A girl with a bird she found in the snow
that flew up her gown, and that's how she knows
that God made her eyes for crying at birth
then left the ground to circle the earth
~Iron & Wine, "Boy with a Coin"
Could not get enough of this^ today, nor put down Maggie Stiefvater's Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception. Click here for the quickie review at GoodReads; scroll down further for the full review.
I've had some lukewarm encounters with faerie tales lately, to the point where I hesitated for ages to pick this one up. But then I read Shiver (brrr! so good!) and started Internet-stalking author Maggie Stiefvater (kidding). Then a friend of mine lent me Lament and I pretty much swooned with the heat.
Wow. That was a lot of links. Be fair warned: I use lots of ( )s and !s when I'm excited. And I'm really excited about this book.
If you enjoy faerie lore, love triangles (squares? trapezoids?), and folk songs, you'll love Lament. What starts out like most other YA novels (girl hurls chunks, boy holds her hair, and then they make beautiful music together) with a common mythology thrown in (faeries try to steal away a pretty, special little human girl) adds up to a fine romance, fit for a Faerie Queen. Deirdre's story appears interspersed with and influenced by folk songs, and you know what that means: love burns brightly, then is drowned, or murdered, or sacrificed; the lovers may die, but their love lives on and on.
Strong protagonists anchor Stiefvater's debut novel: Deirdre, the music geek with mad skills but little self-confidence; Luke, the mysterious stranger with the kind demeanor and hot bod; and James, the quirky childhood-best-friend who has watched Dee grow into the desirable young woman she is at the start of the story... unfortunately, he's not the only one who has been watching her: They have been watching her from birth--and They are showing themselves to her, showering her with clovers, cloying her with Their scent.
Readers will appreciate the freshness and believability Stiefvater injects into such a popular and fantastic premise. I especially enjoy her sense of humor and willingness to not take her story too seriously. Read this if you love to contemplate youth and beauty, duty and tragedy, music and poetry. And don't miss the sequel, Ballad: The gathering of Faerie, due out October 1st.
Be sure to check out Maggie's website, blog, and YouTube channel--this last one is particularly awesome as she often designs and performs her own book trailers. I love "Still Werewolf Watching", and any accounts of the adventures of Maggie's children, Thing 1 and Thing 2. (For anyone who, like me, did not grow up with Dr. Seuss, the codenames refer to characters in the book The Cat in the Hat.)