Friday, 8 November 2013

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Gollancz
Published: Sept 26, 2013
Buy: The Book Depository

“I’ve committed murder exactly one hundred and fifty-eight times in twelve months. My tally grows almost every night.”

Stories about assassins, slayers, hunters and huntresses, ice-cold characters, vengeance, and bitter determination – they all draw me in effortlessly. (Which makes me sound like a bit of a creep. But I promise I’m not.) Couple that will an alternate historical setting, an 1800s light-steampunk(ish) Scotland, a few high society balls and a touch of propriety-be-damned, and we have something that screams I MUST BE READ.   

The Falconer – or at least, the idea of it – is exactly the sort of thing that I like. While I don’t think my giddy enthusiasm did it a bundle of favours in the end, the story as a whole is a solid one, with a mostly enjoyable plot, an inventive look into the world of Scottish faeries, or sithichean, and a perfectly engaging slow-burning romance.

“I feel the dark part inside of me stir and rise, desperate to do only three things: hunt, mutilate, kill.”

Aileana Kameron, our main character, is a debutante and the daughter of a marquess by day, and a pistol-wielding, faery-slaying fighter by night. She revels in the rush of power that comes from slaughtering the fae, but her ultimate goal is to find the baobhan sith that murdered her mother. As a result, we have a fair amount of action, with faeries, from redcaps to sluagh, routinely coming up against Aileana and her weapons. At times the combat feels somewhat repetitive, but overall, Elizabeth May writes these scenes with skill, expertly weaving the high-octane moments with the rigidity and control of aristocratic life. It’s interesting getting the contrast between the Aileana with a paper-thin reputation, the skirts and the dance cards, and the Aileana who only cares about only one thing: revenge.

“…there is a sole individual alive who truly understands me, who has seen the destructive part of me that I conceal – because he is the one who helped create it.”

Enter Kiaran MacKay. I want to call him the love interest, but really, he is more than just that. As one of the daoine sith, the most powerful breed of faery, Kiaran is guarded, icy, often blunt, but just as determined as Aileana to kill the fae. Their common goal and silent agreement to not confide in each other makes their relationship work practically, but underneath all of that is a subtle layer of emotion, one that rises an inch closer to the surface with each passing chapter. This is romance as I like it – slow, controlled, and not engulfing the main plot. There are worrying instances that almost suggest a love triangle (though not one in the conventional sense), but, thankfully, it’s evident enough after a while that it’s not going to be an issue.

What could do with some improvement, though, is placing of finer details in both the storytelling and the world-building. The steampunk elements – from mechanical stitching spiders, to automated punch dispensers and ornithopters – although mostly faint, add a touch of creativity to an otherwise empty setting. It would have been nice to see greater emphasis on the Scottish culture and backdrop. Additionally, the bestiary at the end of the novel, which features Aileana's notes on the different types of fae, only makes me wish more of it was explained or incorporated in the actual story. (I like to learn as I go along, rather than be told everything at the end - although it does make for an interesting read). Another thing that doesn’t quite make sense is Aileana’s weapon-making sessions. She manages to tinker with her creations and whip together too-convenient constructions at unrealistic speeds. However, when you see the words lightning pistol and sonic cannon, the slight lack of logic can be easily enough forgotten and forgiven.  

I also would have welcomed a greater and larger presence of secondary characters. Those that do make an appearance are likeable enough, but the majority are like bare bones in need of some meat. Derrick, however, Aileana’s little pixie friend, is brilliant. He somehow manages to be hilarious, epically annoying, and downright adorable all at the same time. (Plus he likes to get high on honey.)

The ending is somewhat head-scratchingly abrupt. Almost as if it was supposed to be a cliffhanger, but didn’t quite manage it. On the bright side, it doesn’t make me angry, and I do greatly look forward to seeing what happens next. The Falconer didn’t quite manage to blow me away, but given my insanely high expectations, it did a good enough job. I had ample amounts of fun with it and can only see Elizabeth May getting better from here.

