The Falcon Quinn
series is a series of children's fantasy novels by Jennifer Boylan, previously a writer for adults.The titular Falcon
is an almost-thirteen-year-old boy who lives with his grandmother in a small town in Maine. One day, on the freezing cold Spring Equinox, he nearly falls through the frozen pond in pursuit of his tuba. He doesn't think too much of it at first, and gets on the schoolbus with his classmates Max and Megan. But rather than winding up at school, they find themselves taken to a strange building with no architectural solidity, and are greeted by a strange woman who informs them that they're all monsters!
They've come to an Academy for Monsters, a place which seeks to educate them and their many fellow students about their monster nature... and how to repress it. Monsters, in addition to scaring humans, are hunted by the guardians—so-called "protectors" of humans. Of course, many monsters hold no love for humans, either. To top it all off, Falcon doesn't even know what kind of monster he is!
Now he and his friends must make a choice: Do they stick with their cool new powers despite the odds, or do they try to blend in to survive?
Despite that somewhat-grim descriptor, this is a mostly lighthearted
series that relies heavily on humor (as well as strong dialogue and characterization) to help tell its story and build its world.
This series contains examples of:
- All Guitars Are Stratocasters: And a classic Strat at that.
- Aloof Big Brother: Jonny, though not a big brother, otherwise fits quite well.
- Alpha Bitch: Merideath, who completely abandons Destynee when she finds out Destynee isn't a vampire.
- An Ice Person: Vega has an amulet that can freeze people.
- Animal Theme Naming: Falcon and his father, Crow follow a bird theme.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: For centuries, monsters and guardians have been in balance. Both sides want Falcon to choose them, as he could tip the balance... but he choses to be both, becoming an angel and maintaining the balance. For now.
- In the second book, it's taken further by revealing that the balance is literal: All monsters have a guardian counterpart, and vice versa. Falcon is the only monster without one, which is why he is quite important to said balance.
- Becoming the Mask: "Never forget, Falcon, whatever happens... I truly was your friend."
- Beware My Stinger Tail: Beware the poison of La Chupakabra, the famous goatsucker of Peru!
- Be Yourself
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Max is a sasquatch, and quite proud of that fact.
- Blessed with Suck: Destynee, who finds out that she is a giant enchanted slug. However, she does eventually figure out it's more blessed than suck.
- Brain in a Jar: Quimby, though he's less a brain and more a strange, disembodied head.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Max!
- Catch Phrase:
- Max: "Excellent!"
- Pearl: "La Chupakabra, the famous goatsucker of Peru!"
- Jonny: "It's just this thing I can do."
- Mr. Slate: "Shaddap!"
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase
- Chekhov's Skill: Falcon's tuba-playing ability, which ressurrects his friends who were turned into music.
- Deadpan Snarker: Quimby does well for being a head in a jar.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Played with—Pearl insists on "defeating" Falcon and Megan in a fight (by swatting them with rolled-up magazines, as you do) before declaring that this defeat has made them friends. Which is all a part of...
- The Dulcinea Effect: Pearl suffers from a platonic version, in that she is willing to swear herself the lifelong friend of pretty much everyone she meets and is willing to die defending them. Quimby even lampshades this tendency: "Are you sure you want to be tied to these kids for life?]]
- Elemental Powers: Elementals, natch, of which Megan is one.
- Eloquent In My Native Tongue: A variation—Shakespeare is said to have secretly been a Frankenstein, and the monsters consider his original "Frankenstein" drafts of his plays (which are written in Hulk Speak) to be far more beautiful and lyrical than the "human translations."
- Similarly, Sparkbolt's poems, despite being written in the same Hulk Speak, are considered to be quite eloquent by his Franken-peers.
- Enemy Within: Falcon's guardian half. Or his monster half, if you look at things from the guardian point of view.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies
- Eye Beams: Each of Falcon's eyes has a different kind. The black one has more typical Heat Vision, while the blue one can heal people, even from the brink of death.
- Feather Motif
- Forgot I Could Fly: Falcon often forgets to use his wings.
- Frankenstein's Monster: Generically called Frankensteins here. And before you fly into an Insistent Terminology rage, note that this is a school that plays home to 30+ different species of monsters; what better is there to call a reanimated corpse with bolts in its neck when the "accepted" term is just "monster?"
- Freakiness Shame: Weems likes Destynee's slug form.
- Freaky Is Cool
- Friendless Background: Prior to coming to the school, Falcon lamented that he didn't really fit in with any of the school cliques (prep, jock, emo, etc.) and was thus usually excluded. At the school, this continues—first he doesn't know what kind of monster he is, and even when he does, he's still the only angel.
- Fun Personified: Mr. Hake wishes he could be this. He is not, however, quite there.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Vega, with shades of Evil Matriarch.
- Good Thing You Can Heal
- Gratuitous Spanish: Pearl, though she is Peruvian.
