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Friday, September 17, 2010

‘Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception’ by Maggie STIEFVATER

From the BLURB:

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 . . .

Deirdre is a sixteen-year-old genius harpist. She is about to take the stage for a student music competition when a young man (who happens to have featured in some of her most recent and interesting dreams) approaches her. Luke Dillon is golden and beautiful, he plays the flute as well as Deirdre plays the harp, and together they make sweet music.
Deirdre knows that there is something strange about Luke. She knows it is odd when she starts finding four-leaf clovers everywhere, and the smell of thyme hangs in the air. But Luke feels so much a part of her, like her life was just stalling until he came along...

But Deirdre cannot ignore the unordinary for long. Not when her Granna insists she wear iron jewellery and watch out for ‘Them’. Deirdre cannot ignore Luke’s mysterious riddles or the fact that he’s always looking over his shoulder. And pretty soon Deirdre will have to face the fact that Luke Dillon is a faerie Queen’s assassin, and he has been sent to kill her...

‘Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception’ is sublime.
I really shouldn’t be surprised that I loved this book, considering the fact that Stiefvater’s ‘Wolves of Mercy Falls’ is an all-time favourite YA series of mine. But I had put off reading Stiefvater’s 2008 debut novel in case it didn’t hold a candle to ‘Shiver’... but as it turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

‘Lament’ is a modern faerie-tale. Stiefvater draws on Shakespearean and folklore tales and beautifully weaves old-world mythology into this modern-day young adult novel.
This is what I love most about Stiefvater, and what she does in ‘Wolves of Mercy Falls’ she also brings to ‘Lament’... and that is effortlessly blending ancient fantasy with the modern day. Yes, ‘Lament’ has toadstool-dancing faeries, but at its heart the book is a love story about young lovers and their desperation to be together.

Deirdre is a child prodigy; a musical genius destined for great things. But deep down, she just wants to be ordinary. Deirdre doesn’t want to be loved for her potential; she wants to be loved as she is. Likewise, Luke is a character haunted by his past who wants to be judged and accepted based not on his previous actions, but current loyalties.
Luke Dillon is utterly fascinated by Deirdre and her hunger for ordinariness. Deirdre is dazzled by Luke’s quirkiness and his secrets... they are each other’s soul-mate. They strive to make the other a better, truer person – to be honest about who they are and what they care about.

That’s another thing I love about Stiefvater’s books – the fact that they are romances, made no less epic for their teenage protagonists. Luke and Deirdre have a very deep, passionate love affair that is entirely believable and beautiful. Stiefvater is a YA author who treats her readership with respect and grants her young hero’s the weightiness they deserve. Her teenage characters are their own saviours, and their romances are not based on naive ‘puppy-love’ but a truer, deeper connection.
Though his mouth was as hot as the hidden summer sun, I shivered and closed my eyes. My hands were crushed between us – I wouldn’t have known what to do with them anyway. He kissed me again, farther up my neck, and I pushed him back against the wall.
My mind searched for logical thought, a rational life raft before I drowned in wanting to kiss him. I managed, “We’ve only met a few days ago. We don’t know each other.”
Luke released me. “How long does it take to know someone?”
I didn’t know. “A month? A few months?” It sounded stupid to quantify it, especially when I didn’t want to believe my own reasoning.
The double-edged sword which could work against ‘Lament’ is its similarity to the ‘Wolves of Mercy Falls’ series. On the one hand, as a Stiefvater fan coming to ‘Lament’ via ‘Shiver’, it was a relief that this book captivated me as much as her latest series. But the storylines are somewhat similar. Young girl discovers magical world in her ordinary life, falling in love with a boy from that universe. Music has a special significance in both books, and the romances are somewhat similar for the quiet girl/extraordinary boy dynamic.
It might be nice to read a Maggie Stiefvater book that is unlike anything she has ever written... but at the same time I love her writing and style and that old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ may apply.

‘Lament’ also reminded me (faintly) of Melissa Marr’s ‘Wicked Lovely’ series. The obvious connection being the faerie theme, as both books hark back to old-world mythology and sonnet and both Maggie Stiefvater and Melissa Marr write a very mature romance for their YA readers. But the similarities are superficial at best – the overarching plot is entirely different, and each series is distinctive for the writer’s vastly different prose style. Still, if you are a fan of Melissa Marr’s books then ‘Lament’ will probably hit the spot for you too...

I love Maggie Stiefvater’s ‘Wolves of Mercy Falls’ series. Her debut book ‘Lament’ is just as brilliant; a young adult literary feat that delights for the melting romance and Stiefvater’s charming style. A definite must-read for YA connoisseurs.

5/5

3 comments:

  1. Hmm... may I should give Stiefvater a try one day.

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  2. I've put off reading this series for the same reason - what if it didn't measure up to the wolves? Plus, I'm not a big fan of fairies. BUT, you haven't steered me wrong yet :)

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  3. i really enjoyed this book but what was the significance of why the title was the title. In the book how was deirdre the faerie girl???

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