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Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie

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Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie

valutazioni:
3/5 (283 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
343 pagine
5 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 8, 2010
ISBN:
9780738721972
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING NOVEL SHIVER Remember us, so sing the dead, lest we remember you James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 8, 2010
ISBN:
9780738721972
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

After a tumultuous past as a history major, calligraphy instructor, wedding musician, technical editor, and equestrian artist, Maggie Stiefvater is now a full-time writer and New York Times bestselling author of the Shiver trilogy, The Scorpio Races, and The Raven Boys. Her debut series, the Books of Faerie, is published by Flux. Maggie lives in the middle of nowhere, Virginia, with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, four neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki. Follow her on Twitter at @mstiefvater, and visit her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com.

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Ballad - Maggie Stiefvater

America

Leanan Sidhe

I was used to being the hunter. If I saw something I wanted, I stalked it, smelled it, made it mine.

By it I mean him, of course. I liked them young, talented, male. The more handsome the better. Sweetened the deal. I had to look at them until they died, so they might as well be pretty.

I wasn’t cruel. I was generous. Every one of them begged me for what I gave him: beauty, inspiration, death. I turned their ordinary lives into something extraordinary. I was the best thing that ever happened to every single one of them.

Really, I wasn’t so much hunter as benefactor.

But today, in this autumn wood, I was neither. Someone had summoned me, pulled me from my intangible form into a real body. I didn’t see anybody here, but I could still smell the remnants of a spell. I could hear my footfalls on the dry leaves, and the sound made me uneasy. I felt vulnerable in this blood-red wood, noisy and exposed in my form as a human girl, and I wasn’t used to it. All around me smelled of burning thyme and burning leaves, summoning spells and fall bonfires. As soon as I found a bit of human thought to ride on, I was getting out of here.

Hello, faerie.

I turned around, just in time to see the iron rebar shoved through my face.

James

Music is my life.

I read all the brochures for the Thornking-Ash School of Music before I applied. The brochures said the school would nurture our already promising musical abilities. They promised to challenge us academically. The brochures whispered tales of us emerging from high school as multitalented super-teens sporting academic skills, who would slay Ivy League applications with a single thrust of our extracurriculars.

At the time, I thought—cool. And plus, Deirdre was going, so I had to.

But that was before I actually went. Once I got there, I found out that school is school is school, as Margaret Thatcher would say. Six or half a dozen. Of course, I’d only been at Thornking-Ash for seven days, so maybe I wasn’t giving it enough time. But patience was not really my strong suit. And frankly, I just didn’t see how taking a few music theory classes and sleeping in a dorm room was supposed to make us any different from regular high-schoolers.

I’d probably have felt differently if I played the damn cello or something, because then I could be in one of the eight million performance groups on campus. When people said musician, they never seemed to mean bagpiper. If I heard the phrase folk musician one more time, I was going to hit someone.

Anyway, on days one through six, we (my fellow classmen and I) got orientated. We learned where all our classes were, the names of our teachers, when meals were served in the dining hall, and that the door to the fourth floor of my dorm stuck. By day five, I knew what I was doing. By day six, it was second nature.

By day seven, I was bored. On that seventh evening, I sat in my brother’s car and listened to music served angry with a side dish of longing. I had read somewhere that scientists had done a study where they played rock music and classical music to two different sets of rats. I don’t remember the details, but after a couple weeks of the study, the classical music rats were peacefully climbing the corporate ladder and wearing Birkenstocks and the rock music rats had gone cannibal and torn each other to bits. Without knowing what band the rock rats had to listen to, I’m not sure what the study was supposed to prove. All I know is, if I had to listen to Pearl Jam for two weeks solid, I’d eat my roommate too.

Anyway, I knew it was the seventh evening because I had seven marks on the back of my right hand. Six upright marks and one slash sideways to make the seven. I sat there in my own little world with its gray interior and turned the bass up so high I felt it in my butt cheeks. There were strict sound limits in the dorms, especially when students could be practicing, so it was hard to find a place to listen to music. That’s irony, baby.

I watched the sun sear a red path behind my dorm building. Unlike the rest of the academic buildings, which were stately, column-fronted Georgians, the dorms had no pretensions. They were square boxes with a thousand unblinking eyes for windows.

In the car, the music was loud enough that I didn’t hear the tapping on my window at first. When I did finally, the face looking in at me surprised me for some reason: round, ordinary, unsure. My roommate, Paul. He was an oboe player. I think the school thought we would get along together because both our instruments had reeds or something, because we certainly didn’t have anything else in common. I rolled down the window.

Do you want fries with that? I asked.

Paul laughed, way harder than my words had warranted, and then looked proud of his own daring. I think I scared him.

Dude, that’s funny.

Just one of the services I offer. What’s up?

I was heading up to the room to work on, you know, the—he waved a notebook at me as if it would mean something—calculus homework. You still want to work on it?

Want? No. Need? Yes. I turned down the radio. I was suddenly aware that I had goose bumps across my arms, despite the heat of the day. I pulled my arm into the car. My psychic subconscious was whispering at me in some language I didn’t understand, flooding cold through me in a subtle warning: something weird is afoot here. It was a feeling I thought I’d left behind, something I hadn’t felt since this summer. I managed to look back at Paul. Yeah, sure.

Paul’s face split into relief, as if he’d expected me to say something else, and he started to chatter about our calculus teacher and the kids in the class. Even if I hadn’t been somewhat preoccupied by the iciness trickling along my skin, I wouldn’t have listened. People talk too much, and generally if you listen to the first thing they say and the last, the middle will take care of itself.

