I read The Falconer last week and it is now one of my favourite books of 2016, and possibly ever! It is a steampunk set in Edinburgh in the 1800s, and it made me so happy to read a well researched YA set in Scotland with an amazing Scottish female main character. Keep reading to check out my spoiler-free review!
The Falconer by Elizabeth May – The Falconer #1
- US hardcover – 378 pages.
- Release date: 6th May 2014
- Published by Chronicle Books
- ISBN: 1452114234
- Goodreads page for The Falconer here!
In the past I have had bad experiences with American authors writing books set in Scotland, so I was a little sceptical going into The Falconer. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about, this book was absolutely amazing. I am so happy to finally read a YA book where the main character is a Scottish female, rather than simply including a Scottish male as a love interest. If you can think of any other YA books set in Scotland with Scottish main characters please let me know!
This book is set in Edinburgh in 1844, which is a time period I love reading about, and it was clear that May really did her research. It was brilliant to read a book set in places I’ve been and so really be able to picture all of the locations. Such as Princes Street and Arthur’s Seat. The author is really brilliant at subtle, but thorough, world-building so I really felt like I could imagine everything. It’s been a while since I have read a world that I found myself immediate immersed in and I think this might be one of my favourite worlds ever. I also loved that it rained all the time, very realistic!
This was also the first steampunk book I have ever read, and I loved it! It’s so interesting to see inventions and technology mixed in with a historical setting. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more steampunk books now.
The Faeries (or sìth in Scottish Gaelic) in this book were so great. I have done a lot of research on Scottish folklore for my own writing, so it was great to see everything that May included and how thorough her research was. I also loved the way she put her own twist on the folklore and included different types of fae as some of the main characters. Again, it’s made me so happy reading a great YA set in Scotland.
I instantly liked the main character Aileana, she is a wealthy Lady by day and a fae killer by night. May did not give her a stereotypical accent, she instead added in some Scottish slang. I felt like she spoke a lot like me at times so that really helped me connect with her. The other characters were all very interesting as well, but I won’t say much about them, it’s better to go in not knowing them.
The end of this book left me desperate to read the sequel, The Vanishing Throne!
If my review isn’t enough to persuade you to read The Falconer, maybe the quote from Sarah J Maas on the cover will – “A riveting world, a fierce heroine, and electrifying action – I burned through this sparkling debut!”