Rating: 3.5 stars (But very nearly a 4!)

90 comments:

  1. It sounds like a pot of mixed emotions, but I'm glad that at the end, you did end up liking it! This would be the kind of review that I would have a hard time to write, but you did beautifully, Sam! The romance does sound great and I can see why there needs to be improvements in the plot overall, but I'm interested to read this now! I never would have before :)

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    1. It was definitely that, Sunny. I actually started off loving it, but realised about halfway through that I wasn't quite as impressed as I initially thought I was. But still, I liked it a lot! And thank you so much. I find writing reviews for books like this quite tricky too - mixed feelings can often lead to confusion.

      But I'm SO glad you're interested in reading this now! I hope you can pick it up one day.

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  2. I felt so giddy when I found that you posted another review on twitter this morning! Giddy is one of the best feelings ever, it keeps coming to my mind this week and I was so happy to see you wrote it in your review.

    You're writing, as always, is magnificent! I like it when authors incorporate the terms found in the glossary too, Rick Riordan always does that.

    Slow romances are splendid creations. I find myself to forget logic sometimes and like it when inventions are creative too.

    Delightful review!

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    1. Oh, Rachel, thank you! That's so nice to hear. I know I have been terrible at keeping up lately, but I look forward to hopping over to your blog soon!

      Slow romances are definitely my favourite. They always have more of an impact on me than rushed or overwhelming ones. And I guess sometimes accepting a few illogical moments isn't too much of a crime. As long as the rest makes up for it and the story is engaging despite its flaws. :)

      Thanks, Rachel!

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  3. Amazing review Sam :D I loved reading it. But ah, I'm sorry you didn't fully love this book. But glad you really enjoyed it :D You worried me a bit with the almost love triangle thing.. I'm still not sure if this is a book for me, but I might try it someday :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

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    1. Thanks, Carina! I'm not too disappointed that I didn't completely enjoy this. It was still a worthy read and I definitely had fun with it. And no - don't worry about the almost love triangle at all! I felt it was worth a mention, but honestly, it's not anything like what I know you hate. ;) I hope you do give it a try someday.

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  4. This book sounds SO interesting. I think it might be something I'd enjoy, because I'm a huge fan of slow-burn romances. And also fae in general. ;) But it seems like you made some good points about the worldbuilding details and secondary characters - those are important and always disappointing when neglected! I'm really curious about this one now!! And I don't think it comes out in the US until May... D:

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    1. Slow-burn romances are the best. It thrills me endlessly when authors manage to get it right. Faery books can be hit and miss for me, and while they're not my favourite paranormal creatures to read about, I do think Elizabeth May managed to put her own twist on things pretty well. I hope the wait for you is worth it, Nikki!

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  5. This is one of those books where I read the synopsis and started jumping around like a crazy person because doesn't it sound fantastic!? I'm not big on Fae books but throw in assassins and you've got my interest! It's a shame this one wasn't epic for you but it still sounds like a good read so it's going on my wishlist. Thanks for the brilliant review, Sam!

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    1. YES! That's pretty much the effect this book's synopsis had on me too. Fae novels can be hit and miss for me, but I loved the sound of an alternate historical setting and a tough-as-nails faery-slayer, so I really couldn't resist! I think it's definitely worth a read, even if it isn't perfect. Thanks, Jess!

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  6. I am glad that you liked this even if half way through you decided you didn't love it. It really does sound interesting!

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    1. Thanks, Ali! I'm not quite sure what happened halfway through to make me realise that, but I'm glad that it still managed to work for me overall. I hope you decide to give it a try one day!

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  7. This sounds really fun - I kinda like the sound of the weapons - but it seems like we now have plentiful stories based on the theme of revenge. Glad to see you had some fun reading it. Thanks, Sam!

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    1. We do. If anything, we seem to be getting more of them. While I'm hoping that it doesn't become another case of oversaturation in the market, I'm all for that trend at the moment. Thanks, Henrietta!

