Review: The Last Falcon by Colleen Ruttan

The Last FalconWarning: Do not start reading this book until you’ve cleared your schedule. Take the dog out, make lots of tea, and have snacks available. Once you start, you won’t want to stop reading.

At the age of fourteen, Erynn Taylor witnesses her father’s murder. Luckily she escapes the same fate when a dragon suddenly appears and lunges at the attackers, providing Erynn the chance to slip away. Granted the dragon saved her, but the young woman is denied the opportunity to avenge her father’s brutal slaying.

Two years later, Erynn is King Wryden’s scribe and a helper in the castle’s kitchen. Out of the blue, the man who murdered her father appears to visit the king. Erynn wants justice, but the murderer is a lord and having him arrested is not a simple task. To make matters worse, his visit, while friendly, is a threat to Alyria since he’s allied with the Wryden’s enemy. Soon Erynn is swept up into a mystery. Erynn isn’t who she thought she was and now the young woman has to decide if she’ll stay to get justice and more than likely die or flee.

Right from the start, Ruttan throws the reader into the midst of action. At first there aren’t enough details to know who is good and who is bad. This sense of dread and questioning doesn’t let up, heightening the suspense.

It’s refreshing to have a young adult fantasy novel with two female leads. Erynn is in trouble and when she flees, her best friend, Adena joins her. The young women don’t seek a male to rescue them and the author doesn’t conjure up a knight in shining armor to swoop in and lead them on their quest. Erynn and Adena aren’t super women by any means, but they rely on their cunning and friendship to survive.

The story includes dragons, elves, and dwarves, but for those who fear the author pulls too much from Lewis and Tolkien, fear not. Ruttan puts her own spin on the fantasy tradition, which will inspire and hopefully attract many young readers. And even with all the fantasy elements, the story still feels real enough and is easy to believe.

The continuous action doesn’t allow for much breathing room, and yet, not a whole lot happens in the first book in the series. Some readers may not even notice the lack of events until they finish the book and think back. Colleen Ruttan’s skillful writing and storytelling abilities sweep under the rug her true intent: to set up the rest of the series.

This is the first book in a seven volume fantasy series. The Last Falcon: Book 1 of the Cael Stone will convince many readers that the rest of books will be exciting and well worth the wait. However, it should be noted that the first book ends abruptly. For those who prefer more resolution, this is not the book for you. It seems like the author found a convenient place to stop and Ruttan is hoping readers will come back for more. Given the level of excitement that she created in this first story will more than likely persuade many of her fans to pick up the second book in the series. It will be interesting to see if the author ends the second one just as abruptly. If she does, I really hope Ruttan can create the following books quickly so readers don’t have to wait too long for each installment.