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 thesìthíchean—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.
Wow. Just…WOW. I am utterly blown away by this book. Mostly, I’m blown away by the fact that Karen Marie Moning, author of my once-beloved Fever series, did not throw a massive shitfit when this was published.
Even though I’d been warned of the similarities between the two, by both Khanh and Sarah, I thought I’d enjoy this, because I was in the mood to read some Fever fanfic. This does not read like fanfic. This reads like something else entirely.
WARNING: UNMARKED SPOILERS FOR BOTH THE FALCONER AND THE ENTIRE FEVER SERIES
Main Character – MacKayla Lane, whose nickname is Mac
Dead Sister – Alina Lane
“Human” ally that can see fae – Jericho Barrons
Fae ally – V’lane
Main Character – Aileana (hmmmm, like Mac’s dead sister?) Kameron, whose nickname is Kam (which spelled backwards sounds EXACTLY like Mac)
Dead mother – Sarah Kameron
Human ally that can see fae – Gavin Stewart, Lord Galloway
Fae ally – Kiaran, whose nickname happens to be MacKay
MacKayla lane is a girly girl intent on marrying a good man and settling down to have some babies. Then her sister Alina is killed, and she flies to Dublin, Ireland, where her murder took place. She meets a mysterious man named Jericho Barrons, who teaches her that she’s a sidhe-seer, able to see the fae. It’s a trait that only women possess, passed down through millennia via matriarchal lines. There aren’t many of them left, because the fae have hunted them to the brink of extinction.
Upon learning about the evil nature of the fae and that one of them killed her sister, Mac resolves herself to wreak vengeance upon them. Thankfully she has Barrons there to teach her everything she needs to know. Oh, and V’lane, an undeniably sexy death-by-sex fae who steps in to fill in the blanks when Barrons refuses to tell her things. Together, the three of them keep as many secrets from each other as they can while tracking the villain of the story through Dublin by following its kills on a map.
But, oh no, what’s this? There’s a bigger problem? The imprisoned portion of the fae are starting to break free? Better see to that first!
Along the way, Mac loses the girly girl façade and becomes the ultimate badass, but still laments over the loss of her former life and pines non-stop over her sister.
Aileana Kameron is a girly girl intent on marrying a noble man and settling down to have some babies. Then her mother Sarah is killed, at their home in Edinburgh, Scotland, and shortly after, she meets a mysterious fae named Kiaran, who teaches her that she is a Falconer, able to fight the fae. It’s a trait that only women possess, passed down through millennia via matriarchal lines. She’s the only one left, because the fae have hunted them to the brink of extinction.
Upon learning about the evil nature of the fae and that one of them killed her mother, she resolves herself to wreak vengeance upon them. Thankfully she has Kiaran there to each her everything she needs to know. Oh, and he also takes the place of V’lane, and is likewise undeniably sexy. Together, they track the villain of the story through Scotland by following her kills on a map.
But, oh no, what’s this? There’s a bigger problem? The imprisoned portion of the fae are starting to break free? Better see to that first!
Along the way, Aileana loses the girly girl façade and becomes the ultimate badass, but still laments over the loss of her former life and pines non-stop over her mother.
IN DEPTH SIMILARITIES OF CHARACTERS
Mac vs. Aileana
In the beginning of this series, Mac has no idea that fae exist and that she was born to fight them until her sister dies. Speaking of that death, it’s likened to an animal attack.
“Was it abnormal? Horrific, Ms. Lane? Tell me, did her body look as if animals had gone at her? Hard?”
Before the beginning of this book, Aileana had no idea that fae exist and that she was born to fight them until her mother dies. Speaking of that death, it’s likened to an animal attack.
“…Well, I shan’t go on. Too gruesome.”
“The authorities insist it was an animal attack.”
After a horrific phone call, a frantic flight to Dublin, and a few run-ins with Jericho Barrons, Mac discovers the truth of what she is through his revelations.
“You, Ms. Lane, are a sidhe-seer.”
“Huh?” What was a she-seer?
“A sidhe-seer. You see the Fae.”
It takes a horrific night and a year of run-ins with Kiaran MacKay before Aileana discovers the truth of what she is through his revelations.
“Kam. You are a Falconer,” he says.
“But what does it mean?”
“Tell me what you feel and I’ll tell you what it means.”