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  8. That's great you enjoyed this one enough. Honestly, it sounds a little too eclectic for my usual taste. I think I'd find myself getting confused. haha

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    1. That's fine! I think this is the sort of title most people could instantly make a decision about as to whether or not it would be their type of thing. The description is pretty clear and representative for a change. Thanks for stopping by to comment, though!

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  9. I've never heard of this book before, Sam, but it sounds really engrossing despite some of its flaws. I'll definitely will check it out. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

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    1. I'm glad that you're aware of it now, Rummanah! I definitely thought it was engrossing, despite its flaws. If you end up giving it a try, I hope you enjoy it!

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  10. Ahh I was hoping you would like this a bit more. Nick loved it yesterday. It sounds so exciting and promising. I think I am still going to give it a whirl if I ever get my schedule cleaned out. I know you are not a creep just because you love assassin books, hey I am a huge Stephen King fan so what does that say about me?

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    1. I remember Nick reading it! I'll have to check out her review. And I hope you can give it a chance yourself, Heidi. Although it wasn't a flawless read for me, I did enjoy it a lot and think it's definitely worth picking up when you have the time.

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  11. I totally agree with you, assassins/slayers anything kick-ass will always keep me hooked and a must read in my eyes. I've heard very mixed reviews about this book; some really good and some sound muh. If you know what I mean. But I'm really glad it was a enjoyable books but not to its potential. When I recieved my copy I was giddy to read to it...so hopefully I'll enjoy it. Brilliant review as always Sam. I've missed your reviews of late. I know I can always count on your reviews for some brilliant books and opinions. :)

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    1. There's just something quite thrilling about them, isn't there? Even though the ideas removed from fantasy are quite disturbing! I've seen a few mixed reviews too, but I think the majority of people have been enjoying this one. I can't wait to see what you think of it, Emma!

      And thank you so much. I know my reviews have been few and far between recently, but it's really nice to hear that they're appreciated. <3

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  12. Sounds like a fun and exciting read in spite of it not quite meeting your expectations. Stories with hunter, slayers and assassins always attract my attention, too, Sam! I'll have to check this out. Wonderful review! :)

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    1. Definitely, Rachel! And in that case, I think you should check this out! I can see you enjoying the romance, too. :)

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  13. I've been very intrigued about this book and I love reading your review for it! I'm very glad to hear you liked it even if it didn't blow you away! I have this one in the TBR so hopefully I'll get to it soon!
    Great review as always, Sam! Thanks a lot!

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    1. Thanks so much, Pili. I can't wait to see what you think of it! I'll be sure to keep an eye out for your thoughts.

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  14. The set-up for this book sounds really great! I'm a sucker for a good assassin/killer/hunter story, and this one would have appealed to me were it not for the fae aspect of it. Glad to hear you liked it though!

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    1. I'm glad you think so too, Alexa! The fae aspect wasn't entirely the main reason why I wanted to read this, but I do think Elizabeth May did a good enough job putting her own twist on things. Thanks!

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  15. Too bad with the fail cliffhanger! Or not. Actually, I don't know which one is worse, an abrupt ending or a cliffhanger? Oh well, glad you still liked this though, Sam. I've been eyeing this one for a while now so I'm happy to hear that you still liked this despite its shortcomings.

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    1. I don't know either! I'm glad that I'm not left fuming in frustration, but I do wish it had been less... oddly placed. It reminds slightly of the ending in Burn for Burn. Although they're completely different books, that one too terminated in a really strange place. You're left wondering if there should be more! But yes, I did really like this book overall, despite its flaws. I hope you can give it a try!

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  16. I'm done reading this book and I agree on your review. There is something missing in the setting but the characters are fine. Also I like the action scenes.

    Another cool review, Sam!!
    -Dannielle

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    1. Thanks, Dannielle! I'm glad you enjoyed it too, even if it didn't completely blow you away either. I'll keep an eye out for your review!

