Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Shelves: Historical Fiction, Fantasy pnr everything untoward, Let me down, Myth-mix, Steampunk
How hard would it be? How much, I’m asking you?
I am not the greatest at editing but even I managed that!
Story of cover and me
Me ambling along unhappily,
rays of annoyance
from you to you
to them and they.
but look! a book!
you and you
to them and they.
face on cover
face on cover
girl on cover,
[wherefore do i care]
do i find thee number?
and to think
I coulda, woulda, shoulda
dropped ze book
’round you all day.
word by word
oh my! it’s [infra]red
le Scottish crest
face on cover
someone should paint you over.
But whatever. I’ve decided I’m sick of poking the world for not revolving on my directions, so from now on, Imma whatev’s a loooot. Eh, suppose I fit the image of a true teenager that those folks over there* have.
*Those folks over there: A trelec* of people interspersed within the populace of Homo sapien sapiens every-fucking-where who mysteriously escaped teenagerhood(but not them pimples and acne) and don’t know shit about us.
*Trelec: From a dictionary found in a time capsule from la future, it is the classification that comes after species and before race, and is primarily used for humans. Origin: In the near-distant(as opposed to distant-distant and infinite-distant) future, the human being has become so diverse, so unique, the world has lost its fragile state of equilibrium and is at a precipice as the whims of the peoples keep changing and the earth is about to fall off its axis and out of its orbit. In an act of self-preservation, the human being succumbs to the incurable SHOOT_OUT syndrome, which causes its victims to be cast into pre-specified molds, known in today’s world as cliques and/or stereotypes.
The Falconer is to the fantasy-of-kicking-ass what In the After was to the dystopian/post-ap genre. I feel like simply copy-pasting that review in this space with a few key word changes. It is the age-old, guaranteed formula of stories that sell- the Buffy formula. Kick-ass protagonist(check), ancient lover(check), monster after monster to kill(check). Yet this particular story has more in common with my beloved Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. From characters to names to spe-shul abilities, it’s a tamed, distant(distant-distant), diluted cousin of Fever. I won’t go into the various commonalities because whatever!
What happens is:
Girl suffers[someone dies], Girl discovers[abilities, monsters, blah di dah], Girl trains[with hot guy], Girl kills and kicks ass, Girl discovers[new prophecies, doom blah di dah] and there’s a content reader around the beach.
It follows a straightforward plot wherein the protagonist, Ailena, forms a terse partnership with Kiaran, an enigmatic, ancient fey who kills his own kind, and fends off suitors and rumors from the society within which she lives. Adding decoration is the terrible happenings in Ailena’s past, the murder of her mother by a faery, whose death she is accused of by the ignorant masses. Nothing new or mind-blowing is brought about in the story. There’s no conflict to the story, no moral ambiguity in the characters, no fuck-ups in their plans, no complexity, each of which contribute to making it more of a disappointment. There’s inclusion of some characters[Gavin] for the convenience of the story. It’s all very generic and has been pretty much written and read before.
Ailena’s narration is a simple drink-cough-giggle repetition, only she goes:
- Think about the past, and mourn the girl I was
- Stare at Kiaran, watch his every move
- Crimson suits you best
And repeat! And repeat! And repeat!
The Kiaran thing is particularly annoying, because every bloody moment she goes, “If I weren’t watching him so closely, I’d have missed that flicker of emotion/humanity/some other bs”. In fact, the principal impression I have of the book is tired eyes after so. much. goddamn. staring.
Turning to her personality, Ailena was a all-done-all-told kind of character. She’s supposed to be a girl-turned-killer, but there’s no showing of the girl since the killer’s already in battle, armored and ready. There are no dimensions to her. For me, she’d never been a society girl, always a bloody awesome killer looking for vengeance. She slays, she invents new ways to slay, but there’s no showing of her transformation, or even an echo of it. How-the-bloody-ever, I loved her punches, I loved her kicks and her jumps, and if you, too, revel in violence, The Falconer may just not turn out to be a disappointment. But she’s also kinda stupid: everybody knows not to thank faeries and yet she, a Scottish bairn, who grew up on these stories and was taught the true versions by a fae himself, doesn’t know it. That’s just preposterous. And another thing? She doesn’t eat; just drinks and drinks and drinks more tea! I swear, you Europeans!
The romantic interest Kiaran is a trelec himself. He’s A-B-Z, is what he is. Maybe I’ll explain A-B-Z some other time, but basically, he’s a half-ass Barrons replica, and the kind of character who strives so hard not to be a stereotype that ultimately he falls in there unhindered. There’s so little known about him and the half-ass attempts at creating a difficult past don’t help. He really does have no personality beyond his stereotype: the handsome killer with a dark past. BORED. Kiaran and Ailena’s relationship is wrought with sexual tension and sometimes I did want to smoosh their faces together so they finally could get it on, but the rest of it is very forced and unreal. Why are they falling for each other? What does she see in him and him in her? Do they actually even care for about each other, or it’s simply lust taken for love, which is again implausible since Kiaran is ancient and definitely should know better. They’ve always had an impersonal partnership, they knew nothing about each other until now, then where did this come from? Bleh.
The side character Gavin is just perfect.Consequently I didn’t like him much better than Kiaran, but I do feel that he was a more-rounded and real character than the aforementioned. There are some troubles at homes with dear father, which I’d liked to be more fleshed out. The resolution there was very clean, and let’s hear it once again fooooooooooorrr BORING!
The setting is an alternate steampunk Scotland, but there’s no proper realization of the potential there. It’s inclusion is basically to provide quirks to Ailena’s already facsimile personality, so she can tinker in her past-time, and nada beyond that. I actually liked the moments when she’d talk about her weapons and similar inventions, but the steampunk aspect was lacking overall. Similarly missing was the Scottish flavor, the brogue I expected. The atmosphere didn’t get to me, and I never had the sense that the story was set in Edinburgh, that Edinburgh has a history with faeries, that it’s FUCKING SCOTLAND, and that’s a damn shame right there. There is no darkness, there are no flowers, there is no place befitting the most exquisite of creatures depicted in the story: the fae. The creatures are done very well themselves, but I would have liked some help with the pronunciations, dammit!
The cliffhanger is definitely not KMM-style because this one isn’t even a cliffhanger, it’s a fucking scene cut in half. I’m not impressed.
There’s not much to The Falconer; it was alright for once-read and entirely unmemorable. Instead, go read Crown of Midnight. Whatever, I’m bored with this review so let’s go together to: