“It's become almost awkward reviewing Maggie Stiefvater's novels. As a prestigious book reviewer I should have no biased bones in my body. I should be cold, harsh, and honest. Except, well, I am a teenage girl. And ...we are very biased. About...everything. Clothes, people, cute hair, guys (especially guys), and, for me at least, Maggie Stiefvater books. I've already raved about The Raven Boys, The Scorpio Races, her co-written book of short stories: The Curiosities, and the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.
Lament felt like something I would have dreamed up in elementary school. Books of Faerie have always drawn me in. I devoured the Spiderwick Chronicles and I'm currently reading Holly Black's other, darker, and most definitely more teenage faerie novel; Tithe. The essence of these novels is firmly rooted in wonder and so am I. I've always pretended that I'm special. Peculiar. Otherworldly, even. I'm not. And each book of Maggie's that I read makes it so damn obvious.
When I was younger, I had a traveling bag filled with all the essentials of adventuring (etch-a-sketch, paper and markers, play-doh, compass, Little Debbie snacks, you know, the usual) and I would scamper about my apartment complex, little brother by my side, looking for the perfect branch to make a wand out of, and pouring salt around the porch. I believed in magic with every fiber of my being and so reading Lament felt like being cramped in a nostalgic time-capsule. You know that feeling you get in your stomach when remembering something great? An ache, almost. That's what it was like.
Not to mention it was set in the summer time. Summer is my season. Long, sweaty days is what I live for all year. Once again, Maggie Stiefvater managed to capture the character of her setting wholly with a subtle grace I long for. I'd sell my soul to live in this world. If not that, then my whole book collection.
There were flaws, however. Quirks, I suppose, that are bound to appear in every debut novel. For the most part it was the romance. I know I'm supposed to fall in love with Luke. I'm supposed to cry in anguish at the bittersweet ending. Fun fact: surprisingly enough, none of Maggie's books have made me cry. I just didn't. He was too faerie for Deirdre. Yes, he was a human, but barely. And his name is Luke. EVERY EVIL LOVE INTEREST IS NAMED LUKE. Remember Percy Jackson? I wasn't passionate about Deirdre or Luke as characters or or as lovers, not like I was with Gansy and Blue or Cole and Isabel. I appreciated the precarious and realistic balance of fantasy and reality, the implied suspense that there was always something more sinister happening. Ultimately though, it was James who stole my heart.
GASP! Lauren actually liked this love triangle? WHAT. She never goes for puppy-dog, lovesick chumps like James. Well Ladies and Gentlemen, screenshot this post immediately because miracles do happen. Sure James did get a bit puppy-doggish but I'm also a total sucker for childhood best friends turned lovers. Not that Deirdre loves James yet. But...eventually. *cough* go read Ballad's blurb *cough*. This was another one of my childhood dreams. I pretty much thought that every new neighbor that moved into a place near mine would have a son my age and we'd become best friends and then fall in love when we reached teenagerhood and everyone at our wedding would say "I remember them at six and seven! Attached at the hip, them kiddies were." Of course, it's too late now and I grew old and cranky from reading so many terribly written stories like my fantasy on Wattpad . Ugh. They really sucked.
A few other tidbits before we wrap up this review: Maggie has yet to write a book without some form of music in it and I love it. If I were any good with instruments her books would inspire me to practice everyday. I swear I can almost hear it. Reminds me of Graffiti Moon, where I had no problem imagining the graffiti art discussed in the novel. Also, there's this quote that describes the type of person I've always wanted to be but sadly am not. "It's what I like about you. You listen. You watch. It's how you learned to do everything so well, while everyone else talked over the top of everyone else." I can be quiet, it's a skill all reader's have, but even in my quiet moments I'm still an extrovert. I don't think it's a bad thing. Actually, being an extrovert is quite useful when trying to get to know someone. But I suppose we always wish for the things we can't have right? Everybody wants to be somebody else.
Although Lament was not as masterful as Maggie's other novels, it was an absolutely fabulous debut. I can't wait to read the sequel and then fly to Virginia and steal the unfinished manuscript of Requiem, the final installment in the series, set to be published in Spring 2014.”
Lauren wrote this review Saturday, February 2, 2013.