A sudden phrase pulled my attention back to Paul, like a single voice rising out of many, and I spun the knob on the radio all the way, switching it off.

Did you say, ‘So sing the dead’?

Paul frowned. Huh?

So sing the dead. Did you say it?

He shook his head firmly. No, I said, ‘To sing today.’ I had sight-singing. With—

I opened the car door, nodding before he’d even finished his sentence. Even without the radio on, I heard music. And it pulled at me, important in a way that Paul would never be. I had to work to pull a sentence together for him. Hey, let’s congeal at the room in a few minutes, okay? Just a couple of minutes.

It was as if that misheard phrase—so sing the dead—had unlocked a door, and now I could hear music through it. Urgent, insistent music: a lilting, minor-key melody with a lot of weird, archaic accidentals. Sung by a low, male voice that somehow reminded me of everything beyond my reach.

Paul stammered out an agreement as I got out and slammed the car door shut, locking it.

I’ve got to run, I said.

I didn’t know you ran, Paul said, but I was already gone.

I sprinted across the parking lot, past the square dorms, past Yancey Hall with its buttercream columns and Seward Hall with its laughing satyr fountain out front. My sneakers slapped the brick walk as I followed the song, giving into its tug.

The music grew in intensity, mingling with the music that was always in my mind anyway—the psychic fabric that gave me my bearings, that told me where I was in the world. The brick walk ended but I kept running, stumbling on the uneven, overgrown grass. I felt like I was jumping off the edge of the world. The evening autumn sun blazed across the hills, and all I could think was I’m too late.

But there he walked, whoever he was—faraway on the hills, nearly out of my sight. He was little more than a silhouette, a dark figure of uncertain height on an endless hill of dazzling gold. His hands reached out to either side of him, pressing downwards in a gesture that seemed to urge the earth to stay still. Right before he moved too far away for me to discern him from the dark trees far behind him, he stopped.

The music kept on, loud in the way that music in headphones is—sounding like it was made by my brain for my brain alone. But I knew now, somehow, that it wasn’t for me. It was for someone or something else, and I just had the misfortune to hear it as well.

I was devastated.

The figure turned toward me. For a long moment, he stood facing me. I was held, anchored to the ground—not by his music, which still called and pushed against the music already in my head and said grow rise follow—but by his strangeness. By his fingers, spread over the ground, holding something into the earth; by his shoulders, squared in a way that spoke of strength and unknowability; and most of all, by the great, thorny antlers that grew from his head, spanning the sky like branches.

Then he was gone, and I missed his going in the instant that the sun fell off the edge of the hill, abandoning the world to twilight. I was left standing, a little out of breath, feeling my pulse in the scar above my left ear. I stared after when he had been. I couldn’t decide if I wished I had never seen the antlered figure, so that I could just go on as before, or if I wished I had gotten here sooner, so I could figure out why I was seeing creatures like him again.

I turned to go back to the school but before I could, I was hit by something solid, right in my gut. It pushed me off balance; I fought to stay upright.

The owner of the body gasped, Oh my God, I’m sorry!

The voice stung, familiar. Deirdre. My best friend. Could I still call her that? I gasped, It’s okay. I only need just the one kidney.

Deirdre spun, her face flushed, and her expression changed so quickly I couldn’t tell what it had been originally. I couldn’t stop staring at her face. I had seen her—gray eyes dominating the slender shape of her pale face—so many times with my eyes shut that it seemed strange to see her with them open.

"James. James! Did you see Them? They had to have come right by you!"

I struggled to pull myself together. Who’s ‘Them’?

She stepped away from me to look over the hill, eyes narrowed, squinting into the oncoming darkness. The faeries. I don’t know—four of them? Five?

She was seriously freaking me out; she moved so quickly that her choppy dark ponytail swung in small circles. Okay, look, Dee, stop moving. You’re making me seasick. Now what—faeries? Again?

Deirdre closed her eyes for a minute. When she opened them again, she looked more like herself. Less frantic. So stupid. I’m just weirded out, I guess. It’s like I’m seeing them everywhere.

I didn’t know what to say. It kind of hurt just to look at her, in a way I’d forgotten. Sort of like a splinter—not when you first get it under your skin, but the slow ache after it has been taken out.

She shook her head. Can I be any more stupid? Seriously, it’s been forever since I’ve seen you and I’m already whining in the first five minutes. I should be jumping out of my skin with happiness. I’m—I’m sorry I haven’t gotten a chance to see you yet.

For a moment I’d thought that I’m sorry would be followed by something else. Something intensely meaningful that would show some recognition that she’d hurt me. When it didn’t come, I really wanted to pout and make her feel bad, but I didn’t have the balls. Instead, I rescued her, like the gallant, punishment-loving idiot that I am. "Well, the brochure did say that the campus was more than fifteen acres. It could’ve been years before we ran into each other."

Deirdre bit her lip. "I had no idea how crazy the class schedule would be. But—wow. It’s so good to see you."

There was a long, awkward moment where a hug would’ve usually happened, before last summer. Before Luke, and way before that text message I’d sent—the one neither of us could forget.

You’re very tanned, I said. A lie; Dee didn’t tan.

Dee sort of smiled. And you cut your hair.

I ran a hand over my head, let my fingers worry over the new scar above my ear. They had to shave it to put the stitches in. I just shaved all of it to match. I wanted to shave my initials in it, but—this will come as a shock to you—I just now realized that my initials spell JAM. It was kind of humiliating.

