I'm so excited to be kicking off this blog tour! I recently finished the first book and completely fell in love with the world and its characters. There's a lot of exciting stuff in this post, but first I'm going to review the first book.
Paperback, 378 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Chronicle Books
Genre: YA paranormal steampunk fantasy
She's a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.
She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense thesìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.
She's a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.
She's a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.
The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.
SO GOOD!!! Also, SWOON!
I can't believe I waited this long to start this series. I'd heard good thing about the first book, so when I got the chance to be on the blog tour for the second book, I decided it was time to start this series. And I'm so glad I did! There was nonstop action from the very beginning that held until the very end, something I'm always grateful for in a fantasy. Our main character is such a badass, but also so multifaceted and relatable. I honestly felt like both of these things are what a lot of fantasies are missing these days, and I was so happy to find such wonderful qualities in this book. The writing was witty and fun at times, but with a delicious undertone of what the characters has faced and were going to face. I always find it fun to read when the characters are trying to lead their normal lives while simultaneously doing something extraordinary.
Something else I really liked about this book was that it wasn't just one thing. The story could've fit in any sort of setting, so the author did just that. It's a fantasy, but it's also historical and steampunk and paranormal. And even though this sounds like a lot, it worked so well together. It also helped to have a great cast of characters, although I wish I got to see more of Aileana's friend Catherine. I appreciated how Aileana's character was developed, and also how her relationship with Gavin wasn't a love triangle. At first I thought it was going to be, but I was happy to be proved wrong. Because I completely fell in love with Kiaran! I know he has all these secrets and a long, dark past, but he obviously has some sort of feelings for Aileana. That was such an awful cliffhanger, so I'm so glad that I have the second book in my hands already. I can't wait to see what happens!
Starting the sequel right now!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
On the Joy of Writing Outdoors (In a Country Where it Rains 90% of the Time) – Elizabeth May
A lot of authors talk about the effort that goes into book writing, which amounts to spending a great deal of time sitting and staring at a computer screen. My problems tend to centre around difficulties focusing and the constant desire to go outside and do something, because that’s the way my creativity operates. It doesn’t help that I’m always looking out my window all, “Hey there, Edinburgh. You’re kinda beautiful.” Good lord, just look at it:
The atmosphere! The beauty! I’m obsessed.
While Edinburgh’s coffee shops are a great alternative on rainy days (which, OK, is the weather in Scotland like 90% of the time), I don’t want to waste our rare sunny, warm days sitting indoors when I can be outside getting a nice tan (bahahaha sunburn, let’s just be real).
So I decided I’d start giving outdoor writing a try. I picked up this ancient piece of technology called an Alphasmart:
They stopped making new Alphasmarts in 2004, which compared to contemporary laptops or tablets is kind of like using an abacus instead of a calculator. But it gets 20 hours of life out of 3 AA batteries, unlike my laptop which says it has 7 hours of battery life but that is lies lies lies and goddamn lies.
With my outdated digital typewriter in tow, I’ve scoured the city for my ideal outdoor writing places in Edinburgh, and here they are complete with pretty pictures (all my own):
1. Dean Village
While it’s got a bit more touristy in recent years, Dean Village still has plenty of lovely places to sit and write in relative peace. I head out there when I want the river to drown out the noise and surround myself in quaint architecture.
File under: Places Where You Feel Like You’ve Gone Back in Time Until A Tour Group Interrupts Your Thoughts, Sits Next To You, And Asks You WTF You’re Doing There With That Ancient Looking Laptop Thing.
2. St. Bernard’s Well
Another place that’s alongside the river, and pretty ideal for long sitting. See? Plenty of benches, great views, and oh look at that pretty architectural wonder you get to sit right next to. How lovely is that?
File under: Places Where You Could, Theoretically, Not That I’ve Ever Done This, Nap Between Writing Sprints.
3. Edinburgh Botanical Gardens
The botanical gardens are excellent for sitting out in a pretty place where you still have easy access to a loo if you drink too much coffee (*ahem*) or a cafe if you have a craving for cakes and cookies (*AHEM*). I love it because it has this Victorian glass house (pictured above), and a great number of unusual plants and trees and places to explore.
File Under: Places to Go If You Want to Sit Outside And Write But Your Bladder Hates You And Wants to Ruin Everything.
4. Holyrood Park
When I’m feeling particularly energetic, I climb Arthur’s Seat or visit Holyrood Park. I write either at the top of the mountain or in the grassy meadow somewhere. The park has one of the best views of the city, though I like to go there when I want to feel as if I were in the country. There are several gorgeous lochs to sit by (with swans that are all too comfortable around people because guess who feeds them?) and taking a walk between writing sprints is excellent for the creative process.
File Under: Atmospheric Places With Swans Who Might Look Beautiful But Are Only Using You For Your Food And Don’t Actually Even Like You.
5. Any Cemetery in Edinburgh
Just going to be honest: the place to work outside with a reasonable expectation of peace and quiet are Edinburgh’s cemeteries. I personally love them because I use them as inspiration for character names. But they’re also eerie and silent and Edinburgh’s graveyards are incredibly gorgeous. Spooky scenes come naturally while writing here.
File Under: Places To Write If You Don’t Mind Occasionally Scaring the Crap Out of Yourself
With summer now here (thank goodness), I highly recommend giving outdoor writing a try. You never know what kind of lovely places you’ll find that will bring out your creativity in the best way.
xx Elizabeth May
Since this is the blog tour for the second book, please comment below with your favorite fantasy for the chance to win The Vanishing Throne, the second book in the series.
Must be 13 years or older to enter.
Tweet about the giveaway and mention it in your comment for an extra point.