“I-I don’t – “
“You do,” he says. “You feel power.”
“Aye,” I sigh.
“And you’ve sensed the sithichean since the first one you ever saw, haven’t you?”
Mac is told that she’s the last of her line, that sidhe-seershave been hunted to near-extinction by the fae.
“…the Unseelie Hunters hunted us down like animals and killed us. But The Compact forbade the Fae to spill human blood, so for the next six thousand years, give or take a few centuries, those with True Vision – people like me who can’t be fooled by Fae glamour or magic – were taken captive and imprisoned in Faery until they died. Real big difference there: dying or being stuck in Faery until you die.”
“Are there or aren’t there O’Connors in your organization?” Why didn’t anyone give me a straight answer?
A shadow crossed her face. She shook her head. “The bloodline died out, MacKayla. If you are an O’Connor, or an offshoot of that branch, you are the last.”
Aileana’s told that she’s the last of her line, that Falconers have been hunted to near-extinction by the fae.
“You’re not the first Falconer I’ve met.”
His gaze softens and for the first time since I met him, I see sorrow there. Who has Kiaran lost, that he should feel so strongly? He drops his eyes and the sadness is gone. “But you are the last.”
“There were only a certain number of humans born with the ability to kill the sithichean. Always women, always passed from mother to daughter,” he says. “Your line is the only one left.”
Mac’s life in Dublin becomes a quagmire of Before and After her sister’s death.
“Before I pressed it – as far as I knew – my sister Alina was alive. At the moment of pressing, my life split into two distinct epochs: Before the call and After.
Before, I floated through life from one happy moment to the next. Before, I thought I knew everything. I thought I knew who I was, where I fit, and exactly what my future would bring.
Before, I thought I knew I had a future.
After, I began to discover that I’d never really known anything at all.”
Aileana’s life then becomes a quagmire of Before and After her mother’s death.
“I used to have plans for my life, but…but they don’t fit anymore…”
I used to daydream about the wedding and husband I would one day have…My fantasies were full of ivory silks and pink rosebuds and a man who would love me unconditionally. Now I no longer see a marriage, or a husband, or children in my future. There’s no love. I see the same onyx expanse that my painful memories are stuffed into, dark and empty.”
After her sister’s death, vengeance becomes Mac’s number one priority.
“Would I ever stop hurting? Would I ever stop missing her? Would I ever live another day without this gouged-out place in my soul that I was desperate to fill with something, anything? Unfortunately, it was an Alina-shaped hole and nothing else would fit it.
But…maybe vengeance would soften the edges of it. Maybe killing the bastard who had killed her would make them less sharp, less jagged, and I could stop cutting myself on them.”
And vengeance she will have. Because as a sidhe-seer, she’s faster, smarter, more agile, and faster healing than your average human, a born weapon.
“The alabaster spearhead seemed to blaze with holy light in my hands as I ducked and twisted, slammed and stabbed. I could feel myself turning into something else and it felt good. At one point I caught sight of Barrons’ startled face, and I knew that if he was looking at me like that, I was truly something to see. I felt like something to see. I felt like a well-built, well-oiled machine with one purpose in life: to kill Fae. Good or bad. Take ‘em all.”
After her mother’s death, vengeance becomes Aileana’s number one priority.
“Grief rises briefly inside me, quickly replaced by rage and the overwhelming desire for vengeance. For just one kill to bury the painful memory of my mother’s death once more. Even my careful control has its limits – I must find that faery before my need consumes me.”
And vengeance she will have. Because as a Falconer, she’s faster, smarter, more agile, and faster healing than your average human, a born weapon.
“Every kill moves us faster, hones my awareness of the fae. Soon I’m able to shoot before Gavin speaks, sensing exactly when he needs me to.
The overwhelming taste of smoke from cu sith power dries my mouth, but I’m too sated to care. I feel light as air, invincible and strong…”
On the road to vengeance, Mac makes a few mistakes along the way, like accidentally exposing her existence to the very fae that hunt and kill her kind.
“What did you expect? It knows you saw it. It won’t stop looking for you until you’re dead – or it is. And believe me, they don’t die easily, if at all. The only question is whether it will alert the Hunters, or come for you by itself.”
On the road to vengeance, Aileana makes a few mistakes along the way, like accidentally exposing her existence to the very fae that hunt and kill her kind.