Dee laughed. I was absurdly pleased that she did. It sort of suits you, she said, but her eyes were on my hands and the scribbled words that covered both of them up to the wrist. More ink than skin.

I wanted to ask her how she was, about the faeries, about the text, but I couldn’t seem to say anything important. Better than it would you.

She laughed again. It wasn’t a real laugh, but that was okay, because I hadn’t really meant it to be funny. I just needed something to say.

What are you doing here?

Both Dee and I spun and found ourselves facing one of the teachers: Eve Linnet. Dramatic Lit. She was a small, pale ghost in the dim light. Her face might’ve been pretty if she hadn’t been scowling. This isn’t school grounds.

Something nagged me as wrong, though it took me a second to realize what. She’d come from the hills, not from the school.

Linnet craned her neck as if she’d just noticed Deirdre; Dee’s face was red as if we’d been caught doing something. Linnet’s voice was sharp. "I don’t know what sort of schools you two came from, but we don’t allow any of that sort of behavior here."

Before last summer, I would’ve made some joke about Dee and I—about how it wasn’t like that, how I was her bound love slave since birth, or how nothing had happened because Dee was repulsed by a certain chemical component in my skin. But instead I just said, It wasn’t like that.

I knew it sounded guilty, and she must’ve thought so too, because she said, Oh, it wasn’t? Then why were you all the way out here?

I had it. I looked past her, toward the hills, and her eyes darted along my line of vision. We were waiting for you.

Dee looked at me sharply, but not in the way Linnet did. Linnet looked angry, or afraid. For a long moment she didn’t say anything at all, and then, finally, she said, I don’t think any of us should be here right now. Let’s go back to the dorms, and I’ll just forget this whole thing ever happened. It’s a terrible way to begin a school year, anyway. In trouble.

As Linnet turned to lead us back to the school, Dee cast an admiring glance in my direction, and then rolled her eyes toward Linnet, thoughts plain: she’s crazy!

I shrugged and allowed Dee half a grin. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with Linnet’s sanity, though. I think that I wasn’t the only one who had gone running out to meet that music.

James

Day eleven (11) (onze), according to the ticks on my left hand. The first week—all coy introductions in class and fluffy assignments—was over, and the second week was showing its teeth. Out came the giant homework assignments, the writing-upon of boards, and the general rending of garments that go with high school. It was funny—I’d really thought in the back of my head that a school filled with music geeks would be different from a regular high school, but really the only thing that was different was that we played our roles according to where we sat in the orchestra. Brass players: jerks. Woodwinds: snobby cliques. Strings: overachievers with their hands up all the time. Percussion: class clowns.

Bagpipers: me.

The only class that didn’t change much the second week was Mr. Sullivan’s English class: first period, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. Bring your own caffeine. He let us drink coffee in class. It would’ve been hypocritical for him not to.

Anyway, Sullivan had started out the school year sitting on his desk and playing music on the stereo as he taught. While the other teachers buttoned down and buttoned up and got serious in week two, Sullivan stayed the same, a young, knobby diplomat for Shakespeare and his ilk. He’d assigned us murderous reading assignments in the first week, and those didn’t change either. We might’ve cared more about the murderous reading assignments if we hadn’t been allowed caffeine and to shift our desks around as we liked and to swear when needed.

"We’re going to be studying Hamlet, Sullivan announced on day eleven. He had a huge travel cup in his hand; it made the whole room smell like coffee. I’d never seen him without coffee. As a junior faculty member, he lived on campus and doubled as our dorm’s resident advisor—his wife, rumor had it, had left him for a CEO of a company that made crap like My Little Ponies or something. The hall by his room always smelled like a shrine to caffeine. How many of you have read it?"

It was a small class, even by Thornking-Ash standards: eight kids. No hands went up.

Heathens, Sullivan said pleasantly. "Well, it’s better if you’re all Hamlet-virgins, I suppose. Surely you’ve at least heard of it."

There were mumbling noises of assent. I hadn’t read Hamlet, but I was on good terms with Shakespeare. From the moment I heard, All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players, I’d been okay with Shakespeare. No fanboy stuff or secret handshakes or anything like that. But if we passed each other in the hall, we’d probably nod at each other.

Sullivan pressed on. Well, let’s start there. What do you guys think of when you hear ‘Hamlet’? No, Paul. No hands. Just call it out.

A small village, said Eric. Eric technically wasn’t a student. I think he was supposed to be a teaching assistant but damned if I’d ever seen him assist Sullivan with anything. Right? Like a tiny hamlet in the Swiss alps or something.

This was such a stupid answer that the rest of the class immediately relaxed. The bar had been set low enough that we could shout out just about anything.

Ghosts, Megan said. She was a vocalist. Vocalists irritated me because they were hard to classify into orchestral personality groupings in my head.

To be or not to be! shouted Wesley, whose name was also Paul and so had adopted his last name in the interests of clarity. It was nice of him to offer, considering that my roommate Paul’s last name was Schleiermacher and I couldn’t begin to spell it, much less say it.

Everybody dies, Paul added. Somehow, that made me think of the antlered figure behind the school.

Suicide, I said, and Mel Gibson.

Mel Gibson? Eric demanded from behind me.

Sullivan pointed at me. "So you should’ve raised your hand, Mr. Morgan. You are familiar with Hamlet."

That’s not what you asked, I said. "You asked if we’d read it. I saw part of the movie on TV. I thought Mel Gibson acted better when he was wearing a kilt."

