*Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan, a gifted harpist who regularly plays for weddings and other events, has the kind of stage fright that makes her physically ill before a performance, which is an inauspicious way to start a romance; but while vomiting before a competition she meets a gorgeous boy who comes into the restroom to hold her hair. He is Luke Dillon, a flautist who proceeds to accompany her in a truly stellar performance. As four-leaf clovers start appearing everywhere, Deirdre develops telekinetic powers and encounters strange, unworldly people who seem to bear her ill will. Her best friend, James, also a talented musician; her beloved grandmother; and her mother all are in danger, as Deirdre is targeted by the queen of Faerie. Deirdre eventually discovers that she is a cloverhand, a person who can see the denizens of faerie, and Luke, not the only immortal who has her in his sights, is a gallowglass, an assassin assigned by the queen of Faerie to kill Deirdre but who falls in love with her instead. This beautiful and out-of-the-ordinary debut novel, with its authentic depiction of Celtic Faerie lore and dangerous forbidden love in a contemporary American setting, will appeal to readers of Nancy Werlin s Impossible (2008) and Stephenie Meyer s Twilight series. Illustrations by Jeffrey are fitting. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
YA readers searching for faerie stories will be happy to find this debut novel, an accomplished take on well-loved themes. Despite her immense talent, teenage musician Deirdre fights nausea-inducing anxiety every time she plays her harp in public. Enter handsome, romantic Luke at just the right moment: a stranger, he calms her before a major competition, performs a duet with her and together they win the grand prize. Deirdre can't help falling in love—only, why do four-leaf clovers keep appearing, and why does Luke keep throwing them away? And why does Deirdre's grandmother instantly express an aversion to Luke? Along with some familiar elements—ruthless faerie royalty, unsuspecting mortals targeted for their as yet unknown gifts, treacherous bargains—Stiefvater brings to her story several layers of romance, a knowledge of Irish music and a talent for plot twists. She is also unafraid of taking plot developments to their logical outcomes, even when they mar the characters' happiness. Vibrant and potent, her writing will hook genre fans. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)[Page 55]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan throws up before every harp performance. Her piper friend, James, empathizes, but when a compelling stranger, Luke, corners her in the ladies room, he offers sympathy and a dare. After listening to Luke's haunting flute music, Deirdre agrees to turn her solo competition piece into a duet, and their collaboration is the beginning of Deirdre's connection with the faerie realm. Deirdre discovers with her own magic that Luke is a gallowglass, the faerie queen's assassin. Unwilling to kill Deirdre, Luke protects her with iron and with information, aided by enemies of the current queen. Sorting through the tricksome faerie conversations, Deirdre prepares for her final showdown with the queen who holds captive Luke and James Stiefvater's novel undoubtedly rests in the current hot genre of edgy teen fantasy. Teens will find her mix of the mundane and the exotic compelling as is the dizzying romance between Deirdre and Luke. The first-person voice opens up Deirdre's experience with an unknown magical world that is intimate and immediate. Stiefvater is wordy, with dialogues too perfectly scripted, although to be fair, idealistic romance is one of the story's allures. There are also some loose ends left hanging, and the ending is abrupt (a sequel is planned). That said, its target audience will be slavering to read it. Girls who devour Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books and have discovered authors Melissa Marr and Cassandra Clare will also want to try this novel.-Caitlin Augusta 3Q 4P J S Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.