Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release date: 3rd January 2011 UK
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Target audience: 12+
UK Publisher: Scholastic
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but 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. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass - a soulless faerie assassin - and she is his next target.
Lament is an intense story introducing faeries in a new light, as well as refreshing old myths and the Celtic heritage in a gripping way.
Deirdre Monaghan is a shy, introverted and musically gifted teenager to whom music is one of the most important things in life. She likes to play her harp, but has terrible stage fright - until one concert when mysterious Luke Dillon plays a stunning duet with her. That duet changes Deirdre's life in many ways because it makes her known to creatures that are dangerous. A strong bond forms between her and Luke, but Deirdre cannot fully enjoy her first and very intense romance because strange and sinister things are happening - and they have everything to do with Luke. She gets tangled with the world of the Fae and the terrible thing is that, not only do they want her, but Luke, the boy she loves, is a faeries assassin and she is his next target. However, when Luke cannot kill her, his decision starts a dangerous battle and Deirdre will have to do everything to save her life, as well as Luke's.
I really loved the plot. It was well thought out and beautifully written, as Stiefvater's use of language is very lyrical and smooth. The plot is a bit slow at first, but it picks up a delightful pace after a few chapters and reaches an intense peak that dissolves into an appropriate denouement. The atmosphere is very Celtic, although the setting is an American town. Once the world of the Fae is becoming revealed to the reader, things become incredibly interesting. Stiefvater based the world of the Fae on Celtic mythology, while adding her own delightful spin on the magical creatures. I truly loved this aspect of the novel and some things were truly original to me. I loved the use of Irish/Celtic ballads and the whole world of the Fae was truly well outlined. It was a pleasure to read about it.
Deirdre and Luke are great characters. I liked the introverted, musically gifted Grace and the mysterious, tormented Luke. The characters are not gloomy; they really pulled me in. The one thing that bothered me was that Deirdre and Luke seemed to grow to love each other too soon. I didn't mind the instant romantic connection, as there was a reason for it, but Deirdre and Luke never bothered to get to know each other. They mostly talked about their fascination with each other. I really liked them as characters, but together they were a bit corny. However, in the second half of the novel, things began to really change for them and their relationship became more interesting. Luke's background is quite epic and Grace evolves into a really strong girl who knows what she wants. Their progress was great.
I must confess, though, that there was a hint of a love triangle, something I have started to strongly dislike in paranormal fiction, but I have grounded hope that this time, the love triangle won't be typical by far, which is (hopefully) a good thing.
Music is an important part of the novel and several ballads are mentioned. That was a really nice touch and I believe some of the ballads can be found online, so the reader can listen to them and get an even better idea of the novel.
Another thing I really loved was that there were no loopholes in the end. Everything was explained and made sense. The ending sets the stage for the sequel, Ballad, and I am definitely looking forward to reading it. Lament uncovers the world of the Fae and Ballad will, I'm sure, dig deep into its magic.
All in all, this was a great and gripping story featuring the exciting world of the Fae and lovers of paranormal fiction will surely know to appreciate it. I definitely recommend the novel.
Becky says: Great review Irena. I am looking forward to reading this myself (I have a US copy). I love Maggie’s writing – it has such beautiful rhythm. I’m not in the faery mood right now so I’ll save it for when I am. I am intrigued to see how Maggie uses the ballads in the novel. I hope your fears of a love triangle are unfounded!
Both our thanks go to Scholastic for sending the book to review.