Which is an excellent segue. The movie part, not the kilt comment. We’ll be watching the movie first—not the Mel version, sorry, James—and then reading the play. Sullivan pointed to a television screen behind him. Which is why I brought this in. Only—

He looked around the room, at our desks pulled into a circle around him, all of us waiting for wisdom to flow from his mouth. Only I fear your butts will get flat from watching a movie in those chairs. We need something better. Who’s got good arm muscles?

So we got the two sofas from the second-floor lounge. It only took four people per sofa to carry them down the hall, past the closed doors of the other classrooms, and into our room. Sullivan helped us shove them against the wall and draw the blinds so we wouldn’t get glare on the screen. It turned the room dark, so the fact that it was morning didn’t seem as important.

We piled onto the sofas and Sullivan turned a chair around backwards and sat next to us. We watched the first quarter of Hamlet (who took himself way too seriously) and Sullivan let us crack jokes about the more melodramatic bits (which was all of it) and for the first time since I’d arrived, I felt like I sort of belonged.

James

Another painfully beautiful fall day in the land of hyphenated schools; the trees were still green in the basin, but on some of the north faces of the hills and mountains surrounding, the leaves were beginning to burn red and orange. The combination made it look fake, like a model train layout. I had the car stereo set to obnoxiously loud, which was probably why I didn’t hear my phone ring; it was only when I caught the glow out of the corner of my eye that I realized someone was calling.

Maybe Dee, finally.

I grabbed it from the passenger seat and looked at the number. Mom. Sigh. Putting the phone on speaker, I set it on the dash. Yeah.

James?

Yeah.

Who is this?

Your darling son. Fruit of your womb. Sprung from Dad’s loins after twinkling in his eye for God knows how lo–

Mom cut me off. It sounds like you’re in a wind tunnel.

I’m driving.

In a wind tunnel?

I leaned forward and slid the phone closer. You’re on speaker phone. Better?

Not hardly. Why are you driving? It’s during the school day, isn’t it?

I wedged the phone into the sun visor. It was probably still a little noisy, but it was the best she was going to get. If you knew, why did you call?

Are you cutting?

I squinted at the street signs. There was a small sign that said, Historic Downtown Gallon, VA (I thought the VA was redundant, as any visitor who had gotten this far should remember what state they’re in) and had an arrow pointing to the left. No, Mom. Cutting is for losers who go to jail after being unable to get a job.

Mom paused, recognizing her own words, especially since I’d delivered them in a high-pitched voice and her faintly Scottish accent. That’s true, she admitted. So what are you doing?

Peering at the picturesque but economically deficient main street of Gallon, I answered, Going to my lesson. Before you ask, it’s a piping lesson. Before you ask, no, Thornking-Ash doesn’t have a resident piping instructor. Before you ask, I have no idea why they’d give scholarship money to a kid whose main instrument was the pipes, considering the answer to unasked question number two. My peers at Thornking-Ash and I were required to take two credits of Musical Performance in order to flex the musical muscles we’d need to successfully woo universities. Hence, piping lessons.

Well, who is this guy? Is he any good? Mom’s voice was doubtful.

Mom. I don’t want to think about it. It’s going to be hugely depressing and you know I like to project a fearless and happy face to the world.

Remind me again why you’re there, if not for the piping?

She knew darn well why, but she wanted me to say it. Ha. Double ha. Fat chance of that. "Use your motherly intuition. Hey. I think

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  • (3/5)
    The lead male character was pretty good. The dynamics between him and the lead female were good as well. The ending seemed very forced with all the revelations and the female character, who was the lead character in the first book of the series, was horrible. She was a ball of tears and bad decisions. It really sucks that nothing is shown of what happened with her at all. There could have been so much more story here.
  • (5/5)
    Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie is the sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception; together these books fit perfectly into the increasingly popular young adult genre but, unlike most of the other books sprouting up everywhere, these books don't contain fangs, they contain Fey. Ballad picks up a couple of months after the events of Lament, placing James, the unrequited best friend, as the main character.

    The depth of research Stiefvater attained is increasingly obvious with the turn of each page. Ballad is chock full of amazing traditional Celtic faerie folklore and even a thoroughly researched Deity. "The Good Folk" have been an inspiration to thousands of writers throughout history; much of the folklore and faerie tales have remained consistent with each passing decade, and Stiefvater remains true to that tradition while adding her own flavor by revealing some folklore that is not popularly known. Her addition of Cernunnos, a traditional Celtic Deity usually depicted as representing for the dead, is what in my opinion pulled Stiefvater from researched well, to absolutely amazing. The plot was fast paced, action packed, and perfectly braided with the folklore and the characters.

    The characters in this book were also, in my opinion, spot on. It has long been a belief from children's fables that faeries are a benevolent race of magical beings, but in this book, they are depicted as they originally were written, as a warning against the evils of magic. James is a typical teenage guy, with the addition of a genius musical talent and a smattering of psychic ability. Nuala is a not so typical faerie who trades musical inspiration in exchange for years of one's life. James's ability to recognize the faerie is the only thing that saved his life and brought these two characters together. The relationship that forms between Nuala is completely honest from the beginning and so different from the love that Dee and Luke shares in Lament. It was amazing that James could fall in love with Nuala even after everything that happens to him Lament; his ability to forgive and adapt is hopefully what will save the friendship that was destroyed by Dee being a selfish idiot.