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  17. This is my first time hearing of this one. I am glad that you enjoyed this one enough that you are looking forward to the next book in the series. :) Your review was very helpful and I loved your honesty!

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie! I'm glad that this is on your radar now. I hope you'll consider picking it up one day. :)

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  18. Sounds like you really enjoyed it Sam! I need to read more steampunk novels, I don't think I've read many. The MC sounds like a really kickass character though.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. Steampunk novels are few and far between in my reading pile most of the time, but I do enjoy them when they're good. I wouldn't say this can be strictly defined as one, as the elements are VERY light, but it is a nice extra touch. Thanks, Jeann!

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  19. This sounds so good, and I LOVE the quotes you shared -- they really have me wanting to read this. Even though this one wasn't without its faults and the ending was abrupt, it definitely sounds like a worthy read to me. Beautiful review as always, Sam xo

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    1. I definitely think it's worth checking out! Especially if you like the sound of it and those quotes. It does have its fair share of flaws, but all things considered, it's a good debut novel overall. :)

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  20. Ooh yes, you got me wanting to read this from the first paragraph! Also...that quote is kinda just hinting badassery :)

    Lovely review, Sam! <33

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    1. There are MANY quotes like that throughout the book. I had about fifty different post-it notes highlighting my favourite lines - so I had to share a few! Thanks, Melanie.

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  21. "Stories about assassins, slayers, hunters and huntresses, ice-cold characters, vengeance, and bitter determination – they all draw me in effortlessly. (Which makes me sound like a bit of a creep. But I promise I’m not.)" --HAHAHA! Well, Celaena is a freaking fantastic assassin and what better way to spend my afternoons than with her. I think that you are not a creep because I ain't one and I like 'em assassins too ;) Ooh, I had no idea it features Scottish faeries O.o SLOW-BURNNNNN!!! Love it! I'm glad that you at least got the info even if it wasn't presented as you would have liked. I haven't really considered reading it, but you and Nick both made points that intrigue me and I'm really excited so I think I should add this to my tbr. Thanks for sharing, lovely!

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    1. Siiri! You have to give this one a try when you can! I can definitely see you enjoying it overall, maybe even more than me. The slow-burn romance was just brilliant. And you can tell it will be as soon as you meet Kiaran (that first scene is one of my favourites from the book). Do add it to your TBR! I hope you can get around to it one day soon. :)

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  22. I've had an ARC of this one for awhile since it only releases next year in the States, but I've yet to get around to it. I'm glad there isn't a love triangle in this and I love a slow-burn romance and kick-ass heroine myself, though the qualms you had with this one are ones I know I'll be having myself. It's a shame the story isn't more atmospheric, but I'm still excited to read it. Fabulous review, Sam!(:

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    1. Thank you, Keertana. I really look forward to seeing what you think of it! Hopefully the slow-burn romance and tough protagonist will be enough to win you over, flaws or no.

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  23. I am still on the edge about picking this up. While there are a lot of people who loved this, one of my friends thought it was actually like a YA version of the Fever Series, and that really has me vary.
    I am glad you enjoyed the book though
    Great Review Sam! :)

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    1. I've seen a few comparisons to the Fever series myself, and although I do accept them to a certain degree, I don't think I really noticed them until they were pointed out to me. So it wasn't an issue for me personally. If you do decide to give it a try one day, I hope it works for you! Thanks, Rashika.

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  24. You are not sick, I love all of those things too, and despite wanted more from gadgets to secondary characters you have me excited to try this. Is this a first in series or standalone? Adding to my list, wonderful review Sam :)

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    1. I'm glad you're excited, Kimba! It's the first in a series, though I'm not entirely sure how many books are planned for it in total.

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  25. I want. To. Read. This! I've had it on my TBR but totally forgot about it. This does sound like something I'd really like. I love the quotes!

