Review: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Lament

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: Books of Faerie #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic

Summary (from 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 . . .

What’s Good About It

I’m easily won over by faeries. Particularly faeries of the ruthless, cunning, child snatching variety, and there is plenty of that going on in Lament. The faery mythology draws heavily from Gaelic and other European traditions, and the faeries are terrifying for it. They plot and scheme and murder and hide in the shadows just out of eyesight – spine tingling!

James is the best character, though I must confess, I read book two, Ballad, first, and that features him as the main character, so perhaps I was just naturally drawn to him, and naturally put off Dee, who spends the vast majority of Ballad being a total trainwreck. I wasn’t overly enamoured with Luke, and found the background characters surprisingly pantomime. I guess I’ve just been spoiled for Maggie Stiefvater by how much I loved the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, because Lament is certainly not a bad book at all, but I still felt there was something lacking.

Of course, reading Ballad first meant a lot of the punchlines in Lament were ruined, but I can see how they would have been shocking and how the final climatic moments of the story would have been tense. Even though I knew how it would play out, I read through the final part of the story in a matter of hours, after dragging the first 100 or so pages out over several weeks. And I guess that leads me nicely into the biggest problem I had with the book…

What’s Not So Good

It was just a bit slow to get going… I didn’t particularly care about Dee’s romance with Luke, and I felt some conclusions were drawn a little rapidly, others brushed over completely, which left me feeling a little lost.

Unless my copy of the book has some pages missing (and I did get it from a library, so it’s a possibility) there were at least two moments in the plot where I was left thinking ‘When did that happen?’ So for all it’s slow build up, the end scene felt a bit rushed and at times as if it came out of nowhere. I wasn’t disoriented enough to make me want to put the book down, but it did pull me out of the narrative on occasion.

Rating: 3.5/5

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