“Kam, the Falconers have been tracked and slaughtered for centuries, even with their powers inactive. When you began to hunt alone, your kill signature became obvious to any sithichean who knew what to look for.”
Oh, and did I mention that Mac is the chosen one? The only one able to find fae Objects of Power? And that they make her nauseous when she’s near them?
“…apparently I could sense all Fae Objects of Power – or OOPs for short, as I would soon be calling them…”
“I was about to ask him “like what?” when I was suddenly so nauseous that I couldn’t speak. Bile splashed the back of my throat without warning…”
“…I slung my bag over my shoulder and rose, pleased to realize I was barely registering the nausea caused by such close contact with the OOP. I was determined to carry the thing with me everywhere, so I’d forced myself to sleep with it last night, hoping the more contact I had with it, the less disturbing I would find it over time. It seemed to be working.”
Oh, and did I mention that Aileana is the chosen one? The only one able to recap the seals on the fae prison? And that fae make her nauseous when she’s near them?
“Are you listening to me? Now they know you’re the last of your line, the only one left who can reactivate the seal…”
“The burst of power that comes from him – usually so tempting and magnetic – cramps my stomach, a nauseating churn that doubles me over. It’s a taste so heavy that I almost heave from it.”
V’lane/Barrons vs. Kiaran/Gavin:
In Fever, you have a quasi-love triangle between Mac, Barrons, and V’lane. In The Falconer, you have a quasi-love triangle between Aileana, Kiaran, and Gavin. The only similarities between Gavin and Barrons are that both are men who can also see fae. The similarities between Kiaran and V’lane and Barrons, however, are staggering.
Mac meets Barrons shortly after her sister is killed. He drops her into the world of the fae and teaches her everything she is to know about them. She takes copious notes in her journals during every single lecture.
“Jericho Barrons had told me many things last night before packing me off in a cab for The Clarin House. I’d decided to write them down, fully aware that it read like something straight out of a badly scripted late-night sci-fi horror flick.
Royal Hunters: a mid-level caste of Unseelie. Militantly sentient, they resemble the classic depiction of the devil, with cloven hooves, horns, long, satyr-like faces, leathery wings, fiery orange eyes, and tails. Seven to ten feel tall, they are capable of extraordinary speed on both hoof and wing. Their primary function: sidhe-seer exterminators. Threat assessment: kills.”
Aileana meets Kiaran shortly after her mother is killed. He drops her into his world of fae and teaches her everything she is to know about them, encouraging her to take copious notes during every single lecture.
“Kiaran confirmed the truth of that. Many of our first lessons consisted of him describing and having me write down each species of faery, detailing their abilities, separating facts about the fae from centuries of lore passed down by humans.”
Mac is constantly trying to understand Barrons, trying to fit him into a human box and make him tell her his secrets, while Barrons is constantly trying to get her to look past words to his actions.
“It’d be a whole lot easier to trust you if you’d just answer my question.”
“I don’t know why you ask, anyway. I could lie to you a million ways to Sunday. Look at my actions. Who saved your life?”
Aileana is constantly trying to understand Kiaran, trying to fit him into a human box and make him tell her his secrets, while Kiaran is constantly trying to get her to look past words to his actions.
“You asked me what manner of man I am…I’m someone who has slayed for you, who pulled you from that river, saved your life…”
V’lane, a.k.a. Cruce, is an Unseelie Fae Prince, the most powerful of the fae on earth, and the only one not currently imprisoned.
“Fae: a.k.a. the Tuatha De Danaan. Divided into two courts: the Seelie or Light Court, and the Unseelie or Dark Court. Both courts have different castes of Fae, with the four royal houses occupying the hightest cast of each.”
“The Unseelie arrived on this planet already trapped in a prison…”
Kiaran is a daoine sith, the most powerful of the fae on earth, and the only one of his kind not currently imprisoned.
“Kiaran is the only daoine sith left. The others lost a war many years ago and were trapped beneath what is now Edinburgh, along with the faeries who aided them. The breeds who fought in the battle were the strongest of the fae, all ruled by the daoine sith.”
V’lane is indescribably beautiful.
“…imagine a tall, powerful, mighty archangel, frighteningly male, terrifyingly beautiful. Then paint him in the most exquisite shades of chestnut, bronze, and gold you can possibly imagine. Give him a mane shimmering with strands of cinnamon gilded by sunlight, skin of tawny velvet, and eyes of liquid amber, kissed by molten gold.”