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    1. You should, Christy. If you like the sound of it, pick it up! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, if not more. :)

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  26. I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy it as much as I did, Sam, but your reasons are completely valid. I think I ended up loving it so much because I've been reading a lot of disappointing books lately and this one was everything I could ask for, especially the romance part. I love slow burn romances like the one in this book. I was dying of anticipation which makes the wait for the couple to get together even more agonizing. I did think the ending was rather abrupt but like you said, I was glad that it wasn't a cliffhanger that would leave me frustrated and just mad at everyone.
    And yes, Derrick! <3 I loved that little pixie. He was such a refreshing character with his fierce protectiveness and sass. I have to admit that I might be a little too excited for the next book just so I can have more of him.
    Fabulous review, Sam. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it overall despite some of the issues you had with it. :)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it slightly more than me, Nick! I agreed with a lot of the thoughts in your review, but I guess it was just missing that final spark for me in the end. And I feel similarly about the ending. Although, technically, it ends in an odd place, I'm glad that it doesn't leave me feeling cheated as such. I definitely hope for more Derrick in the next book! Thanks, Nick.

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  27. I have a sample of this on my Kindle, but it's going to be forever before I'm able to get around to it. What an excellent review! Maybe I'll move this up in my queue after all...

    Kate @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Thank you, Kate! I hope you enjoy the sample and that it convinces you to give the full book a try. :)

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  28. i read that first line and was hooked! great review :)

    Grace
    www.merelyamazing.com.au

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    1. Thank you, Grace! I'm glad you liked that quote. It definitely stood out to me when I came across it.

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  29. I can't say I've read much of this mythology but it sounds deeply evolved. Would it confuse me at some point? I also have a hard time reading books that use words that I can barely pronounced and I'm afraid this one might be littered with it.

    Glad you enjoyed it, albeit, tepidly. Great review, Sam!

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    1. Hmm. I didn't personally find it too confusing, but I suppose it's possible to not be able to fully grasp the different types of fey (which is why I would have loved more of the details from the bestiary to feature in the actual story). However, it is all in the back, so I guess if you remember it's there, you can refer to it as you read. I can't say I pronounced all the terms correctly though! This does have quite a few of them.

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  30. I'm SO with you - LOVE stories about assassins and vengeance and whatnot (I'm not really sure what that says about a person's character... they just make for fun stories for some reason!). This is EXACTLY my kind of read so I don't blame you for going into it with insanely high expectations because I would, too! And even given the number of very valid criticisms you mention here, I'm still pretty curious about this one! I mean, this just sounds FUN. I think the lack of integration of the glossary creatures would bother me too, but maybe the author plans to introduce them and include them over the course of the series? Hopefully. I'm definitely intrigued anyway and I will keep my eye out to see how the sequel fares in reviews when it is eventually released because the series sounds promising. Nicely reviewed as always, Sam!

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    1. In the real world, needless to say, those ideas are pretty off-putting! But there's just something about following characters that kill in fiction that makes it quite strangely thrilling. And yes, that's a good point! I don't yet know how many books are planned for this series, but I can definitely see how there might be opportunity for more in terms of worldbuilding. I'm glad you like the sound of this, Aylee! Thanks so much.

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  31. This book sounds like it came right out of heaven. Girl I totally know what you mean when you say "Stories about assassins, slayers, hunters and huntresses, ice-cold characters, vengeance, and bitter determination – they all draw me in effortlessly." I feel the same and for that reason I cannot wait to read this one. Characters sounds amazing and for me that's the best thing. Too bad the world building wasn't as strong, but I won't miss this one. Great review, Sam :)

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    1. Ha! Absolutely. I'm glad that you like this sort of thing too. Characters are definitely the most important thing for me as well, and seeing as though I appreciated the main ones here, I'm really satisfied overall. I'm glad you plan to give it a go!

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  32. Sam you always manage to stumble across these gem reads, if I'd read a review of this book early last year, I probably wouldn't have given it a second glance. But I'm really liking the sound of Aileana and Kiaran, but most importantly the way you've described their relationship. You know me I love a good romance, but not when it takes center stage, where there are other things going on which are way more important, so I'm definitely liking the sound of how May has dealt with it. I think you've definitely twisted my arm in giving this book a go. Gorgeous review Sam!

