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The Falconer by Elizabeth May
Aileana Kameron was just an ordinary girl until the night when she, clad in a white dress and hair woven with strange flowers, comes across the murder of her mother. Aileana watches as a monstrous but beautiful breed of faerie rips her mother’s heart from her chest. That was the first time Aileana saw a faerie. The very next night Aileana goes out with false beliefs about how to kill a faerie, and almost loses her own life. She would’ve if she hadn’t been saved by another faery.
Now a year has passed and Aileana and her faery friend go out almost every night, risking their lives to save the lives of countless others. They’re faery hunters. But little did Aileana know, she’s a certain type of hunter, and one that all the fae want dead.
Upon one of their hunting adventures, Aileana learns of a massive secret. A secret that could destroy her city. And hurt everyone she loves. With the clock ticking, and all of the odds stacked against her, Aileana must find a way to save everyone from the very faeries who want her dead.
The Falconer by Elizabeth May takes a different approach to telling the whimsical stories of the faeries. And, instead of casting light on their redeeming qualities, The Falconer focuses mainly on the catastrophic evil that can unfold with faeries at the helm of the ship. In an exciting, heart-wrenching, and epic first installment, main character Aileana risks everything to save those she loves.
Faery stories are so popular nowadays. Will readers enjoy The Falconer and be surprised by it? Or is it just like every other faery story recently?
This is a magnificent faery story. The faeries in The Falconer are vastly different from those of Sarah J. Maas’ world, yet just as interesting, complex, and entrancing. The Falconer’s fae do resemble that of Holly Black, meaning they pull a lot from actual folklore, but they’re still different enough to surprise readers!
In fact, while both Holly Black and Elizabeth May based their faeries as much off of folklore as they could to create an accurate interpretation of the creatures, I still didn’t find many similarities between the two. I didn’t ever catch myself saying, “Hm, May’s fae are really similar to Black’s fae”. Never even thought it!
In The Falconer, readers get to know a couple faeries quite well. And what I like so much about The Falconer, is that it shows you the worst of the fae straight-out. They are the enemies, the monsters, the bad-guys. And The Falconer doesn’t try to convince you otherwise. I feel like that alone is a major difference between many recent fantasy faery stories.
I was also in love with how Elizabeth May wrote the two faeries we get to see a lot of. They were complex and selfish like most faeries are, yet sympathetic to the readers. Like, even though we readers know they’re selfish, uncaring, and unfeeling, we still find ourselves wanting to root for these faeries.
Will The Falconer make readers feel anything while reading it?
Um, yes. One hundred percent yes. The Falconer will make readers an emotional train wreck. I’m still not sure how Elizabeth May did it but one minute you’ll be laughing and then the next minute you’ll be crying. That’s how into this book I was.
The Falconer is unpredictable, awe-worthy, hilarious, and heart-wrenching all wrapped up in a couple hundred pages. I was so invested in it that I totally felt what the characters were feeling and what they were going through.
What about the characters? Are they deep, relatable, and likable?
Another yes from me. I loved the characters in this book so much. They’re some of my favorite characters ever. Some of the main characters included Aileana, Kiaran, Derrick, Gavin, and Catherine. And I loved each and every one of them. Usually, when I read a book or series I have a couple characters that I really love and then a couple that I don’t really care much about. I’m a picky reader when it comes to characters! But with The Falconer, I really liked every single character. Each and every one of them had a particular strength in their personality: humor, willpower, protectiveness, love, trust, loyalty, etc. They had everything a reader could ever want to read about in characters.
What about romance? To die for, or bland?
Romance is five stars in my opinion. Literally. I don’t think I would’ve loved it more if anything had been changed. Sure, there’s not much romance in The Falconer, but the few romantic moments that do arise are like a punch to the chest. A good one.
Does The Falconer contain great surprises, and nail-biting cliffhangers? Is it mysterious and intriguing?
Yes to all. There’s many surprises and cliffhangers that encourage you to read on to find out what the heck just happened. The Falconer is also extremely intriguing and mysterious. There are lots of secrets (common with the fae) which take time to reveal themselves. And some never do. At least not in the first book. You’re constantly wondering what will happen next, and worried that your favorite characters aren’t going to make it. With faeries as the enemy, no one is safe! That’s what’s so exciting.
What about the writing style? And the pacing of the plot? Will the two satisfy young adult fantasy readers?
Yes. I’m sure you’re getting tired of all of my answers being yes, but I can’t help it! I really really really liked this book! Loved, even. I love Elizabeth May’s writing, from the hilarious dialogue to the brilliant half lies to the intricate web of secrets and foreshadowing. I love the writing style to bits. It was simple yet complex, easy to read and understand, and it flowed well.
As for the plot, the pacing was spot on. I had no complaints. Sometimes I’m worried that the middle will be too slow, or I’m worried when the first 100 pages of a book are slow until they finally pick up. I wasn’t worried about any of this with The Falconer. It was perfect pacing from the first page all the way up until the last. There was never a dull scene!
Overall, while The Falconer is yet another young adult novel based off the intriguing, otherworldly fae, it has so much more to offer. It’s vastly different from all other faery books or series. Readers will be surprised and intrigued. They will get emotional. They will laugh, and possibly want to cry, and will root for their favorite characters for sure. I loved this book so much (which is saying something because I’m a picky reader). I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone read this book/series!
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Chat with Me: Do you enjoy reading about faeries or do you think that they should be forgotten and authors should find a different fantasy focus? What are some of your favorite faery novels/series? There are many different kinds of interpretations of faeries in YA, which series or author’s versions of faeries do you like best? Holly Black, Sarah J. Maas, Elizabeth May, etc? And as always, if you have any extra questions or rants/fanning to do over The Falconer, don’t be afraid to comment below!
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