I realize that Lisa has already posted a review of this book-a glowing review whose enthusiasm was so contagious, it forced me to a bookstore and had me buying both Lament AND Ballad without having read anything by Ms. Stiefvater first. I trust Lisa’s judgment THAT much. And as usual, she didn’t disappoint.
Why am I reviewing this story, rather than its sequel? Well that might be part of a super secret we have in store for you readers, but which I’m sure you’ll really enjoy.
In the meantime, like Lisa, I did not immediately get drawn into the book. In fact, I read the first few pages over the course of a few months, and was just not impressed enough to keep reading. I had no IDEA what was happening within the first 2-3 pages, only that there was a white bird involved and it was trapped in a cage, and somehow, there was something cruel and torturous about keeping it there, as it seemed awfully human and its captured seemed awfully INhuman. But this did little to explain what the heck was going on and by the time we got to Deidre Monaghan, our heroine and average teenage girl, I was confused. Wasn’t this book supposed to be about fairies?
Well, I finally buckled down this past weekend and read through. Several things immediately struck me about Deidre. She is the every girl, the high school geek who never feels like she quite fits in, since most of the world just finds her so amazingly ordinary. And I loved that. I was a theatre girl in high school, I did musicals, I sang, I acted, and I was a geek, let’s face it. I loved performing, took it way seriously, though it made me wicked sick the entire day before. Not throw up in the bathroom sick, like Deidre, but, you know, can’t eat, can’t sleep, insane ball of energy kind of sick.
Anyway, I related to her on a lot of levels, loved how she carried a kind of confidence that came with her musical talent but it never made her haughty. In fact, she never felt special in anyway. But she was wrong. Her ability to play the harp so beautifully, to sing with a voice so lovely, has a very distinct correlation to her special, newfound ability, being a cloverhand, one who sees fairies.
And I love that it went WAY further than that. I was expecting, uh oh, she can see fairies, they’re going to totally harass her. Well yea, they do, because let’s face it, they’re mischievous little buggers, but Deidre’s power starts to manifest in other interesting ways that I won’t reveal, as I feel they’re really great spoilers.
Amidst all of these changes, Deidre has to deal with several things. One, her best friend and rock, James who is undoubtedly falling in love with her and will ruin everything between them if he ever voice it. And the mysterious Luke, who she’s seen in her dreams and suddenly makes a real life appearance. The story definitely took a stunning turn with Luke, who’s entire budding relationship with Deidre left me breathless on more than one occasion. I particularly enjoyed how they did average every day things together, like eat ice cream and go for walks, though they both knew that the other suspected something far more supernatural happening. I see the reality of not mentioning how unlikely Luke’s presence was, for fear that it might, POOF, disappear, like her dreams. It made the discovery of his true identity fascinating and scary. Is he good? Is he bad? What does he really want with Deidre?
Overall, Ms. Stiefvater does an amazing job telling this story in a way that made me smile and ache and cry and snicker. Her writing is fluid and beautiful and effortless. Having already bought Ballad, I devoured it the very next day. Maybe Lisa and I will discuss it together. Because James kind of won me over. As I have a feeling he did to her as well.
Lament receives an enthusiastic A+.