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    1. I think you'll definitely be a fan of the romance here, Jasprit! I loved how subtle it was at the start, and then how slowly but surely it developed as the story progressed. It might just even be my favourite part. Thanks so much!

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  33. hahaha I completely agree! There's something about assassins that makes them really interesting to read about (so if you're a creep, I'm a creep too :P). Seriously if the blurb just has the word "assassin" in it I'm like GIMME.
    Steampunk fairies?! Wow sounds awesome. I really like the sound of the romance too! Although the shaky world building does sound a bit disappointing, hopefully the romance would be enough to make me enjoy the book :)

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    1. Right?! Maybe it's because the lives of these characters are SO different from our own - and the lives of those that we know (or at least I hope no one here can identify with killing!) - that it makes for an automatically interesting read. And yes, I liked the combination of the faerie world and the slight touch of steampunk. I hope you enjoy this book if you ever pick it up. :)

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  34. This sounds mixed, but more on the positive side.

    I like secondary characters fleshed out since they make for a more interesting story.

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    1. I'd definitely say so, Medeia. I had some slight issues, but overall, it's a great read!

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  35. THIS is exactly how I feel about this book. A 3.5 that is almost a 4 but not quite. The lack of interaction with the Scottish setting bothered me too. It felt like a missed opportunity to make the story more intense. The romance was great, though. There was a moment where Kiaran constantly smirking and Gavin flashing smiles left and right annoyed me to no end, but then it suddenly turned around and now I just want more Kiaran. Page 292 was the death of me.
    The ending... was a non-ending. It just cut off because. Haha, I'm basically repeating everything you've already said. It's just that I was more or less in the same situation. I've wanted to read this book for over a year, so maybe I just hyped it too much for myself. However, as you said, this series has loads of potential and even though the ending was just there, I think May has something epic in store for the sequel.

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    1. I spent some time wavering between a 3.5 and a 4 star rating, but thought the first was just slightly more accurate (even if neither are completely so). I completely agree - there was definitely opportunity for a more intense story, and while what was there was good, it's unlikely that everything will remain in my thoughts a few months down the line. I definitely want more Kiaran too! I feel like we've only just touched the surface with him, but I already really like his character and love the relationship between him and Aileana. It'll be interesting to see where the story goes next!

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  36. So happy to see you, Sam! I am really looking forward to this book (grrr that it's published pretty much everywhere but here first), so I'm glad to see you've rated it highly, despite a few quibbles. Look forward to comparing notes down the road.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Thank you, Wendy! And likewise. I'm looking forward to seeing how it's generally received on your side of the pond. It's not often that we get UK titles releasing in the US (at least, not in comparison to the other way around). I hope you enjoy it!

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  37. Ooh this sounds pretty fascinating overall! I guess I'm like you in reading elements that I enjoy, as I found myself nodding in agreement to nearly everything you mentioned here. That is disappointing about the lack of worldbuilding and characterization, but I've been trying to be generous about those aspects in the first book in series, laboring under the assumption that they'll become better fleshed-out as the series continues. I'm glad this one mostly worked for you, even though it wasn't a perfect read!

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    1. I try to remember that too, Amanda, as there is always room for improvement and development across the rest of the series. I'm not quite sure how many books are planned for The Falconer series yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how things progress from here. Thank you!

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  38. Historical fiction in Scotland sounds amazing. I was looking at the genre list for this on goodreads and it seems to have everything, fantasy, paranormal, romance, science fiction, and historical fiction! I'm glad to hear the ending, that was sort of like a cliffhanger, didn't make you angry ;)

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    1. Yes! It does have touches of all of those, which definitely makes it interesting for anyone who enjoys those genres. Oh and definitely. It might not have been a perfect ending, but I'm beyond relieved that it didn't leave me fuming. ;)

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  39. I expected a far better setting, all things considered, but I don't mind that it's so character-based! I actually bought a copy the second I stopped reading Nick's review, and yours now served to covince me that I've made the right choice. I don't know how I'll feel about them not confiding in each other, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
    Gorgeously written, Sam!

