Welcome back to The Falconer readalong! I’m thrilled to be recapping this week, as this is probably my favourite section of the book (you’ll see why down below).
We last left Aileana in an awkward place as she was approached by Kiaran while taking a walk with Catherine and her maid Dora. After Catherine gets a dose of fae sickness and gropes Kiaran, he glamours them away and Aileana gets an earful.
We finally find out what a Falconer is! They are women designed to fight fae—stronger, faster healing, and more attuned to detecting them. The ability is matrilineal, and why Aileana’s mother was brutally murdered. I would have liked a falcon companion for Aileana, but maybe later in the series. Kiaran also asks Aileana keep Derrick with her, as Derrick is able to shield her from other fae.
As Aileana is trying to process this, she is interrupted by her Father, who gives her an ultimatum – she must be married before the season is over. It’s very sad that her father still hasn’t got over what happened to her mother and partially blames Aileana for it. It’s a very chilly relationship between these two.
In an attempt to make good, Aileana attends another ball at Catherine’s (with Derrick in tow). I would also be bored by all these mundane, older aristocrats, but luckily she is saved by my favourite character in the book, Gavin. Catherine’s brother has been studying at Oxford for the last two years, but they were childhood friends and she’s missed having him around.
Gavin steals a dance with Aileana and notices Derrick on her shoulder. Turns out that Gavin is a Seer, who can see fae and get visions of fae attacking humans. Derrick lopes off to steal honey from the kitchen while they go chat in Gavin’s study about his brush with death, and the visions that have been haunting him.
Then they get attacked. I love the fight sequences in this book, which always get my heart racing. May is really adept at writing engaging, scrappy, brutal fights. This entire sequence is the best, as after they manage to kill the first creature, a pack comes after them. There are guns, seilgflur bombs, an ornithopter chase, glorious banter and it all ends with Aileana dropping into the Forth. Somewhere in between, Aileana finally opens up about her and her mother and Gavin takes it all with the grace and deadpan humour of a true gentleman. He’s so awesome.
The next morning, Aileana is even more disgraced as she was spotted coming home in her dishevelled state. Her father is very disappointed in her, so he has accepted an offer for her hand in marriage from the Earl of Galloway—Gavin as we have come to know and love him. Aileana is shocked and angry (hopefully not because she doesn’t like Gavin, but because she’s got murder as a number one priority), but rages in private.
I’m just going to declare it – I know it’s a sinking ship, but I love these two so much together that I’m firmly in the Team Gavin camp. Their abilities are conveniently in sync and Aileana doesn’t have to hide who she is from him. Plus there is genuine chemistry and affection between them. I’m already a fan of the arranged marriage trope, but this is by far my favourite use of it.
Kiaran shows up at her house to give her another earful, when Aileana starts bleeding. Then Gavin arrives and says ‘Get the hell away from my fiancee, you bastard.’ CHILLS!
These chapters are my favourite because of all the Gavin goodness. Also that escaping the ball sequence is the best.
What did you think of these chapters? What’s going to happen when Gavin and Kiaran finally meet? Tune in next week for a recap and my thoughts on Chapters 23-29!
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