Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

First published in 2008.

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand - one who can see fairies.

Unexpectedly, Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy named Luke who enters her ordinary life, seemingly out of thin air. But his interest in her might be something darker than summer romance. When a sinister faerie named Aodhan shows up with deadly orders from the Faerie Queen, it forces Dee right into the midst of Faerie. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend.

Deirdre had been wishing her summer weren't so dull, but taking on a centuries-old Faerie Queen isn't exactly what she had in mind. (inside book blurb)

You know, I'm not too sure how I felt about this one. It's not that I didn't like it but I wasn't thrilled with it either.

I was really thrown for a loop at the beginning of the book. I felt like I walked into the middle of the scene and it took me a few chapters to acclimate to what was going on. Luke just shows up out of nowhere and Dee knows his name from a dream. Maybe I skimmed over it but I don't remember it being clear about whether she really knew that guy or not. Then when it settled in that she didn't, and they decided to go on stage a do a duet together, I kind of went WTF? Would that really happen?

Speaking of really happening, I kept questioning the language of the MC. And unfortunately I kept comparing her to Bella Swan. Not in personality, just in language. It just felt far too advanced for the age of the character. She just turned 16, didn't she? For a girl in public school, that's a mighty SAT vocabulary she's got going on.

But back to the plot. It seems to jolt into the story, with Luke suddenly appearing, and then everything that's going on seems sidelong, as if viewed from the corner of your eye. Yeah, there's Freckle Freak that makes an appearance every once in a while but the threat seems to be just out of sight, pushed away by Luke, until the very end when he's not there to help. I also don't like how the real antagonist didn't even make an appearance until the last couple of chapters and then poof! Out of the way. It was kind of anticlimactic for me. The whole story is this woman being talked up like some psychotic bitch on a power trip and oh my god she's the be-all-end-all of Faerie Queens and then she's so easily thwarted. Meh. Not satisfied.

And I'm sorry, but every time it came to Dee singing, I just couldn't help but think about ultimate Mary Sues. Dee isn't a Sue but if you've ever taken the Mary Sue litmus test, one of the questions is whether your MC has a good singing voice. I just couldn't stop that association. So that kind of tainted it a little bit for me. Plus I just think it's weird to have characters singing. In any book, it's always my least favorite part because most of the time, I can't help but think it contrived.

As for the relationship between Luke and Dee . . . meh. Dee does become pretty reliant on Luke to get her out of tough situations but when the time comes for her to step up to the plate, she's capable which is a nice thing to see. Instead of relying on someone else's help, she finds the strength within to remedy the situation. That's an awesome thing right there. When all seems lost, the MC makes it not lost with no one's help but her own.

And so help me, every time Luke called Dee pretty girl, I wanted to punch him in the throat. From the second he said it I felt it was so patronizing, especially within the context of some of his sentences. There were times where I thought it actually belittled Dee but she loved him calling her that. Whatever. To each her own and some junk.

Overall, it was compelling despite its faults. I read it pretty quickly and Stiefvater does have a lyrical way with her words even though I felt the language was a little far beyond the MC. It's not bad. Not something I would necessarily pick up again but a pretty good read. I'm going to read the sequel simply because I have it sitting in my pile but if I didn't have it, I probably wouldn't read on. I was content with just this one.


Jen said...

My sister talks like Bella, she's 12. A bit disconcerting really.

Miss Cindy said...

hmmm, I haven't even heard of this book, but it sounds interesting :)

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

I know I've always spoken older than I really am... Maybe it's just the way some people think or what they read... I don't know.
Anyway, brilliant, honest review.

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