I was just run over by a herd of savage library teens, but will do my best to do justice to this book. This is more of me trying to catch up, in this case with Maggie Stiefvater, who’s now one of my Top Favorite Authors.
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater.
Dierdre is a talented young teen, playing competition-level traditional Irish music on the lever harp. (Did I mention that I am just learning to play the lever harp myself? I love Dierdre just for being a lever harp player. I love Stiefvater even more for being a harp player herself, but she only ever talks about the bagpipes online.) Her best friend James plays equally well on the bagpipes. But on the day that we meet them, Dierdre steps outside to calm her nerves just before playing the big state competition, and meets the charming and good-looking Luke. He’s there with his wooden flute. In just the few minutes that it takes for them to try a duet, Luke has Dierdre playing better than she’s ever played before. She changes her entry from solo to duet, and off they go, taking the championship.
Only, it turns out, not so great after all, because her spectacular playing has brought Dierdre to the attention of the Faeries, who are intensely jealous of her talent. And she finds out that she has more magical talents – talents that both draw the Faeries to her and that they do not like humans to have. She and Luke begin a forbidden romance – forbidden because Luke is a human enslaved by the Faery Queen, who naturally takes a dim view of fraternizing with the enemy. The plot gets more complicated, entangling James and Dierdre’s beloved Granna as well her ever-critical Aunt Delia. Everything will come to a head by the Summer Solstice, when the border between the mortal and the Faery worlds is at its thinnest. (It was quite accidental, but I read this over the Summer Solstice, which was just perfect.)
This was Stiefvater’s first published novel (why, why do I check Wikipedia to confirm this when I have only 25 minutes to write a review???), and it looks like the third and final book in the series is slated to be published sometime this year. So maybe, I say, trying to be properly critical, it feels a tad less polished than her later books. Maybe. But this business of teen musicians and faeries woven together is so very much my thing that I couldn’t complain. Yes, Dierdre got herself into trouble more than once by not letting people finish explaining themselves, but this seems to be endemic to teenagers in general. And in any case, Stiefvater isn’t pulling any punches with the story. Dierdre may win the day, but it’s not tidy and not everyone we care about comes through. In short, I was sucked in completely, and went straight on to the next book.