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    1. I think I did too, Maja, and that might have raised the rating slightly - but otherwise, I was pleased! I'd rather have just a slightly underdeveloped setting than poor characterisation. I'm looking forward to seeing what you'll make of Kiaran and Aileana. Thank you!

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  40. This sounds really interesting, and at times throughout reading your review I could imagine myself loving this, but there are definitely mentiones of things that I... I don't think I'd like so much. Lots and lots of fight scenes aren't really my thing, and whilst the protagonist sounds really intriguing, especially with the "this way by day and this by night" thing, I just don't think it's quite for me.
    Great review, Sam- I hope this series continues to grow and becomes only more enthralling.

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    1. I do enjoy fight scenes if they're written well and perfectly placed in the story. There were just a few instances where I grew tired of the repetitiveness of them, but overall, I definitely thought May did a good job. And thank you, Romi! I hope so too.

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  41. Hmmm, 3.5 isn't the best, but enough for me to still want this one like burning. Unfortunately, it's super expensive because it was released in hardcover. If it were in paperback over in the UK, it would be mine already. *pouts*

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    1. I don't think the paperback is available until July of next year. BUT... it should be out in the US before then, I believe. I hope you can get your hands on it then!

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  42. Oh man, that first quote always gets me. Sounds like a great book to me, even it it's only 3.5 for you. I'm willing to pick it up despite its flaws. Great review!
    -Marianne

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    1. I definitely think it's the sort of book worth picking up in spite of its flaws. I hope you can give it a try one day! Thanks, Marianne.

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  43. I'm sensing a theme with your assassin reads (;
    I have oddly never read (or rather I've never been aware of reading) a steampunk book or something like it. I really like the simple elements that led certain creativity to the story. I also like the Scottish culture background. I would think I would also want more because it's not something you read about everyday.
    Is it just me but doesn't the different sith's remind you of Star Wars or the Legend of the Seeker?
    That first quote with "mutilate" in it is freaky!
    I don't know about this particular story but I do like the different elements that make up the story sound really good. Lovely review as always (:

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    1. Steampunk is one of those subcategories that I fall into unintentionally every now and again. I never really find myself actively seeking out a steampunk book (like I might with sci-fi or fantasy), but it's always an interesting genre. The elements here are very light though, so I wouldn't instantly label it a steampunk story. And yes! I can't think of the last book that I read that was set in Scotland, so it would have been nice to get something a little more distinct in that respect. I can't believe 'sith' has never made me think of Star Wars until now! Crazy.

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  44. Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph are one of my favorite books so I'd say 'Hell Yes!' to assassins. :D
    I haven't had a lot of good experience with steampunk so I'm a lil' wary of that part. Nevertheless it sounds like a brilliant read and Kiaran definitely sounds... interesting. ;)

    Great review, Sam!

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    1. The steampunk elements are very light - almost light enough to ignore, actually - so perhaps that will make things work for you. And yes, Kiaran is definitely interesting. ;)

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  45. Oh goodness I don't think your description of the romance could be any more perfect: "slow, controlled, and not engulfing the main plot." That is my perfect idea of a romance in these sorts of books. Now I'm even more excited to meet Aileana and Kiaran. All of the elements you mention already have me diving for this one like you. It's a shame about the abrupt ending/pseudo cliffie, and that the worldbuilding and secondary characters didn't get a lot of development. But still, you make it sound so cool in spite of its flaws. Very excited to read this one! Lovely review, Sam :-)

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    1. Aren't subtle, slow-burn romances the best? I can't get enough of them! I hope you can meet Aileana and Kiaran soon. And this is definitely the sort of book that is worth giving a try in spite of its flaws. Thanks, Lauren!

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