Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Ballad" by Maggie Stiefvater

From the book: In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.
Sarcastic, slightly OCD James in this story really captured my heart. I loved his take on everything and the view into his world. If it wasn't for James being portrayed this way, I don't think I would have found the farie, Nuala's sarcasm and passage into compassion quite as interesting since they played off of one another so well.

Maggie Stiefvater's characters were well developed. Even those you consider side characters were developed to the point you also cared or hated them. Paul, his roomate and comic relief and Sullivan, his teacher and mentor were fleshed out that you really wanted them to be a part of James's life. Elenor, the Farie Queen, which it was told you were introducted into the last book was less fleshed out in this book, but you still didn't want to see her win.

My only criticism is with the character Dee. I know her story was in the first book, Lament, however, I would have liked to see more of here character dealing with the overwhelming circumstances within this story. Perhaps it could have been unsent e-mails instead of text messages. Just a bit more of what was going on with her side, her "fight", but not too much that it would have interfered with James's story.

This book I'm giving 4 stars, only because I now need to read Lament. :)

Blog with Bite questions:

James is a flawed and heart broken character, do you find his mental peculiarities charming or annoying? Please do explain.

I'm not exactly sure what this question asks, but I did enjoy James's sarcasm. I , myself have been accused of speaking this way and I know several people who do this as well. If you are also speaking of his psychic abilities then I feel the author did a good job of making it believable. The only other peculiarity I can think of is the way he wrote on his skin and couldn't stand disorder. In a world he sees as uncontrollable and  dangerous, I can see developing some OCD tendencies. I think also all these peculiarities made James a lot more believeable and someone you'd really want to know.

What did you think of James and Dee's kiss? This being a pivotal moment for their relationship, how do you think it changed James?

I think he was finally able to start to let go of the fantasy of being with Dee. I think it started to open him up to other possible relationships in life as well as redefining the one he had with Dee (eventually).

Whom do you prefer Dee or Nuala?

Either? I think that to understand and like Dee, Lament must be read. Nuala had the most growth within this story so her character was more central to this story.

What's your verdict on the best way to read Ballad?  Is it a stand alone book or do you need to read Lament first?  If you read Lament, what did it add/not add to Ballad?  If you haven't read Lament, do you think it would have added to your reading of Ballad?

It's not exactly a stand alone book as it does reference what happens in Lament. I did not read Lament, however I do think it would have added to reading Ballad. In fact, I think I will get Lament so I can see what happened to Dee and James before this book.

We've been reading a lot of stories with fairies as the central paranormal creatures.  What are your thoughts on the "Fair Folk".  Do you believe in faires?

How about this quote for an answer: "I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?" John Lennon


  1. Great review. I agree that the author does a good job developing characters. I thought James was a screech. I enjoyed Lament more than Ballad so have fun reading it!

  2. Excellent review hun. I really liked James sarcasm. I'm sooo sarcastic myself, I just couldn't help it, he was like kin.

    Isn't that book trailer excellent. One of the best ones I have seen. - Parajunkee


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