    At some points throughout the book Stiefvater could have let the reader into some of the secrets she was harboring earlier, it got a bit confusing in some areas due to what the reader is unaware of. Things of course become clearer at the end but, for a little while in the middle, the reader spends time trying to figure out the reasons for some of the inserted passages when there really is no need. It is suspect that they were written in an effort to foreshadow but as a young adult reader, it may have been too much. Overall this book was enjoyable, not as imaginatively pleasing as Lament but definitely not bad at all.
  • (5/5)
    So, i would have had this read and reviewed a good... umm... three weeks earlier if my mom hadn't snatched it and read it herself.... ^_^
    [She's reading Lament next, then Shiver:]
    Anyway, i was excepting nothing less than awesomeness in this sequel to Lament, and nothing less than awesomeness is what i got!!
    I am obviously a huge fan of all the Maggie Stiefvater has written thus far [and i enjoy spelling her last name. it gives me pleasure. Stievfater. Stiefvater. it's fun:] and i was excited when i realised that this book was about characters in the previous book [James & Deirdre:]
    Now, i have this lovehate relationship with when authors write sequels in a new point of view but include the past main character. Love because i always find it awesome to get a different take on the character. Hate because... there's a different take on the character.
    See, because you're seeing Deirdre from James' point of view, you're seeing a girl that's rather different than the one you got in your head from Lament.
    Not that that's bad. I quite liked that in this context because it enhanced the story.
    So, with that said, this one was in James & Nuala's point of view [Nuala being a faerie muse who imparts her inspiration on her chosen... and then proceeds to steal years of their lives away to keep herself alive. and yes. that is totally awesome.:]
    What progresses is a story full of faerie brutality, music, ingenuity, wit, sarcasm, and over all, well, awesomeness. In the words of my mom, "These fairy's are me-e-a-an."
    lol.
    There was not a single thing i can find that was wrong with this. [y-a-a-a-a-y ^_^:] It was fresh, dark, romantic, poetic and all the things i've come to expect, look forward to, and overall enjoy in Maggie Stiefvater's books.
    Wait.. no.... i miss Luke *sad face* I was kind of hoping he'd make a small appearance *sigh* that was the one little thing that depressed me.
    At first i wasn't a huge fan of James. He irritated me at first [though... i think he was kind of supposed to...:] but after a few chapters he grew on me and i loved him more. I really liked all the chapters in Nuala's point of view [absolutely AMAZING name ^_^:] I don't think i've read many books where there are chapters in the fey's point of view. Though, her slight humanity made her less wild and unruly, but dangerous none the less.
    The duel chapters & text messages from Dee scattered throughout the book really made this one spectacular. Truly it was. The way music is incorporated and used is phenomenal as well. I love it.
    I now greatly look forward to Linger. ^_^ *greatly* look forward.
  • (3/5)
    This is the follow up to Lament: The Faerie Queens Deception. James, Dee's best friend from the previous book, meets Nuala, a fairy who usually survives by feeding off of artistic types in exchange for making them better at what they are. James knows better then to strike a deal with Nuala, but that doesn't stop him from falling in love with her. Throughout the book Dee's unsent text messages are interspersed between chapters told by James and Nuala. These texts drove me nuts, while James and Nuala's story was great, I wanted to know what was happening to Dee as well. I hope at some point Stiefvater plans on telling Dee's story in another book. The book was well written and I love the characters, I just wish I knew what was happening in the rest of the story.
  • (4/5)
    Didn't intrigue me as I thought it would.
  • (3/5)
    I didn't enjoy this one as much as Lament, but it was still pretty good. It really didn't get interesting till the end. What I really didn't get was the love story between the James and Nuala. It just didn't add up for me. But overall a very interesting story, and the ending left room for another one. I also thought that Dee played too little a part of the story. I wish there had been more of her and of Paul.
  • (5/5)
    I devoured this book--started last night and finished it today. I love the way Stiefvater grabs you and keeps you by the throat to the very end.

    Things I liked: Stiefvater really knows how to work edgy characters and still make you like them. I fell in love with Nuala from the very beginning. For me the book was about her, not James, although he was my second favorite. She also knows how to keep the tension at just the right level. Tight. Close to snapping, but not quite. Her descriptions of settings enhance the emotions.

    Only beef I have is that I kept thinking I missed a book in the series. Stiefvater kept referring to the happenings of the summer. I probably did. Does anyone know?
  • (5/5)
    I love these books! Ballad was the second in this series and loved it just as much as the first. The characters are so rich and believable. When is the third book coming out? I think I'm addicted. :)
  • (2/5)
    First I would like to mention that I would not recommend reading Ballad without reading Lament first. I read Lament and liked it. So, naturally I wanted to read this book as well. Unfortunately, the marketing department behind this book was the source of my first disappointment. I was under the impression that this was book No. 2 of a series in progress. Nope. This is a companion novel. Companion novels are fine, in fact some of them are great, but I think there is an extremely important distinction to be made between a "sequel" and a "companion." Honestly, the expectation that Ballad would be a traditional sequel to Lament kind of ruined the first half of the book for me. I was fully prepared for more Deirdre and Luke. Again, nope. This book is told from the point of view of James (Deirdre's best friend in the first book) and a new character. It focuses on James so much that half of the time I forgot that Deirdre was even a character. Deep breath. Ok, I'm over the shock. Let us soldier on.

    I felt like James was an archetypical character in Lament. Maybe that was just because we did not get to see enough of him though because I loved him and did not find him to be archetypical in Ballad. Once I realized he was to remain the main character of Ballad throughout its duration and that this was not just some sneaky trick, I really fell in love with James' character. He is quirky and fairly well developed. I am not so sure about the rest of the characters though. James is definitely the "glue" of this story. Some of the other characters come alive for me at points, but they lose their luster quickly.

