Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

THE FALCONER, Elizabeth May, Gollancz, £9.79, ISBN: 9780575130401, reviewed by Jim Brock.

This is the British edition of Elizabeth May’s inaugural novel featuring Lady Aileana Kameron, an 18 year old aristocrat in a 19th century Edinburg, Scotland that is somewhat different from the one in our history. Aileana’s Edinburg is one of steam powered machines and weapons and a city under assault from assorted types of faeries.

One year before, Aileana’s mother was assassinated by a murderous faery. In the interim Aileana has suffered the suspicions of her fellow aristocrats, the cold indifference of her father, and now the pressures and restrictions of her ladylike position. During that year, she has allied and trained with a mentor named Kiaran MacKay, a faery who is at war with his own kind, and is a powerful force both in killing faeries and enabling Aileana to extract some vengeance for her mother.

After a year of kills, Aileana finds that there is more at stake than her personal vendetta. A golden seal that has kept thousands of faeries trapped beneath the city for centuries is weakening and, unless reinforced, will soon fail and allow then to escape to bring death and destruction to Edinburgh.

It turns out that Aileana is also the last remaining Falconer, humans with special powers and abilities in dealing with faeries. The term comes from their use of falcons as their flying spies back in the days before the faeries were trapped and under seal. Now Aileana finds her true nature, that her destiny is more than just vengeance, and what she must do to restore the seal.

I totally loved this book, the setting, the characters (especially Aileana’s pixie friend, Derrick) and the nature of her battle. She is an inventive and attractive heroine and the action is fast. Her world is so unique that it was hard for me to visualize and the book seemed to end a bit abruptly at the height of battle.

The good news is that an American edition of THE FALCONER is due soon and there should follow at least two more books in the series; the sooner the better.

From her website, Elizabeth may is obviously brilliant, exotically beautiful, and a new name on for my must watch-for list.

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