The Falconer Series
Author: Elizabeth May
The Vanishing Throne
The Fallen Kingdom (Ex. Pub June 2017)
Published by: Chronicle Books LLC
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Romance
Amazon Summary for The Falconer
Edinburgh, 1844. Beautiful Aileana Kameron only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. In fact, she's spent the year since her mother died developing her ability to sense the presence of Sithichean, a faery race bent on slaughtering humans. She has a secret mission: to destroy the faery who murdered her mother. But when she learns she's a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors and the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity, her quest for revenge gets a whole lot more complicated. The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller blends romance and action with steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.
I’m minutes from finishing The Vanishing Throne, and I’m still reeling from Elizabeth May’s cliffhanger! It’s her thing. I was hoping this book wouldn’t end as abruptly as the first; it was only slightly better. Despite May’s less-than-appealing method for ending stories, she writes a really fun series.
Aileana is to fae as Buffy is to vampires—she slays them with super human strength and speed. And like Buffy, Aileana is inconspicuous in her role. A select few know of her gift while she attempts to protect humans from being consumed by faeries. Aileana is fueled by revenge for her mother’s death, but also by love for her friends. She feels responsible for the lives of all mankind, and carries the weight of their protection on her shoulders. But she’s not alone. Kiaran is Aileana’s trainer and partner against the fae, but he’s also an extremely powerful one himself with lots of secrets.
Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Published by: HarperTeen; Reprint edition
Publication date: June 25, 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Horror
Summary from Goodreads:
Philadelphia 1876. The Dead are rising. A zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor Fitt. Whoever controls the Dead Army has her brother. She avoids her mother's choice of husband for the lab of Spirit Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel. The situation threatens her reputation, and the lives of everyone in the city.
Welcome to a whole different kind of zombie book. Something Strange and Deadly is great for those of you who like historical fiction and steampunk. Throw in a little voodoo and necromancing and - KAPOW - you've got the perfect niche Halloween series for Zombie Week.
Eleanor is a brave heroine, who has a sense of humor about herself and can fight off a zombie with her parasol (with no combat-parasol training at all!). She's determined to find her missing brother and faithful in her pursuit, no matter what social rules she might break. Her pursuit leads her to the Spirit Hunters, who are trying their best to rid the city of supernatural danger.
If voodoo themes and reanimating the dead are not your thing, than this series is not for you. I only read the first book. I think I just wasn't in the right mood. However, besides some violence against zombies (nothing graphic), this book is nice and clean.
Age recommendation: 13
Language – Mild to none (maybe an old-fashioned Damn)
Drugs & Alcohol – none
Sex – It's been a while since I've read it. There might be a kiss.
Violence – They fight zombies, but it's not gory
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy Something Strange and Deadly on Amazon.com
Author: Gail Carriger
Books: Etiquette & Espionage; Curtsies & Conspiracies; Waistcoats & Weaponry; Manners & Mutiny (pub Nov. 2015)
Published by: Little, Brown and Company
Genres: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Paranormal, Historical Fiction
At the age of 14, Sophronia is recruited for a finishing school – Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Little does she know that she won’t only be learning to pour tea and host a dinner party, but she’ll learn the arts of an intelligencer – lady spies hidden in society. Sophronia also doesn’t realize she’s going to be very good at intelligencing – one of the best.
It’s 1851 in the British Empire. Mechanicals serve households and humans live alongside vampires and werewolves. All under the Queen: vampires, werewolves, and Picklemen (human evil geniuses) fight for power. Meanwhile, girls are trained at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Academy for Young Ladies of Quality and will someday have to choose patrons or sides in this power struggle.
The finishing series is set in the same world as Gail Carriger’s other series – Parasol Protectorate. I haven’t read it, which may be why the details of this world’s society was confusing. It wasn’t until the third book that I started to understand the politics behind the story. However, that also may have been intentional, as the themes and topics of the books get more mature as Sophronia grows into a woman intelligencer. Despite the confusion, Carriger is a clever, imaginative writer who created a smart, capable heroine. Although the content of the books sounds dark, it’s remarkably lighthearted, especially in the first two books. Sophronia may combat a crazed werewolf and up-to-no-good flywaymen, but she also skirmishes with a mechanical chaise lounge guard dog (it’s exactly as it sounds). There are actual characters named Mrs. Barnaclegoose and Lord Dingleproops.
If you’re disappointed Sophronia's world includes vampires and werewolves, you’re not alone. I resisted the series for that reason. I’m tired of the Twilight-induced obsession. However, I was able to enjoy the series, maybe because these characters don’t take center stage (at least not in the first book).
One thing I loved about Carriger's series: there's an overarching story woven through, but each book has an individual story with a conclusion. No cliffhangers here! If you prefer to read a series all at once, this is a good year to pick up Finishing School. The final, fourth book, Manners & Mutiny, comes out in November. You can pre-order it on Amazon.
Would I let my teen read this series?
Like Harry Potter, this series matures with the age of the character. While Harry might be 10 in the first book, I’d take some time to consider if my 10 year old should read the whole series. Sophronia is 14 when the story begins, but she’s 16 by the third book. The third book is more mature, as the girls are introduced to lessons of seduction and Sophronia becomes more physically aware of her love interests. The publisher recommends 6th grade and up for this series, which is appropriate for Etiquette & Espionage (Book 1). If your teen is going to read the whole series, I recommend waiting until they’re 15.
Age recommendation: 15
Sex – There’s some innocent kissing, and noticing of muscles
Violence – Some fist and weapon fighting; violence associated with werewolves and vampires— In Curtsies & Conspiracies (Book 2) you read about a vampire feeding from several people to revive himself; In Waistcoats & Weaponry (Book 3) one of the characters is transformed into a werewolf (to save his life) which includes a violent bite to the neck.
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy: Etiquette & Espionage (Book 1) - on Amazon.com
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.