The story is a steampunk-faery fantasy set somewhere in the 17th century in Scotland, where a young noble by the name of Aileana Kameron is training to for her vengeance. She is hunting for the feary that killed her mother a year ago, while acting the part of the obedient and dutiful daughter. Aiding her in her quest are Kiaran, a powerful fae and Derrick, a pixie. Soon enough, she realizes her choices were never really hers to make – be it her future life or the vengeance she seeks. She is a descendant from a line of Falconers, which means that hunting faeries is in her blood and she could never really escape it. The only thing left now is to stop the faeries from once again being free and taking over their world.
The writing of the book is one of its best features – the action in each scene so beautifully depicted, be it the fights or the tense moments. The prose lends a morbid beauty to the act of killing, makes us revel along with Alieana in her fight. She mostly pities herself – aching for the simple life she once had, a life which seems so inane now because the wild thrill of being a Falconer is what sustains her now. The rush of power she gets when she kills a fae, the addiction to feeling it over and over, the allure of their nature – it is depicted in vivid detail. The other characters of the book are also marvellously created – her trainer, the honorless fae Kiaran, her pet Derrick, her best friend Catherine who could have been relegated to being the loud friend but is what grounds her, her other friend Gavin, whom she is betrothed to, and lastly, her mostly absent father who even in his mere presence in the book, drives home the point to us that her life was always chosen for her.
As per world-building, I loved how the whole steampunk vibe mixed in with faery magic, and the innovations she describes are simply mind-boggling. The plot is stretched over a few days but packs a lot of events, but keeps a decent pace. The contrast between the noble girl and the wild huntress is comic at times, and morose in others. What was the highligh though, was the mother of all cliffhangers. I don’t know whether to appreciate or mourn the fact that the author chose to end the book at such a crucial point in the book. Reading the next page and finding it to be just a glossary of faeries was like a slap to the face. It was partly cruel how it ended and mostly bold, because that next book is not coming soon enough for me! This one is definitely for fans of PNR.
Received an ARC from via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review