Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Lament, by Maggie Stiefvater
Deirdre, a gifted musician, finds herself infatuated with Luke, a mysterious boy who enters her life, at the same time she discovers she's a Cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Trouble is, Luke is a faerie assassin—and Deirdre is meant to be his next mark.
I found this book through a book blog website I frequent, and a review for Stiefvater's most recent book, Shiver.
I enjoyed this and it took me no time at all to read.  Probably because the intended reader is about 12 years younger than me.  Some of the Folk Lore stuff went over my head, and the book ended on a pretty mean cliff-hanger that is somewhat annoying.  The physical book itself ... some what distracting.  The paper is that stark white and the book itself is a wierd size.  And the binding just didn't want to break.  Which was wierd for me.
Overall I'm intrigued.  And I love a series.  Over at good reads I'm going to give it a 3.  Even though I should probably rank it higher as I'll probably be scouring the book stores for when the next one comes out.  The story moved, Luke and Dee were a nice little eternal couple to root for against the bad guys, and Ms. Stiefvater's dialogue wasn't annoying or campy.  At least, if it was it didn't distract.  If you liked Twilight or Evermore, I'd say pick this one up.  I stay away from the Vampire ones because ... well .... just eww.  But theis fairies were pretty creepy too.  I was thinking Tinkerbell, but apparently these fairies are much darker than that.  Much. Darker.
I put this one above Evermore I think.  Because the backdrop of Fairies, and Ireland, and music, and four leaf clovers is more attainable than Immortals.
Worth picking up if this is your genre of choice.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

Margaret Lea lives a quiet life in the apartment above her father's beloved bookshop.  She's spent her life hiding away there, devouring books of all sorts, to hide from the secret she discovered about her birth when she was ten; she was born a twin, and her sister died.

Vida Winter is the most prolific writer of the age (think JK Rowling with 100s of novels), and is a curiousity.  She has never given an honest interview, and no one can discover the roots of her past.

Miss Winter is dying, and is tortured by the past she has written novels to escape from thinking about.  She sends for Miss Lea to write her biography (something Margaret plays at) and begins to tell her a story about Charlie and Isabelle, twins Emmeline and Adeline, Missus, John-the-dig, Hester, a haunted house nestled crookedly in the English moors, loss, heartbreak, suffering, and a devestating fire that changes everything.

Written as an homage to great writers (mostly Charlotte and Emily Bronte), it's clear that Diane Setterfield has a love for both reading and writing, the art of doing both.  Both characters have escaped from their private pains within the pages of books, one by reading, one by writing.

The beginnings of Miss Winter's story are disturbing, but I couldn't put it down.  Unlike other novels Setterfield expects a certain intelligence from her reader, and she does not plainly spell things out.  You are left to assume based on clues for much of the novel, and then there'd be a line somewhere that would confirm what you assumed.  This helped pace the story I thought, and got the reader involved.

An interesting note, timing is never discussed.  What era are these stories set in?  Miss Winter's childhood takes place on a great estate in the English countryside with servants, governesses, and cottages set on the property paid rent to the man in the big house.  All that made me think .... sometime in the 1800s?  Since Jane Eyre is so prevelant throughout, it had be sometime after the novel was published, so mid-1800s.  They also discuss the The Women in White, which was published in 1860.  So it would have to be even later 1800s.

But what about the older Miss Winter?  What time is it then?  Well she's in her early 70s, so if her childhood was 1880, it'd be 1950.  Which fits with the other clues of hand written letters, no telephone, few cars, and lots of trains.  Anyway, that little side mystery of "what time is this?" kept me going too.

The question of Emmeline and Adeline's parentage.  Isabelle and Charlie were brother and sister, but Charlie was obsessively and violently in love with her.  Isabelle believes the twin girls are daughters from her late husband, but the teller of the story (Miss Winter) believes their father is Charlie.  The twins are never "right in the head" (said throughout the book) and I thought this was the author using more clues to get us to believe incest had occurred.  They weren't right in the head because they were inbreed, and had mental abnormalities.  Which lead to another clue about the age, the medical science was not extensive on behavior disorders or mental conditions.

All told, the book is a dark and twisting story that's incredibly well written.  I'm still in awe over some of it.  The change of use in pronouns, they, we, I.  Such a subtle thing that I did pick up on, and is pointed out by Miss Lea, but after the truth is revealed, wow does it all make more sense.

Makes me want to read Jane Eyre and Wurthering Heights.  Recommended.  Especially for those of us that love reading and a good story.