Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Awesomely Epic Lament

This is not the first time I've read Maggie Stiefvater's beautiful Lament. It's not even the second time. Like everything else by Stiefvater, I can read this book over and over.

Lament is not as well known as her other novels, and I'm always a little bit startled when people don't know that it exists. I remember hungrily hunting down anything I could find by her when I finished Shiver and finding Lament.

I remember when I first read it thinking that it wasn't as good as Shiver. I'm not sure I think that anymore, it just has a noticeably different tone than her other books. It has the mythology and the longing but there is something more otherworldly about it. Her other books have this amazing quality to make all of this wonderful magic so grounded in reality that it is somehow completely and utterly believable. Lament doesn't have that quality as much as the others.

Part of that might be Deirdre. She is an awesome main character but I think having a main character who is naturally and effortlessly good at everything is tricky and can sometimes be alienating to a reader and I think that's what happened a bit. She has a distinctly easy to relate to quality about her but at the same time she is unattainable. That being said she is still an awesome, strong, character. We get to witness her growing into her power and learning to use it but she's not infallible.

Which is the same sort of feeling I had about Luke, in comparison to her other guys. But, I mean, come on...he's Luke. He's a almost-then-turned-faerie. He's wonderful and broken and lovely and I am a little bit in love with him. Luke has a little bit of a Howl thing going for him, with the putting the soul back in (I know it's Howl's heart). He's sweet and funny, and oh-so-tortured.

James. I adore James and his ridiculous humor and commentary. I want more James in Lament, even knowing that Ballad is all James. He has that long-suffering pining best friend thing going but I think he's one of the better written ones out there.

I think what I wanted most from this book was more. I wanted it to be longer. The mythology could have been expanded a little bit more and more detail about what happened between Delia and Deirdre's mother. More of her family, in general, would have cool. But family plays such a big part in all of her other books.  There was so much that could be expanded and just...more. But it's not really a fault because I always want more from Maggie Stiefvater.

I love her faeries. I have read many different incarnations of faeries and her's are some of my favorites. She takes such care with the stories and myths and traditions behind them. So many times you see faeries and they are boiled down to brutal and Irish. Maggie Stiefvater makes them much more than that.

In an earlier post I said these books had terrible things but still left us with hope and I still do think that. They are terrible and dark books, in the best way possible, but there's always a little bit of a light. There's a chance, a hope, for something new, for something to get better.

As much as this book is about faeries and love it's also totally an ode to music. I love that she can write this book with the excellent plot and just bleed her love for music into it. Her books are usually like that, actually. It shows how much love she has for music and how deftly she can weave what she loves into her books. I am in awe.

So, Lament gets a rating of: Massively Epic.

I eagerly await the third book.

Have any of you read Lament? Did any of you not know that it existed? What did you think?

I really want to read Ballad next but instead will be reading William Sleator's House of Stairs. I haven't read this one in years (I mean, around twelve years) but I remember loving it. Plus, William Sleator never gets enough love.


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