Thursday, June 14, 2012

[review] Maggie Stiefvater - Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1)

Title: Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Books of Faerie, #1
Publisher: Flux
Format read: Paperback
Source: Local library
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky—and equally dangerous—dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen's sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren't so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn't exactly what she had in mind . . .

Lament is a dark faerie fantasy that features authentic Celtic faerie lore, plus cover art and interior illustrations by acclaimed faerie artist Julia Jeffrey.

Random paragraph: "I woke up giddy. Last night, I'd been weirded out by the experience in the church and the idea of faeries stalking me, but this morning, fully rested, with early pale light filtering in through the delicate white curtains, I felt on top of the world. All the negatives seemed far away, and my mind just kept replaying his kiss over and over again." (p. 97, paperback edition)

When I closed this book, I had a huge grin on my face. After a string of less-than-satisfying books, it felt amazing to read a book that worked.

Stiefvater was a name I'd heard a lot, but never got around to reading until this year. I read The Scorpio Races and fell in LOVE. It still remains the best book I've read all year; I wrote a gushing review of it on Goodreads and even tweeted her about it. THAT'S how much I loved it.

I went back and read Shiver, but it wasn't really my bag. However, the summary of this book intrigued me, so I borrowed it from the library and gave it a shot.

I'm really glad I did.

Deirdre Monaghan is a sixteen year-old harpist with performance anxiety issues. The story opens with her running to the bathroom to puke (which is usual before her recitals); however, this time, she's helped with a mysterious, yet beautiful boy from her dreams: Luke Dillon. After he helps her, the two do some quick, impromptu duets before she's whisked away to perform "officially" with her best friend, James.

Soon after, strange things start happening to Deirdre. Four-leafed clovers appear wherever she goes, soon followed by less-than-human creatures: playful, yet harmful. "They" are after her and her family, and she won't like much the truth of Luke's actual occupation.

I'll get the bad out of the way first: the insta-love at the beginning threw me off. Deirdre has a moment of "wow, you're from my dreams!" and then proceeds to fall in love with him as if there's no problem with that. Deirdre herself is borderline Sue (talented, attractive musician with telekinetic powers who thinks she's perfectly ordinary). And while most of the faeries were well-sculpted, I was a bit disappointed in the actual Queen when she made her appearance at the end; she was two-dimensional and a bit laughable.

But the other characters were wonderful. James is an absolute sweetheart, funny and loyal; Luke's a bit more brooding, but he has a sharp sense of humor and a certain playfulness to him. As for Deirdre? There were times when she drove me up the wall and I wanted to shake her, but she has a certain self-awareness to her that's sorely lacking in other YA heroines. I never doubted that she was a teenager for a minute, and her snark was sometimes delightful:
Previously, on Deirdre's Life: in the last installment of our show, Deirdre receives casual put-down from Sara, and because Deirdre's socially paralyzed, she takes it without a squeak.

This week on Deirdre's Life: Deirdre fights back.
Stiefvater's said before that she'll sacrifice everything in order to get across a certain feeling, and I believe it. One of the most memorable points of the book, for me, was just... well, have you ever been in a situation where somebody confesses their undying love for you, and you have no idea how to react because you just cannot feel the same way? This happens at one point, and I related to it much too well, because the way it was written was pretty much perfect.

Back on the subject of faeries: they are creepy. And awesome. Not outright, blatantly creepy, but creepy in that "you know that something's not right here" creepy:
There was one big difference from when I'd seen him before, though--this time, I could tell he was a faerie. It wasn't the sharp herbal scent that accompanied him into the store. Rather, he had the same kind of mind-boggling perfection as Eleanor, which I was beginning to think was the mark of a faerie. It wasn't that he was beautiful, though he was--it was the way the beauty hurt to look at.
The ending was fantastic. I wasn't left wanting more because of loose threads -- I wanted more because I wanted to see where these characters would go. I've heard from multiple sources that Ballad is even better, so I can't wait to get my hands on that.

Overall: A fun and fascinating tale of faerie, with memorable characters. Read it. Read it now!


  1. You reviews sounds absolutely wonderful! I've bought Shiver but haven't gotten down to reading it... I should keep an eye out for this one ;)


    1. Do! :3 I wasn't a huge fan of Shiver, but a ton of people love it. I really do love her writing style.

  2. Wow glad to hear you enjoyed it! I really love the author's writing style and I really enjoyed The Scorpio Races and Wolves of Mercy Falls series so I think I should try this one. I love the fact that you really enjoyed the characters!!!! Great review :)

    Following your blog :) Feel free to stop by my blog!

    1. Thanks for the comment! :D I hope you like this one!