Review of Lament
Yesterday, I recieved my long awaited copy of Lament by Maggie Stiefvater. Like me, Maggie writes about faeries. And not the cute, sparkly, glittery fairies with butterfly wings. Faeries, the way they're supposed to be: dark, capricious, dangerous creatures who view humans as light snacks and pretty toys. Throughout history, people have feared the fey, and with good reason. They sicken crops and kill cattle. They lead men into swampy bogs to drown, and steal children from their cribs, leaving a changeling in their place. Faery tales did not end in "happily ever after," like the Disney versions. Read the Brother's Grimm. Those are the real faery tales; dark, disturbing, and terrifying.
But, I'm getting off track. Lament was, to put it mildly, simply fabulous. The characters were real and believable, with real flaws. Deirdre, the heroine, was equal parts brave and unsure, making her sympathetic and likable. Too many times, I've read a novel about a heroine who a). always needs rescuing by some strong male hero, or b). is so over-the-top snarky and tough, she stops being sympathetic and is simply obnoxious. Deirdre was none of these things, which was refreshing. Her best friend James is caring, understanding, and always there for her, in his wisecracking, smartass way. One of my favorite lines from James is when they're at a music contest and he says: "Don't mock the kilt, woman." Gotta love a kilt-wearing, bagpipe playing man.
And of course, there's Luke, my favorite character. But, I have a thing for stoic, tragic hero-types, so of course I fell in love with him. Redemption is one of my favorite themes in literature, and Luke certainly has a lot to make up for. But he comes off as being both extremely sympathetic and dangerous for our heroine, and the chemistry between them is palpable. And he's HOT. Did I mention he's hot?
But, because of my harsh standards for novels, I can't help but pick a book apart. (It's not that bad, really) What I wished there were more of is character description. I don't know what James or Deirdre really looks like, because the book gave almost no descritption of them: hair color, figure type, eye color. The most vividly described character is Luke, who has light hair, pale eyes, and is lean like a wolf. While I don't want the story to stop while the narrator describes everything about a person down to their painted toenails, I would've liked to known what James' hair color was, at least.
Also, her Dad is left out through most of the first part of the novel, and when he did appear, it surprized me. I thought Dee lived alone with her mother. Her mom and horrid aunt are fully fleshed out characters who seem to leap off the page, but her Dad fades away into the background when he's there. His main purpose seems to provide Dee with transportation, or when she has to ask a question and doesn't want her mom to know. Again, I have no idea what any of them look like.
Still, these are minor, nitpicky things. Lament is an awesome book, one I greatly enjoyed. I'm looking forward to the sequel, Ballad, and more books from this talented author.