Maggie Steifvater’s Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception

I’m switching directions for this week. It’s YA (young adult) review time! Don’t worry. I’ll be back with Austen’s Northanger Abbey next week.

I like faeries. By faeries, I don’t mean Tinkerbell and those happy Disney ones. I mean real faeries from folklore that are not nice and sweet but rather conniving and, on some occasions, vicious. Those friendly ones are boring anyway. Who wants one that’ll help you out instead of causing mischief? Not me. Where’s the fun in that? I like the faeries from Irish folklore so much so that I decided to write my own novel about them and incorporate other Irish mythology into it. When I came across Maggie Steifvater’s Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception, I had to read it. Not only does she spell “faerie” the way I like it, critics said it was steeped in Celtic faerie lore. Perfect.

And then I read it. It left me with a sour taste in my mouth. More on that later.

Lament follows sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan, a cloverhand (someone who can see faeries), as Faerie converges on all aspects of her life. Luke, a mysterious boy (one of the staples of the YA genre), materializes in her small town to help disrupt her quiet life. Needless to say, Deirdre falls head over heels in love/lust with him. But guess what. He might have ulterior motives because a teenager’s love life cannot, for all intents and purposes, be normal. Her best friend from forever, James, gets caught in the middle, adding to her angst, as Deirdre fights the Fearie Queen.

Overlooking the somewhat cliché mysterious boy, it’s an excellent premise for a book. Faeries. Young love. Angst. All the things that incorporate an exciting read. But there was a problem. I couldn’t stand Deirdre’s behavior. I constantly found myself chanting this mantra (aloud, mind you), “Suspend disbelief. Suspend disbelief.” As every reader knows, fiction is not real, and in order to enjoy it, you have to put aside your disbelief. However, her behavior frustrated me so much that it was difficult. I did try, though!

What was wrong with her behavior? She was way too infatuated with Luke way too fast and let him know it. I like more character and relationship development than what I found in Lament. Although I do realize books can’t be thousands of pages long to give me extremely detailed development, I think there could have been more. I wanted more. I wanted to know exactly why she liked him, and why he liked her, and how they fit together well, and why they should be together. In fact, I have to say that this novel reminded me of Twilight, which is a whole other matter that I don’t care to get into. I’m not saying one copied the other. But in the sense that girl-meets-mysterious-boy-and-falls-in-love-with-him-despite-the-dangers-he-poses-to-her-livelihood is a major theme in both.

Don’t get me wrong. Lament is a very very quick read and will suck you in to its craziness even if you can’t stand some aspects of it. That’s what happened to me. I didn’t think it was the best writing. I didn’t think it was the best story, but it was fast-paced enough that I finished it in two days. Not everyone will agree with me. Some will love it, especially the romance. Some will hate it and not bother finishing. Reading is all subjective, anyway. I suggest giving it a go if you love the Twilight series, or YA novels about teenage love without needing the gritty development details. Skip it if you can’t tolerate those things.

As for my rating system, I decided that one number isn’t good enough. I’ll be rating the books based on “how much I actually enjoyed it” and “objectively, how good the writing was.” There can be a wide difference in both. Sometimes, you hate a book that is well-written and vice versa. Each number will be scored out of 10.

Although I wanted more and disliked some parts, it still did what a novel is supposed to do—keep me flipping pages. 5/4 (how much I enjoyed it/how good the writing was)

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