by Elizabeth May
Pages: 378 - Also known as too short.
Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.
Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844
Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.
Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.
But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?
From the first moment I saw this blurb I knew this book and I were made for each other. I was a bit skeptical of the whole faery thing because really the only faery books I've read (that I recall) are Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. They were good, but faerie stories don't exactly blow me away. However, the historical setting (SCOTLAND!) with its balls and pretty dresses coupled with the promise of a vengeaful and badass heroine, I was game.
So. Did it deliver?
HECK YES! AND MORE!!
Oh, Aileana. You may be vengeful and full of blood-lust, yet I adore you anyways. Not only do you have every reason to be the way you are (AVENGE YOUR MOTHER!) but I adored you because you were never beyond redemption. Though you want your vengeance, you still had heart and cared for your friends. You were witty and crass. And you're intelligent! You're a tinkerer who makes her own awesome steam-punkery weapons! Can't get much cooler than that!But I also totally feel your apathy towards balls and societal manners in the wake of your tragedy. It's hard to try and be the society girl everyone expects while hunting faeries on the side. Ooooo. Debutante by day, fae hunter by night. It's got a nice ring to it, no?
Also, these faeries are bad news. They aren't you sweet little faeries with with beautiful iridescent wings. Oh no. There is a whole class system dealing with these buggers and some of them are some ugly sons of guns. And deadly. With claws. And teeth. They maim and destroy humans. Aileana is just doing her civic duty and destroying them before they destroy her. Ya know, self-defense and all. That's justified, right?
And now to talk about the REAL reason I love this book.
Okay, I didn't love this book solely based on him, but Kiaran was definitely a welcome addition. He's hard to describe exactly, but oh so delicious all the same. All the swoon worthy moments and passing touches were just... *fans self*. A stoic, deadly, mysterious fae who teaches Aileana all she needs to know about hunting his kind. If I told you why, that'd be spoilers. So read the book to find out. Also, KIARAN.
something else that I really adore in books....
An awesome BFF! Catherine is as awesome as a book BFF gets. This girl knows something is going on and even though she doesn't know what exactly, she sticks up for Aileana anyways. She's always saving Aileana's hide and lying about where she's been so people don't get suspicious (though it's hard when you come back in tatters). That's true friendship right there.
Also, Derikk. Adored him too. Yes, I seem to adore all the characters. FOR GOOD REASON! He's a tiny faerie who lives in Aileana's closet and hems her clothes. He's feisty and always speaks his mind, especially when it pertains to Kiaran. Oh, and he gets drunk off honey, hilariously so.
Okay, so this book isn't all about the characters. There is also a plot full of non-stop, gory faerie butt-whooping. And it is glorious. While Aileana is hell-bent on revenge, there is SO much more going on here than she realizes. Add in the awesome setting with it's lushness and the steampunk aspects, and you've got a novel as glorious as Elizabeth May's hair.
Seriously, have you seen her hair? GORGEOUS!
And then came the end....believe me, I was warned. I knew that this book had a hard ending with a massive cliffhanger. The fact that EVERYONE was blowing their tops over it meant it was a doozy. I thought I was prepared.
I was not.
YOU CAN'T END A BOOK LIKE THAT!!! YOU CAN'T DO THAT TO ME! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!
NO! JUST NO! I CAN'T.....I CAN'T DEAL!!!! KIARANNN!!! AILEANA!!!!
EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!! I REFUSE!!!!!
Got that off my chest.
Just.....guys, even if I warn you, it's still a doozy. As I was reading through the last couple pages, I was thinking of all these scenarios in which it could be a horrible cliffhanger. This wasn't just a cliffhanger. THIS WAS ENDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A PARAGRAPH! THE MIDDLE OF A SCENE! It's like if the last Harry Potter movie cut off right in the middle of the BIG EPIC battle between Voldemort and Harry and you have no idea what's going to happen if you didn't read the books.
Shame on you. And they're like
Gotta wait a year to see if Harry's going to make it!!!!
NO. JUST NO. I NEED BOOK TWO NOW! No, make that YESTERDAY!
Pure awesomeness. I love that Aileana isn't perfect and is moved by grief and revenge. I feel for her. I wanted to hug her and then go kick some faerie butt. But she's not all vengeance. She's witty, stubborn and intelligent! All the secondary characters were spot on (here's to looking at you Kiaran). The setting was lush and beautiful and was made all the more wonderful with its slight steampunk elements (most of which Aileana made. Her weapons are AWESOME!). The plot was full of awesome steampunkery, bloody, actiony goodness that I couldn't get enough of. And, though that ending had me sitting there with my mouth hanging open and seriously contemplating throwing the book across the room, I forgive it because everything else is so awesome. Also, the author's got beautiful hair. Seriously though. I wish I had her hair.
-minus half a dot for that FREAKING CLIFFHANGER!