Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception
by Maggie Stiefvater
This is the first book in a series called "Books of Faerie." I actually started to read its sequel, titled Ballad, before I realized that I needed to go back and read this book first. Even though this meant extra expense and tiresome delay, it was worth it. How could I resist a story combining faerie magic and the world of music?
Deirdre Monaghan and her best friend James are an odd couple. She is shy, introverted, functionally invisible in the high school social scene; he is outgoing, funny, a real character. It seems their gift for folk music—she a harpist, he a bagpiper—may be the only thing they have in common. But when the mysterious and sexy Luke shows up at a talent contest and swoops into the middle of Dee's act, a few more pieces of common ground come into view. For one, James is in love with Dee, but he only gathers up the courage to tell her so, and risk their friendship doing it, after she begins to fall for Luke. For another, they both have a talent for seeing faeries. And now that the Fair Folk have an idea of Dee's powers, they come out in force to turn her life into the stuff of tragic Irish ballads.
This is one of those dark adventures amid the outskirts of Faerie land, in which young mortals with their whole lives ahead of them are menaced by ageless beings who, at one point, are aptly described as "big, cruel children [who] want shiny new toys." Luke himself is not one of them, but he serves the Queen of Faerie in a ghastly role that proves just how dangerous they are. He has no choice, since his soul is held hostage, forcing him to do her bidding for thousands of deadly but undying years. It is up to Dee, who until lately never had the backbone to stand up to anyone, to fight for Luke's soul, and for James's life, in a confrontation with the Faerie Queen that steadily builds in intensity. Danger, romance, betrayal, the passion of folksong, and a fascinating range of breeds of fay, bubble together in a magical combination that may especially intrigue fans of Holly Black and Melissa Marr.
Maggie Stiefvater is also known for her "Wolves of Mercy Falls" trilogy, whose titles include Shiver, Linger, and Forever. Her latest novel as of 2011 is The Scorpio Races. For more information, check out the author's website.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 14+
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