swoon moments, and one epic-battle next to the end.

The final… This part of the book assured me that I really have to give The Falconer 7 stars. The ending was promising and intriguing. I can smell the prequel would be better and can’t wait to have it for myself.

The Falconer (Охотницы):
The Falconer (Охотницы) #1/3
The Vanishing Throne (Исчезающий трон) #2/3
The Fallen Kingdom (Павшее королевство) #3/3
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,773 reviews572 followers
February 6, 2017
There’s a fresh voice in the YA fantasy world and Elizabeth May isn’t afraid to mix it up, including, old Scottish lore, some steampunk, a touch of grit and light romance and one heck of a heroine, a young lady far too independent for the mid-nineteenth century aristocracy. THE FALCONER is a highly intriguing tale filled with spirit and delightful twists!

While her father plans her betrothal, Aileana has plans of her own, plans of revenge against the faery that killed her mother right before her eyes and she is the only one that knows of their existence. A square peg being forced into the round hole of obedience and subservience, Aileana has a secret or two she keeps close to the vest. She has also discovered she is the last of her line, a Falconer, a female warrior born with the gift for hunting and killing the fae. Without her, humanity faces total inhalation as the hands of the fae.

Her mentor of sorts is one of fae, the exiled Kiaran, a moody and terse young man who knows no boundaries, is merciless on Aileana and has her heart in a complete uproar. Since when did Aileana get all soft over a male?

Add to the mix, the adorable little pixie, Derrick and a best friend who covers for her eccentric behavior while being clueless as to why, some brilliant steampunk creations made by Aileana, herself and one can hardly avoid being drawn into this fascinating tale. Has Aileana’s heart gone cold? Her quest for revenge is brittle and icy, her mission is clear, but life is never easy and this young woman’s life is split in two, the one she needs to live and the one the world expects her to love. Rather like David and Goliath, Aileana will have to stand tall against evil and not get caught by humanity.

A perfect read for young adults, there is attitude, the quest for independence and being trapped in a world filled with “rules” she can only try to abide by. From the steampunk to the fae, this feisty heroine is a fresh change from angst-filled young adult fantasies in every way!

I received this copy from Chronicle Books in exchange for my honest review.

Series: The Falconer - Book 1
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC (May 6, 2014)
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy | Steampunk
Print Length: 323 pages
Available from: AmazonBarnes & Noble
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Ananya .
361 reviews63 followers
June 23, 2018
DaRn iT! Is this how this ended? All I can think about now is how to grab the next book. I might die of the suspense..... of thinking what happens next?
This book certainly surprised me. A kick-ass protagonist? Yes! A story that is breathtaking? well, yes to that too. Magic and Scottish people? Oh, hell yes. And soo much more. I never imagined it to be this good. It was almost perfect.

The Falconer is the story of Aileana Kameron, a young aristocratic woman in 1844 Scotland. She lives the idle life of privilege, with the same dreams of marriage and family as any other young woman in her society. That is until she finds her mother brutally murdered at the hands of a faery. In the year following her mother’s death, Aileana has only one goal: to kill the faery that murdered her mother. She spends that year training and killing fae with Kiaran McKay, a faery with a mysterious past and a mission of his own. As she draws closer to her goal, Aileana faces a battle with some of the most monstrous faeries the world has seen. And it is a battle she may not win......Her thirst for revenge wars with her legacy. She is the last hope in saving humanity from extinction by the faery.

I very much liked the fantasy element of the book. Fae folk. Not something new... Seelie and Unseelie, Fae-human war etc. Yet I enjoyed it immensely. It became more enticing and compelling with each turn of pages. The writing is very good, the scenes are presented well. Especially I love the way she captured Aileana's burning desire for vengeance. While reading I could feel the anger, the frustration, the helplessness. You can’t help but feel Aileana’s pain or her overwhelming grief.
Anyway, the character and their relationship building were quite strong. I liked each of them, fulfilling their parts. (But my personal favorite is Derrick.)
Captivating storyline. Thrill. And action! loads of it. Blissfully-content, me. And yes, romance does contribute towards this amazing story, even if it was mostly in the latter part of the book. Less, but satisfying. Also, humor is not lost in this. The banter among the characters. Oh. The. Banter. It was very much entertaining.
The only thing that is making me nudging my mind, in a good-bad way, is the ending. Yup. It has to end on a cliffhanger! And not just any cliffhangers, but The Cliffhanger! Shoot me.
However, I loved it. It is surely enjoyable and entertaining. Recommended to everyone.
Profile Image for Tricia Levenseller.
Author 16 books13.3k followers
May 2, 2019
Just finished reading this one for the second time. I absolutely loved it. It’s the best steampunk I’ve ever read and just so witty! Absolutely love the dialogue and the characters.
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