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Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1) - Maggie Stiefvater Riveting debut w/romance, suspense, and lyrical prose

Maggie Stiefvater's debut novel, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, tells the story of Deirdre, a talented but introverted young woman, and Luke, the soulless faerie assassin that's been assigned to kill her. The reader also gets to meet Deirdre's loyal best friend, James, and the world of faerie.

Very rarely do I connect so much with a book, its writing (which was superb and richly detailed), and its characters, as I did with Lament. As an adult reader, I found Lament and its characters thoroughly believable, likeable, and flawed in realistic ways. Her writing doesn't condescend to either teens or adults and provides depth, strength, and development to its characters. There were parts in the book where I actually felt a physical ache in my chest for the characters and the situations they experience.

Steifvater's style is lyrical and smooth, and it moves the book along easily. There were absolutely no slow parts. The writing is so rich and descriptive (without being overly flowery or purple) that I could easily imagine all of the scenes and related emotions with ease. This is an author who shows you what she wants you to imagine and see, instead of simply telling you. Her characters, while not overly developed, are very human and relatable. The romance between the two main characters is palpable and pulls at your heart. While there are some predictable elements to the plot, these pale in comparison to the inventive world of nefarious and mischievous faeries she's created alongside the human, modern world. The protagonist, Deirdre, also holds her own as a female lead, which is something sorely lacking in many current YA novels.

After finishing Lament on Friday evening, I happily traipsed down to our local, independent bookstore the next day to buy my own copy (I originally got it from the library) and to purchase Shiver, Stiefvater's new novel. After reading that, I'll be looking forward eagerly to the release of Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, Lament's sequel, in October.

In sum, I consider this the thinking person's Twilight - much more well-written with better characters and no dull points! Cheers to that.