    I also very much liked the idea of musical savants being supernaturally connected to another world. I think the plot of the story is quite creative. The problem I have with the plot has to do with the fairy part. If you don't like fairy's don't read this book. I don't mind fairy's at all. In fact, I like quite a few of them. However, I do not exclusively read fairy books. I understand there are come common elements of fairy's that seem universally known, i.e., they are allergic to iron among other things. With that said, Stiefvater does what I find that a lot of writers tackling the fairy genre do: assume the reader already knows tons about fairy's and therefore fails to develop certain plot points for those of us who are not down with the fairy rules. For instance, it seems to be a big deal to tell someone your "true name." Ok, but why and where did that come from? Maybe I just missed the fairy bus or something. I have a feeling I may have missed out on some of the better aspects of the story due to a lack of explanation.

    There is one more point of major irritation in this book for me. I understand that this book is a companion to Lament, but I do feel like Deirdre's character got lost in the translation. In Lament, I felt like Deirdre was a strong female heroine-type of character. In Ballad, she is not even a shadow of what she was before. This may have been the most disappointing aspect of this book for me because I felt like the essence of Deirdre 's character was abandoned for the sake of a new plot. Many of her actions seemed random, almost as though she was being used as a plot function more than a character. I felt like Ballad-Deirdre did a lot of things that Lament-Deirdre would not have done. This would of course be fine if Lament-Deirdre's character had been given the chance to develop into Ballad-Deirdre's character, but she was not.