- Happiness Is Mandatory: Mr. Hake tries to enforce this.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Destynee's slug-form. Great, she can turn into a garden mollusk... Oh, but she can also turn into slime and reform herself, letting herself sneak through cracks and hide efficiently.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Gone to extremes with Max and Pearl, one of whom is a seven-foot sasquatch and the other of whom is a fourteen-inch fairy-like chupacabra.
- Hulk Speak: Most Frankensteins speak like this, with the most notable being Sparkbolt. He's considered quite eloquent for a Frankenstein, though.
- I Am Who?: Given quite a send-up by Ms. Redflint: "We're not going to have that conversation, are we? The one where you say, 'Oh, but monsters don't exist!' and I say 'Ah, but that's where you're wrong...'" on and on, et cetra.
- The Igor: Algol, though he has an atypical Cockney accent. And The Starscream tendencies where the staff's concerned.
- Ill Boy: Linky.
- Insistent Terminology: At Guardian Academy, the teachers insist that Falcon isn't a monster, he's a Celestial. Totally different.
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: "HOORAY CAKE!" However, due to the cake being promised by the Happiness Is Mandatory Mood-Swinger Mr. Hake, it's somewhat... off-putting.
- Little Miss Badass: Pearl!
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The relevant members of the student body alone include Falcon, Max, Megan, Pearl, Jonny, Linky, Destynee, Weems, Merideath, Sparkbolt, Mortia, Anhk, Woody, Peeler, and several others yet still.
- Mark of the Supernatural: Falcon has heterochromia, which, for a long while, is the only real sign of his monster-dom. It's still not clear which of his eyes is his "monster" eye and which is his "guardian" eye. While it initially seems obvious that blue is guardian and black is monster, his black eye also seems to have a hatred for monsters and a guardian-esque lust for destruction, and in terms of Color-Coded for Your Convenience, Crow's fireballs are blue, like Falcon's healing powers. And healing is more fitting of an angelic nature than fireballs.
- The Masochism Tango: Crow and Vega. "Has anybody ever told you two that you have the weirdest marriage ever?!"
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: It's debatable whether Crow is this or a more standard Loners Are Freaks example. On the one hand, he truly does seem to regret being separate from Falcon and his reasons for being trapped in the tower really do suck. On the other hand, he's shown to have no problems with threatening to kill children if their allegiance would waver. He's scary.
- The Mole: Jonny.
- Monster Mash
- Mood-Swinger: Mr. Hake, who goes from Tastes Like Diabetes to RAAAWRG in less than a second.
- Most Writers Are Writers: Sparkbolt, the writing Frankenstein, tends to get a lot of writer-based in-jokes in his dialogue.
- My Brain Is Big: Dr. Medulla.
- My Nayme Is: Many monsters have these, with the most notable being "Merideath."
- Noodle Incident: "Chamber X." A Deleted Scene (available on the website) shows what happened there, though.
- Only Sane Man: Lincoln firmly believes himself to be this, and thinks the Academy is an asylum.
- Our Monsters Are Different
- Please Select New City Name: Anhk is from Cairo... Indiana.
- Prison Break
- Psychic Dreams for Everyone
- Puppy Love: Many, In-Universe.
- Raised by Grandparents: Falcon was raised by his grandmother. His father can't leave a tower due to a curse and his mother's insane.
- Secret Test of Character: The Academy's first few weeks, to see who has the courage to remain a monster. However, given a few lines from Falcon's grandmother early on, the results of the test might be debatable...
- Shout-Out: Zombies can gain powers by singing and dancing. Hmmm...
- There's a band that plays strange kinds of percussion. It's composed entirely of green men.
- Similar Squad: When Falcon ends up at Guardian high school in the second book, he encounters a number of people who are eerily similar to the people he knows at the Academy. Jonny reveals that this is because monsters all have a guardian counterpart, which sheds some new light on the Balance Between Good and Evil subplot.
- Stellar Theme Naming: The guardian elite have names like Vega and Cynus.
- Strange Syntax Speaker: Mr. Pupae, the mothman. It speaks this way to us!
- Totally Radical: Max, like, could totally be Bill & Ted's excellent lost third amigo! Dude! (It seems to be a sasquatch thing; Woody and Peeler are the same way).
- We Can Rule Together: Vega offers princedom of the guardians to Falcon.
- Winged Humanoid: Crow. And, by extension, Falcon.
- Who You Gonna Call?: The guardians hunt monsters. Of course, when your good guys are the monsters, well...
- The World Is Just Awesome: Pearl takes Falcon and Megan for a ride through the sky, which delights them both. And foreshadows that they'll both be able to fly on their own soon.
- Would Hurt a Child: Both Vega and Crow seem to have no problems with this, which highly distresses Falcon (seeing as they're his parents and all).
- Your Vampires Suck: Ms. Redflint does not think highly of vampires, and considers them walking superiority/inferiority complexes. What with the angst and the "twilight brooding" and all.