Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

I’m a little late to the game with Lament. I’ve heard so many great things about it, but when I picked it up from my library a few months back I just couldn’t get past the first chapter. I don’t remember why I put it down. It’s so strange, because this time around I was sucked in immediately! I had decided to give Stiefvater’s first novel another chance since I so enjoyed her other series (Shiver and Linger). I’m glad I did.

Deirdre Monaghan is an extremely talented harp player with a bad case of stage fright. Not just your typical ol’ sweaty-palms stage fright, but vomiting-your-guts-up-before-every-single-performance stage fright. Lament opens on a music competition at Deirdre’s high school. While throwing up in the girls’ bathroom, she meets a boy who seems to have literally stepped out of her dreams. Luke Dillon is handsome, kind, plays the flute, and even holds Deirdre’s hair back for her while she’s vomiting into the toilet. What girl could resist?

When Deirdre plays a duet with him–her on the harp, him on the flute–the music they create together basically seals the deal, and she falls head over heels in love with Luke.

Then really weird things start to happen. Deirdre finds not one, but multiple four-leaf clovers in and around her house (eventually her entire front lawn is turned into a carpet of four-leaf clovers). She’s being stalked by a handsome but decidedly creepy red-haired man, and worst (or best) of all, she’s able to move inanimate objects just by thinking about it. Through a bit of sleuthing and discovery, Deirdre realizes the existence of fearies, a group of otherwordly, tricky creatures, without conscience, that revolve and serve as the court of a a powerful, ageless human Queen.

Even as she falls more and more in love with Luke, she understands that there are things he is keeping from her, secrets that he literally cannot tell her. But these secrets are important, and as Deirdre becomes more powerful, the Queen, jealous and deadly, tries harder and harder to kill her.

I really enjoyed Lament. It progressed very smoothly and I enjoyed Stiefvater’s wit and occasional humor–sometimes it doesn’t work in books like this, or you get the feeling that the author is just trying way too hard, and it ends up being kind of embarrassing. However, Stiefvater pulled it off and also kept the overal atmosphere of Lament mysterious and lyrical. I didn’t feel the chemistry between Deirdre and Luke as well as some other readers and bloggers have. I did admire Deirdre as a protagonist, and I also liked how neatly Stiefvater had her solve the mystery, while at the same time proving her bravery and “emerging from the shell” transformation.

The sequel is called Ballad, and deals with the story of Deirdre’s friend James (who also had a sizable role in Lament).

Author’s Website: www.maggiestiefvater.com

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Linger by Maggie Stiefvater GIVEAWAY!

I recently read, loved, and reviewed Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (review here) because I was able to win an ARC from Angie! And now, to pass on the good vibes, I’m giving my ARC away to one lucky random winner! Linger doesn’t come out until July!

Here’s how it’s going to work:

1. Comment on this entry and tell me what you think about the recent urban/paranormal werewolf/vampire trend in YA novels (+1 point)

2. Link to this giveaway on your blog/twitter, and provide the location of the link in your comment to this entry, or you can email me the link. (+1 point)

You will be entered into a random drawing however many times as many points you have, and then I will pick a winner on June 11th! Remember to leave me a way to contact you (i.e. email)!

Sorry, I can only send to US addresses–I’m a poor college student and can’t afford international mail :(

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

How I got this book: ARC won from Angie. Linger comes out July 20, 2010!
Sequel to: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (this review contains slight spoilers for Shiver).

I loved Shiver, the first novel in the series, and I was both surprised and excited that it had a sequel. Surprised because Shiver ended so perfectly that I wasn’t sure what there was left to say except Happily Ever After over and over again. I was excited because I wanted to know just what exactly Stiefvater could think of next for our two young protagonists, and I knew she would write it beautifully, whatever it was.

As the days get warmer and longer, it seems as if Grace and Sam have everything they could have ever wanted. Sam has been “cured” of his werewolf-ness, and the idea that he has the rest of his life as a human stretched out in front of him is something he wakes up to in wonder every day. Our two young lovers have dodged what seemed like the inescapable bullet, but they are soon confronted with other growing problems.

First, the new wolves. Beck, Sam’s adoptive father (and also werewolf) returned at the end of the first novel with several newly “turned” werewolves. One of these new wolves is Cole, former lead singer of the band NARKOTIKA. His face has been splashed across millions of tabloids and magazines, and while music is his life, becoming famous has nearly killed him. Or, more accurately, made him want to kill himself. You name it, Cole’s done it. Booze, drugs, hundreds of faceless groupies… the life of a rockstar, the life of endless entertainment and meaningless existence. Becoming a wolf, fated to stay an animal forever in a few short years, is the next best thing to suicide.

Secondly, Grace’s absentee parents have fully re-entered her life upon realizing that Sam is much more than just some high school fling. Along with the fact that her parents are interfering with her hard-won love life, Grace is starting to feel sick… a sickness she and Sam thought had been cured, a sickness that is inhumane, wild, and uncontrollable.

I was just as drawn into Linger as I was Shiver. I think it’s safe to say that Stiefvater avoided the “sequel slump” and was able to keep the story of Grace and Sam together and still romantic. The introduction of Cole as a new character and Isabel as a stronger presence also made for a great story, and while at first I was skeptical of Cole being a cliche drugged-up rockstar with problems and a magnetism that draws every single teenage girl to his self-destructiveness, Stiefvater made it work and Cole didn’t feel awkward or contrived at all. I especially enjoyed his interactions with the always entertainingly-prickly Isabel, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go in future books.

Sam and Grace were just as well written as in the first novel, and made me very nicely nostalgic for that unique, once-in-a-lifetime teenage-first-love-passionate-bliss. Ahh. To contrast this, and to provide a conflict, Grace’s parents were cold and stupid and a little unbelievable in their newfound stiffness towards Sam. The parents were a little cardboard-cut-out in their dumbness and Total Evil Parent crusade against their daughter’s boyfriend, and while it made for great emotion, it felt a little contrived to me.

But what makes me really enjoy these books is Steifvater’s descriptions of the forest and landscape around Mercy Falls (Grace’s hometown) and the world that Grace and Sam live in, whether it’s a rundown little diner that you can almost feel the grease on your fingers, or a wild, cold forest. The way the author describes the deadening, bone-shattering cold of the Midwest is so real and all these little details really suck the reader in.

Great sequel. I really advise readers to start from the first book, otherwise Linger will be all too confusing! There’s still another 2 months or so till Linger comes out, so you have time to read Shiver and catch up before then. 🙂

Second Opinions: Angieville’s Review
Author Website: Maggie Stiefvater

Linger ARC review soon!

Eeeek! I am beyond excited! I just won an ARC of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater over at Angieville! So many thanks to her!

I have wanted to read this sequel since I read Shiver back in December. I was very disappointed when I found out it wasn’t releasing until July and thought I’d have to wait forever 😦

But now I am going to be able to read and review it much sooner than anticipated! Thanks Angie!

Here’s the cover art, and link to my review of Shiver.