Kiaran is indescribably beautiful.
“Kiaran’s skin glows softly in the candlelight, smooth and pale. His eyes…are shrewd, fierce, and unearthly. Fae or not, Kiaran MacKay is damnably beautiful.”
“His eyes are depthless, as though they hold an endless expanse of space, deep and dark. Except for the gold flecks, cinders burning within the infinite abyss.”
V’lane uses his powers to turn Mac’s weapon, her spear of destiny, invisible every time they meet. He makes her think she’s without it when they’re together because it’s the only thing that gives her an advantage over him. The only thing that can harm him.
“Try it and I’ll kill you.”
I yanked my hand from the button at the back of my skirt and went for the spear holstered beneath my arm, but it was gone. He’d taken it the last time we’d met, too.”
Kiaran physically removes the seilgflur from Aileana. Because it’s the one thing that gives her an advantage over him, the only thing that can kill him, and without it touching her body, she loses her “sight”, rendering him invisible:
“He rips the seilgflur necklace off me and throws it away. I hear it fall somewhere at the other end of the close. I gasp and stare where he’d been standing. I can’t see him without the thistle, not unless he wants me to.”
When V’lane wants to talk to Mac, he uses fae compulsion to get rid of the other humans around her.
“I turned sharply to find it standing on the sidewalk, a dozen feet to my left, pedestrians parting around it like the Red Sea drawing back from Moses, giving it increasingly wider berth. In fact, foot traffic on the entire street seemed to be thinning substantially and, here and there, a pub door suddenly slammed closed…”
When Kiaran wants to talk to Aileana, he uses fae compulsion to get rid of the other humans around her.
“Your butler,” he says. “Large chap with the beard? I introduced myself to him, told him I was here to see you, and then I compelled him to go away so he wouldn’t interrupt us.”
“I’ve noticed that’s becoming a habit of yours.”
Both Barrons and V’lane constantly keep secrets from Mac, putting her in harm’s way by doing so.
“Secrets. Everyone had secrets. Alina had taken hers to the grave. I had no doubt that trying to ask V’lane questions when I saw the Fae again – I wasn’t stupid enough to think it was done with me – would be an exercise in futility. The alleged prince might answer me, but I was only an OOP-detector, not a lie detector. And Barrons was no better. As Fiona’s little dispute with him revealed, he was keeping secrets, too, and I was somehow in even more danger than I already knew.”
“I shook my head, disgusted. It was as I’d suspected. Men. Were they the same among all species, whether human or not? “Both of you have something on the other, and neither of you will rat it out, in order to keep your own secrets safe. Unbelievable.”
Kiaran constantly keeps secrets from Aileana, putting her in harm’s way by doing so.
“No wonder Kiaran didn’t look at all surprised by those redcaps, the secretive bastard. How on earth am I supposed to blow them up if I don’t know where they are? “
“I’m beginning to realize how much our secrets define us. A few days ago, he and I would have hunted together and returned to our respective lives, the same as always. Now our boundaries are fading, and we grasp those last few secrets we still do have, because baring one’s soul is so much more difficult than pretending.”
“Another secret. No matter how much Derrick might despise Kiaran, they share a past that I fear I shall never know fully.”
Mac is constantly wondering about V’lane’s ability to feel and express emotion.
“Where had those words of absolution come from? Did the icy Fae prince understand more about human emotion than he let on?”
Aileana is constantly wonder about Kiaran’s ability to feel and express emotion.
“It’s odd an uncomfortable when Iaran displays any kind of emotion. I’ve become used to him as cold, impassive. But every so often he expresses something deeper and I wonder if his emotions are really that fleeting, or if he just wants to deceive me into believing they are.”
IN DEPTH SIMILARITIES IN THE PLOT
In the Fever series, when a human has sex with a fae, they become Pri-ya, instantly addicted for life to the touch of the fae. They will do absolutely anything for one more touch. Including starve to death.
“…by one who was Pri-ya. A woman that was fae-struck, fae-blind, a whore for anything Seelie or Unseelie.”
When a human touches a fae, they become faestruck (JFC, she couldn’t even come up with her own term?), instantly addicted for a little while to the touch of a fae.
