Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Falconer Audio

The Falconer Audio

Elizabeth May
For ages 13 and up
Unabridged audiobook (Digital)
Performed/read by: Susan Duerden
Audible, 2014 

Not that long ago Lady Aileana Kameron was living the kind of life that girls of her class expect to have. She delighted in pretty clothes and fripperies, she happily attended dances and other social events, and she wondered which of her suitors would make the best husband. She was, in short, a self-confessed “complete and utter ninny.” Then, at her debut ball, Aileana’s mother was killed and Aileanna witnessed the event.

During the ball Aileana, hearing her mother’s cry, went to investigate. What she found was a woman standing over her mother, and though the woman looked human, Aileana somehow knew that the creature was a faery, a monster that feeds on human energy. Before her horrified eyes the faery tore open Aileana’s mother’s chest and pulled out her heart.

Aileana has not been able tell people what she saw on that night. These days people do not believe in the fae, thinking that they are just the stuff of tales and legends. Since that horrible night, when she was found covered in blood next to her mother’s body, Aileana has been looked down upon by her peers. Once she would have cared about being whispered about behind her back, but now she could not care less. She is a different person. Now Aileana is a faery killer, trained by a faery called Kiaran who, for some reason that he keeps to himself, has no problem killing his own kind. Kiaran has taught Aileana how to destroy the different kinds of faeries and every night she goes hunting. The disturbing thing is that she craves the kill, needs it. It is as if she has become some kind of monster herself, a person she barely recognizes; and yet she cannot set aside the need to kill, and she cannot stop hoping that one day she will come face to face with her mother’s killer.

One night Aileana and Kiaran are practicing when a redcap faery attacks. Two thousand years ago there was a battle between humans and the fae and most of the dangerous kinds of faeries were trapped in a magically sealed prison beneath the city of Edinburgh. Redcaps were one of the kinds that were banished and yet here is a redcap, and he is soon joined by others. Then a flying faery species attacks.

Aileana learns that the seal that is keeping the faeries prisoner is failing. After such a long time it is inevitable that the magic will weaken. In a few days’ time, during the moon’s eclipse, the seal will break and all the trapped faeries will be free to attack the people of Edinburgh. She also learns that she is the last in a long line of Falconers, faery killers.

Falconers were the ones who trapped the faeries all those years ago, and over the centuries one of the faeries who was not imprisoned, a creature called Sorcha, has been killing off the Falconers. Now that faeries know that she is a Falconer Aileana has a target on her back. Somehow she and Kiaran are going to have to prevent the trapped faeries from slaughtering the people of Edinburgh. Aileana has no idea how she and Kiaran are going to manage to hold back hundreds of angry and hungry faeries, but they have to try.

What makes her task all the harder is that she has to keep up the charade that she is a normal young woman; she has to keep her secrets to herself. Aileana’s father is eager for her to find her a husband. He, like everyone else in her life except for Kiaran and a pixie that she has befriended, has no idea what she is. He does not understand that marriage and all the trimmings of a normal life are no longer an option for Aileana.

This is the gripping first title in a trilogy that will take listeners into dark and terrifying places. With the exception of Aileana’s pixie friend, all the faeries in this story are terrible creatures, and poor Aileana has no choice but to follow her destiny, a destiny that she knew nothing about until recently. Her suffering and the ordeals that she has to go through are hard to witness, and we cannot help hoping that somehow the courageous, fiery young woman will prevail even though the odds are not in her favor.