    Ok, so obviously I was disappointed. But I think if you go into this book fully understanding that it is not a sequel, are open to new main characters, and know enough about fairy's to get by, then you will likely have a much better time with it than I did.
  • (3/5)
    My Review:Ballad was James' story. Since he shadowed Deirdre (Dee) is Lament it was time for him to shine, or be tested by "Them" so in walks Nuala into James' life. Unlike Dee he learned to NOT TRUST the faeries because of the Summer before showing up at Thornking-Ash (the conservatory school, for musical geniuses) It is apparent that Dee and James have a strained friendship. It also bugs me that Dee never sends her texts. Without James in Dee's life, she of course gets herself in trouble. On the other hand though James is learning about "Them" through is up close and personal encounter with Nuala, that wants him to make a deal with her so she can stay alive. James is not falling for Nuala's charm but Nuala is falling for his. :) Nuala, I enjoyed her character how she fought with being more human than faerie and how deep down she wanted to be more to James than just an evil faerie with a ploy to kill him. Once she got to choose her fate she chose wisely I think. I also loved how she found out she had family when she always thought she was alone.James, was more sarcastic in Ballad than Lament and I loved it. I am sarcastic by nature so I laughed at his sarcasm towards his classmates and teachers. I love that he was not persuaded by most, and had charisma that people wanted to follow and be a part of.Dee, sort of annoyed me. It was as if she did not learn anything from her experience the Summer before. The pitiful act got old.Other characters that I enjoyed were Sullivan and Paul. They gave a great balance to the storyline and I am glad they were introduced. I do hope there will be more in this series and that I read more about Nuala, Sullivan, and Paul.The only reason the rating was 3.5 of 5 was I sort of already new the plot and the ultimate outcome of the story even though I didn't know all the intricate pieces and how they were to be played out.
  • (3/5)
    I didn't like this one as much as Lament, and I guess the reason would be Nuala's character. I just didn't like her, and I didn't like James falling for her, and seeing as she's one of two (well, three, if you count Dee's text messages) narrators in the book, then I couldn't really like the book. It's too bad, because I LOVE James, he's exactly the type of guy I'd want to hang out with if I was sixteen again. He brings my rating up from 2.5 to a 3.
  • (4/5)
    The Sequel to Lament. James knows that Dee's heart belongs to Faerie and this upsets him but he still loves her and wants to help her find a way to live well. The two of them are now boarders at the Thornking-Ash School of music and while there's little the school can offer James in the way of music education he's still finding things to be interesting. There's a lot of faerie around and he's not sure who to trust, but he knows that he can't trust the woman who calls herself Nuala. By the end of the story he will have to make some hard decisions and these will have repercussions.Oh wow, I was a little reluctant to read this as I really enjoyed Lament. Sequels often don't work as well as the original story. Maggie Stiefvater really gets the musicians in this, I played music when I was younger and while I wasn't at this level I did meet some who were. Almost consumed by the music and needing to play as often as possible. James wasn't as prominent in the previous story but this is his story, and it's a good one, he's interesting, and shows that he's learned from the past and will continue to learn. I want to read more by this author.
  • (4/5)
    BALLAD, by Maggie Stiefvater, was an energetic and captivating thrill ride from the first page. Now that I have read 'Lament', the back-story between Dee and James was established and I could explore the next step in their relationship, a very rocky one.The differing relationships throughout the book were interesting to read. I have not been exposed to Nuala's powers before in a faerie story and that was intriguing in itself. Then James not giving into Nuala because of his knowledge created another surprising dynamic. Also, the fact that James was still trying to be with Dee while she was still in love with Luke, but held secret feelings for James! It was frustrating at times, but in a good way.This book went to a darker and scarier side of the Fey. The anticipation of Halloween and the growing power of the faeries was hanging in the background, while James was trying to lead a semi-normal life and Nuala was trying to quench her hunger. The faeries that confronted James and Nuala were testing their potential powers over humans and human-like fey without any awareness of consequence.Both James and Nuala underwent significant character progressions. James wanted everything to go back to normal with Dee and possibly take it to the next step, but her downward depression and obsession with Luke made that almost impossible. Nuala was faced with rejection and neglect that she never felt before from a man, which completely changed her perspective on her short life. There was a remarkable battle between self-preservation and sacrifice within both of these characters. Nuala needed to take years from James to survive but she fought against her instincts to have an emotion that she never remembers feeling. And James had to make the ultimate decision between saving his unhinged best friend and his new-found love.I really liked the character of Nuala. She was definitely something new for James which made them a perfect pair. She was strong, independent, and confident. She lived her life repeatedly without a second thought until James completely threw her off course and made her question her very existence and potential. Even in her last days she did not want saving from anyone, and that puts her in my top heroic female characters list.I absolutely fell head over heels with this cover before reading the book. And after knowing the significance of the burning leaf, I love it even more! Fall is my favorite season so the color and feeling the cover encompassed remains on my mind.This was an exceptional and romantic book that completely holds it own against it's counterpart, 'Lament'. They are both magnificent stories which makes another home run for Maggie Stiefvater.
  • (4/5)
    Let me start out by saying that I loved the format of this....telling it in James' point of view was genius. I love the story line, and Maggie Stiefvater has amazing lyrical writing that draws me in and makes me savor every word.
  • (3/5)
    This book was okay. One of those books that you don't realise that you lie until you're halfway through. It was frustrating after the brilliance of the first book, from Dee's perspective, whereas this book is from James' and Nula's perspectives. The only input Dee has are stupid text talks that makes it difficult to understand what is happening to her throughout the book. I found that I would have enjoyed it a lot more if there were some more Luke and Dee.
  • (4/5)
    This is James side of the story after the summer is over. James and Dee are attending Thornking Ash a school for musically gifted. James is still hurt over Dee being in love with Luke so their relationship isn't the best. He finds out that the past isn't the past and that the Fairies are still around. A fairy named Nuala starts following James around trying to make a deal with him. But James is too smart to trust a fairy. Then as time goes on the relationship between him and Nuala changes. He still hasn't made a deal with her and she no longer wants to. Even though she needs the deal to stay alive she doesn't want to hurt him. To make a deal with her will cost him something great.James also finds out that this school isn't just for the musically talented. The teachers themselves seem to know about the fairies.
  • (3/5)
    I didn't love it like I did Lament. I still enjoyed the writing and the characters, but it just didn't have fast paced love story like the first one did. I was looking forward to hearing a little bit more about Luke and Dee, so that was a little disappointing. Then on top of that I wasn't too thrilled with Nuala. I just didn't like her as James' love interest....I honestly think he could do a lot better. She's an interesting character buttt I just didn't really enjoy her as much as the others. Also, the story seemed a little TOO slow at parts. I kinda had to fight with myself to keep reading. But the ending was good, for once there was a happy ending.
  • (5/5)