“I swear that I was nearly faestruck, an awful thing that happens to humans when they’re in the presence of one of the daoine sith. They become bewitched, lulled by power, and compliant enough to do anything a faery wants.”
In Fever, the Unseelie King created a series of mirrors for his human concubine to move through from one realm to another. Mac passes through them several times.
“Silvers: an elaborate maze of mirrors once used as the primary method of Fae travel between realms…”
“I stepped up, into the Silver.”
There is a series of mirrors, called clomhsadh, that Kiaran shows Aileana. Then they step through them into the faery realm.
“Between the two halves of the tree, a mirror forms and undulates like water. I see my reflection there, obscured by ceaseless ripples.
“What is it?” I whisper.
“The clomhsadh,” Kiaran says. “Let me show you.”
A faery passage.”
Time moves differently in Faery than it does in our world. An hour in Faery could be a month on Earth.
“One afternoon,” I insisted. “I spent maybe six hours there, Barrons!”
I’d lost a month of my life…
“In Faery, you fool,” he snarled. “You know time doesn’t move the same there! We talked about that!”
Time moves differently in Faery than it does in our world. An hour in Faery could be a month on Earth.
“I know how this works, MacKay,” I say. “I’ve heard the stories. Faeries bring humans here for what feels like a few hours, but when they leave, years have gone by in the human world.”
The Unseelie, or the dark fae, have been imprisoned for millennia in an icy realm. It was built to hold the most powerful of the fae, but as the walls weaken, lesser fae are slipping through the cracks to wreak havoc in the human world.
“What do you know about the walls between realms?”
“I know they’re paper-thin at the moment. I know some of the smaller, less powerful Fae have been slipping through the cracks…The prison continues to contain the most powerful.”
Most of the fae have been imprisoned for millennia beneath the ground. It was built to hold the most powerful of the fae, but as the seals on the prison weaken, lesser fae are slipping through the cracks to wreak havoc in the human world.
“It means the most power is being used to keep the strongest sithichean inside the longest. So the least powerful are released first.”
The walls of this prison will come tumbling down onHalloween, unless a band of unruly druids and what remains of the sidhe-seers manage to pull off a magical ritual meant to reinforce those walls that very same night.
“I want you to give me the D’Jai Orb.”
“So I can give it to the sidhe-seers…They think they can use it to reinforce the walls on Halloween.”
“My uncles want Barrons to help them hold the walls on Samhain. They say he’s Druid trained, and not afraid of the dark side.”
The seals of this prison will shatter on the lunar eclipse, unless Kiaran and Aileana manage to pull off a magical ritual meant to reinforce those seals that very same night.
“The seal breaking is an inevitability” Kiaran says, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “It’ll happen when the lunar eclipse occurs on midwinter. In six days.”
“The seal can only be reactivated during the eclipse…”
“But there must be something we can do,” I say.
“We have one chance….You have to be there to reactivate it,” he says. “You’re the only one who can.”
If the walls fall, the Unseelie horde will be released upon the world, causing unspeakable destruction.
“If the walls come down completely, all the Unseelie will be freed…The most powerful of the Unseelie Royal Houses will escape…Myth equates the heads of those four houses, the dark princes, with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse…It’ll get bad, Mac. They’ll turn our world into a living nightmare.”
If the walls fall, the fae will be released upon the world, causing unspeakable destruction.
“If we don’t fix that seal, Edinburgh will fall. It is an utmost certainty. The faeries beneath the city were trapped there for a reason. If they rise, they will destroy everything in their path.”
Their efforts to keep the walls from falling are not enough. The fae escape their prison and wreak havoc upon the earth.
Their efforts to keep the seals in place are not enough. The fae escape their prison and wreak havoc upon the earth.
Other similarities that I don’t have space to cover:
– V’lane/Kiaran and Barrons/Gavin loathe each other on sight and constantly bicker over Mac/Aileana
– V’lane/Kiaran transports Mac/Aileana to a beach in Faery so they can talk.
– Memories of Mac/Aileana’s dead sister/mother snap them out of fae compulsion
– The bad guy uses Mac/Aileana’s memories to try and trap her
– The stones/runes that will hold the sinsar dubh/fae have to be perfectly aligned or they won’t work
– One innocent female fae is trapped among all the evil ones in the prison
In closing, HOW THE FUCK WAS THIS PUBLISHED???