Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
I wanted to really like this book, and I wanted so much to fall into the story and be immersed in it and feel a strong connection with the characters... but unfortunately that didn't happen. I also wanted to enjoy the writing but that didn't happen either.
This review is gonna be a few paragraphs and two lists. Normally I would ramble but I don't wanna do that for this book because it might turn out like a complain-y negative rant.
So first I'll tell you a bit about the story and then list the things I liked and the things I disliked about Lament.
The story is about this sixteen year old girl Deirdre (or Dee) who is a really talented musician with a frankly boring personality. She hates compliments (everyone has always told her how amazingly talented she is as a harpist and how wonderful her voice is, blahblahblah) and she is OCD about scooping icecream. Oh and she always throws up before a performance due to nerves. Like, every time.
The book begins when she's at a musical performance competition and she MEETS THE GUY FROM HER DREAMS. He appears as she's vomiting in the bathroom and he holds her hair back. (lol) The author doesn't even establish what he was doing in her dreams in the first place. Anyway, they end up performing together (his name is Luke and he plays the flute) and take out the competition.
I think Dee realises from the get go that there's something strange about this Luke guy. But soon she also realises there is something strange about HERSELF. She is a cloverhand. The blurb of the book says that means she can see faeries, which I don't think is explained the same way in the novel, but oh well. Dee is being stalked by faeries left, right and centre; finding four-leaf clovers EVERYWHERE. Dee nicknames one particularly creepy faerie-stalker "Freckle Freak". She also finds out that she has telekinesis and is telepathic too. Which is useful, I guess. None of this makes her character any more interesting though, sadly.
I suppose you can already guess that Luke and Dee fall in love, BLAHBLAHBLAH. He saves her loads of times, she saves him, happy ending.
After typing out that sentence, I pretty much don't have anything left to explain to you about the story.
TIME FOR THE LISTS!
Things I liked about Lament:
1) The character of James, Dee's oldest and bestest friend. Whom Dee does not deserve.
2) Remember Freckle Freak? Well, Dee ended up killing him with an iron nail which led to him exploding into FLOWERS. I would love to see this moment adapted to screen.
3) The focus on music. I love music. Music is quite central to the paranormalcy of the story and to faerie-culture, which I haven't seen a lot of in other re-tellings of fey folklore. Music is definitely a force.
4) The cover. I like the colour combo or white, black and RED. I like the splattery paint blobs, the musical notation, the dove and the cage. I don't like the tagline, however.
Things I disliked about Lament:
1) Maggie Stiefvater's writing - the imagery, the dialogue, the lack of speech tags, I just had so many problems with it. The writing didn't flow for me because every other page I would have to stop and just be awestruck by how nonsensical/unrealistic/tacky the writing would be. Sorry, Maggie. I do like you as a person!
2) The characters (bar James). I didn't particularly like Deirdre or Luke, or their relationship (which seemed forced and frankly unbelievable). But most of my loathing is directed towards Delia, the evil aunt. She wasn't hashed out very well - she was definitely presented as the ultimate villain, YET she was NOT the antagonist to Dee the protagonist. The Queen was.
Now it may seem from the lists above that I liked the book more than I disliked it, but honestly in terms of importance - writing style and characterisation trump those four other things by MILES. I'm bummed I didn't enjoy the writing and that the characters weren't more endearing, but unfortunately that's the general impression I got from the book. :(
My STAR Rating: THREE STARS (out of five, obvz!)