Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1)

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1) - Maggie Stiefvater In his essay collection, Maps and Legends, Michael Chabon writes on the joys of new fiction filling in the gaps left by the authors who have come before, quipping at the end: "All novels are sequels; influence is bliss."Maggie Stiefvater is an author who excels at opening herself to her influences.  I discovered her work through the first volume of her Wolves of Willoughby Chase trilogy, where her take on werewolves piqued my admiration.Lament is an earlier work of hers, and takes on another archetype of folklore: fairies.  For them, she goes back to the old legends that have faded in popular culture in favour of the Tinkerbell version (though through authors like Stiefvater and Julie Kagawa, the old versions are coming back into vogue). These are creatures of great beauty and coldness, who live on magic and would steal your soul for a song.The shy, sheltered and stage-fight-plauged Deirdre encounters Luke Dillon at a festival competition and she is immediately smitten.  Despite multiple warnings that he is not good for her, Luke seems to reciprocate the fascination.  What Deirde doesn't know is that the meeting was far from coincidental and sooner or later Luke will have to complete the mission the Queen of the Fairies sent him to perform: to kill Deirdre.The concept of this book is fantastic, but unfortunately Stiefvater seemed to be trying to juggle just a few more things than she was capable of at the time.  Folkloric characters appear for reasons that are unclear, then fail to have a personal effect on the plot.  Deirdre-as-narrator over-explains her thought processes, following a perfectly clear physical reaction with an unnecessary explanation of what that reaction means.  More than a few threads are tied up so hastily that the loopholes show.That said, this was an early novel, published by house that does not have an emphasis on fiction.  An experienced fiction editor would (it's hoped) have caught these issues, which aren't nearly as prevalent in Stiefvater's later works.  And in any case, her imagination made Lament quite enjoyable despite minor quibbles.This review also appears at Boxes of Paper.