author’s website: website or blog
release date: October 1, 2008
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Fantasy (faeries)
length: 336 pages
overall rating: 4.5 stars
* the back cover & inside page *
Don’t you know what happens to Cloverhands who cannot control the fey?
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 faeries.
Unexpectedly, Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin—and his interest in her might be something darker than summer romance. A sinister faerie named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. They both carry the same assignment from the Faerie Queen, one that 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. (*note: this description is found inside the book on the first page)
I am not usually a fan of faerie stories, but I’m a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater, so when I saw that “Lament” and “Ballad” were both on the shelf at the library I decided to give it a go. Actually (to be totally honest), I knew so little about the series that I started reading “Ballad” first. After a few chapters, I realized that it was the second book, so I stopped reading, and started “Lament.”
As I read the story, I was immediately drawn to the characters, which is mostly due to the way that the book is written. One of the things that I love most about Stiefvater’s books is the way that the characters are developed. They have depth and personality and she writes their dialog to reflect both of those things. This story’s main characters were Deirdre and Luke, but several “supporting” characters were also essential to the plot. Deirdre (Dee) is an extremely talented musician (she plays the harp), but she’s also quite insecure. Luke enters the story as a mysterious stranger (which – of course - is very attractive to most females). We don’t learn much about him at first, but as the story continues, he becomes a very likable character. However, my favorite character was one of the “supporting” characters – James. He is cocky, sarcastic, snarky, and quirky --- I loved him!
As Dee is learning that she is a faerie-magnet, other characters explain a bit about different types of faeries and pieces of faerie-lore are explained. For someone like me, who isn’t used to reading faerie stories, I found that to be quite helpful. However, even without a background in this genre, I was immediately drawn into the story. There is a lot of mystery, and because I knew the premise of the story, I was able to figure some things out, but there where a lot of times, that I just thought, “I have no idea what will happen next!”
There are a lot of elements that make this a good story: suspense, mystery, romance, (and of course the snarky best friend). Be ready for a suspense-filled ending with some unexpected twists.
*short and snappy*
writing: personable – reading this story feels like having a conversation with the author. It is easy to read and hard to put down.
plot: suspenseful – especially toward the last third(ish) of the book
characters: intricately detailed – the characters have a lot of depth
a fun(ny) line: “I just thought a very uncharitable thing about a family member,” I admitted. ... “Did it start with a B? I thought it, too.” (p. 33)
judging by the cover: I picked up the book with the old cover, and I like it. Drawings throughout the book match the style and feelings portrayed in the cover.
miscellaneous: There are three music clips (all written and/or arranged by Maggie Stiefvater) that accompany the story available on her website (here).