Saturday, 26 October 2013

Review: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

     Calling all Twilight-fans who are looking for another supernatural romance. This teen novel is written by amazingly cool and very much talented Maggie Stiefvater and is full of action, the supernatural, romance, and of course, an inhumanly attractive and tortured soul for you to dream about. Rather than the typical path of supernatural fiction that most authors take, Stiefvater chooses to focus on fairies. And yes, I did say fairies. Now before you completely write off the book because you don't want to read a story about a girl who falls in love with a male version of Tinkerbell, Stiefvater constructs a world where fairies are dangerous. They're sneaky, unpredictable, and certainly can be vicious. They do not care about the human race and they live an immortal life of fun, mischief, and pleasure.

     This book of fairies is not a happy, utopian world. Lament does not have a shortage of violent episodes and a suspenseful, bloody climax that will have you on the edge of your seat. Lament helps to rewrite mythology about fairies and chooses to focus on the fairies who aren't frilly, sweet, and about pure goodness. Fairies are real and they are dangerous. Cloverhands are the humans who have the ability to see fairies, and once the fairies know who you are, they are attracted to that person. They view their interactions with humans as games--and their games can easily turn to bloodshed.

     Maggie Stiefvater proves to us her adaptability as an author. I read Scorpio Races first and this book is nothing like that one. I'm a fan of her work, so I decided to give Lament a shot. I did not expect to be hooked and finishing the book in a matter of hours. Lament is part of a series and is the first book in that series, so there's lots to love. The premise is a mortal girl, with a strange ability to see fairies, falls in love with a tall, dark, [*cough* handsome], and dangerous stranger who is not all that he seems. The theme of "love conquers all" reigns true in this book--even if you're basically a hired hit man and you're supposed to kill the one you love. A love triangle, various interesting characters (both fairy and human), and music are all important components of the book. As someone who grew up in a musical home (7 years violin, 6 years flute, 2 years piccolo, 1 year piano), I appreciated the inclusion of music in the book.

     More than the Dee (protagonist's) musical abilities on the harp (also, an amazing choice for her characterization), is the fact that the Dee suffers from social anxiety. I can identify with her in how awful and crippling social anxieties can be to deal with as I went through a bad period of battling it. Dee faces anxiety when having to publicly perform and ends up vomiting before every performance. I am a huge fan of authors who create an imperfect protagonist for us to root for because it makes them more human. The "ordinary, rather lonely" girl/boy protagonist is overdone. It's boring. I love that this protagonist has a real flaw, something that thousands of people can relate to, even if they have never experienced it themselves. It teaches young adults that something as crippling as social anxiety does not make you a weak person by any stretch. People with social anxiety can still be heroes, they can be strong, they can fall in love, and they can be loved by someone who is as impossibly perfect and devoted as Luke is.

     The book is definitely worth a read if you're interested in supernatural romances, mythology, or if you just like teen/YA novels. Maggie Stiefvater is definitely a perfect addition to any bookcase.  I enjoyed Lament so much that I've added Stiefvater's Shiver trilogy to my list of books to read next. Lament is beautifully written, exciting, and surprising. You will never look at fairies, clovers, or rabbits again. Also, you might think twice about going into the woods alone. Apparently vampires and werewolves are not the only dangerous things out there...

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