    This story picks right back up where Lament left off, with James and Deidre(Dee) attending Thornking-Ash music school. At first, everything seems normal, but then James and Deidre, once again, attract the attention of the Fey. The students (mostly James) begin to hear the music from The King of the Dead, and rush out to meet him in the night. James also discovers a frightening new friend, Nuala, who needs his soul to live.I loved the characters of this book so much better than Lament. I have not felt so strongly for characters in a long time. James, is snarky, sarcastic and slightly neurotic, but I fell in love with him right from the start. Reading the story from his point of view, shows how vulnerable he is underneath all the attitude, and he captures your heart. James is so cleverly portrayed and because we love him so much, suddenly Deidre becomes, such a bitch. The unrequited love that James feels for her breaks my heart and I hate Dee for not loving him as much as I do.Nuala, hmmm, what can I say? She is such a kick ass character. The story is partially told from her point of view, and because of that, we see that she is not as evil as one might think. She is sexy, smoldering, and I cheered when James began to fall in love with her (take that Dee).The lesser characters are also pretty awesome. We have roommate Paul, who is so innocent and goofy, you can't help but laugh at him and love him, all at the same time. Also, mentor and teacher, Sullivan is a strong and likable character. Stiefvater did a wonderful job and I enjoyed Ballad very much. The plot is compelling and the writing is lyrical and descriptive, without being annoying. Ballad is an intriguing and dark world, with lots of adventure and excitement. I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in this series.
  • (3/5)
    My Review:Ballad was James' story. Since he shadowed Deirdre (Dee) is Lament it was time for him to shine, or be tested by "Them" so in walks Nuala into James' life. Unlike Dee he learned to NOT TRUST the faeries because of the Summer before showing up at Thornking-Ash (the conservatory school, for musical geniuses) It is apparent that Dee and James have a strained friendship. It also bugs me that Dee never sends her texts. Without James in Dee's life, she of course gets herself in trouble. On the other hand though James is learning about "Them" through is up close and personal encounter with Nuala, that wants him to make a deal with her so she can stay alive. James is not falling for Nuala's charm but Nuala is falling for his. :) Nuala, I enjoyed her character how she fought with being more human than faerie and how deep down she wanted to be more to James than just an evil faerie with a ploy to kill him. Once she got to choose her fate she chose wisely I think. I also loved how she found out she had family when she always thought she was alone.James, was more sarcastic in Ballad than Lament and I loved it. I am sarcastic by nature so I laughed at his sarcasm towards his classmates and teachers. I love that he was not persuaded by most, and had charisma that people wanted to follow and be a part of.Dee, sort of annoyed me. It was as if she did not learn anything from her experience the Summer before. The pitiful act got old.Other characters that I enjoyed were Sullivan and Paul. They gave a great balance to the storyline and I am glad they were introduced. I do hope there will be more in this series and that I read more about Nuala, Sullivan, and Paul.The only reason the rating was 3.5 of 5 was I sort of already new the plot and the ultimate outcome of the story even though I didn't know all the intricate pieces and how they were to be played out.
  • (4/5)
    The Summer & the events with the faeries have ended. James & Deirdre are now attending the music school ThornKing-Ash, where it seems life has gone back to normal. But then James and this music catches the eye of a Soul snatching faerie named Nuala...Ballad continues the complex battle between human and faerie. It makes for one riveting tale, highly enjoyable. Filled with suspense and adventure. Ms. Stiefvater has created a dark, thrilling world that I look forward to visiting again. I was so excited to see that James was narrating this book, he kinda got pushed aside in book one, and I thought his personality too intriguing not to get his own book. If you think you'll like this book, I suggest reading Lament to see how James & Deirdre's story began.
  • (4/5)
    My thoughts...Ballad is the second book in this series and let me start by saying...read Lament first. The plot, the characters, the history of the story will make more sense if you do. I jumped right into this after finishing Lament and I was once again blow away by the incredible writing of Maggie Stiefvater. She incorporates the perfect amounts of poetry, conversation, mood, and emotion into the story to draw readers into her magical world. This book picks up several weeks after Lament ends. James and Dee are attending music school, living on the same campus, but separate lives. This story will please anyone who was a fan of James in the first book. This is his story. Readers hear very little from Dee, except from the occasional text message. We do meet a new character, a lower-level faerie named Nuala. It took me a while to warm up to her, but once I did, she became one of my favorites. We also meet several other new characters such as a quirky English teacher, and Paul, who ends up rooming with James. Like the first book, Ballad moves along at a perfect pace. This was one of those books that traveled around my house, because I did not want to put it down. James drew some attention, both good and bad, from the faeries for his musical ability. I don't want to give anything away, but readers should expect to experience heartbreak, fear, love, and friendship. I am hoping the story of these characters will continue for a long time. Stiefvater leaves us in a magical place that is full of possibilities. The ending of the story was satisfying, but left several unanswered questions. I look forward to the next installment in the Books of the Faerie series.
  • (4/5)
    Another strong offering from Maggie Stiefvater, in her authentic and haunting faerie world.I loved James' perspective in this book, but the one thing that disappointed me was the loss of Deirdre's perspective. Where was the strong heroine of Lament The Faerie Queen's Deception? What led her so far astray? (And what happened to Luke?) I wish we had been able to see her downward spiral through her own eyes, instead of sporadically through James and her unsent text messages. The story felt incomplete without it. Then again, I have a feeling this world isn't over... maybe some things will be explained later.
  • (4/5)
    Finally, a book about faeries that has traditional faeries and an interesting story! Most books I've read with faeries either had Traditional Faeries And A Boring Standard Fantasy Story or new agey punk-type faeries, which are sometimes fun and sometimes not, but nowhere near traditional. Great writing, great characters, great story.
  • (3/5)
    Nice quick read. I might have liked it better if I hadn't seen a review comparing it to a Charles de Lint book. That set the bar way too high. I also wouldn't call it a young adult book unless you are flattering Middle School or Junior High kids. Hopefully the author will work up to adult novels because we like faerie stories as well.
  • (5/5)
    Well I have to say I really enjoyed both of these books. Maggie's writing is quick paced and to the point in a good way. She's descriptive in her writing but not overly so. I enjoyed seeing the character's relationship's developing and falling apart. It was a definite roller coaster of emotion through out the books. If I had to pick a favorite character....I'd say I was rooting for James all the way.So like I said short review here but, if you haven't read the books I'd say go get 'em! I enjoy books about fairies so this series is definitely a keeper for me and one to watch!
  • (4/5)
    I haven't read Lament and it bothered me at first that I don't know who is Luke and what happened with him Deidre and James. (aside from the obvious broken heart, physical and emotion pain) but I am willing to find out after this.The story was narrated with James and Nuala's point of view. James Morgan a musical prodigy, cocky and uses beautiful sarcastic remarks that made me laugh. He also attends the Thornking-Ash school of music with his (supposedly) love Deidre. His choice of instrument (probably not the coolest in my book) is the Pipe. His tale in this book started when he started to hear a painfully beautiful song from an Antler King slash the Thorn King. I was intrigued on why he can hear it and what was the purpose of that music. James was also being stalked by Nuala- a leana sidhe better known as the mythological creature who gives her artist human lover his greatest dream on becoming the next Beethoven, Mozart and the likes in turn of madness that ultimately leads the to their death. But all this sounded petty when I found out that Eleanor (the Faery Queen) have more devious plan that involves all three of our main characters.This is my first Maggie Stiefvater and I am very pleased with her writing style. Epigrammatic and captivating. Though some parts are slow paced, it was well thought and penned exquisitely. The sirenic yet haunting tale helped me in finishing the book. I was defiant because I am not really into faeries, but reading this book, was a big exemption.
  • (3/5)
    Maggie Stiefvater is a master at sequels. Okay, so that's not to say she doesn't completely rock at first novels (she does) but I can't remember the last time I read such a well-crafted second book with an unforgettable character like James (SQUEEEE!!). In Lament, we got snippets of James, enough to see what a freaking cool guy he happens to be but little enough compared to the screen time he richly deserves. Thankfully, Ms. Maggie Stiefvater fully satisfies every wish for more James in this lovely, haunting book.Following on the heels of Lament, Ballad finds James and Diedre at the music conservatory Thornking-Ash with the faerie problem still dogging their every move. James still hasn't quite gotten over his last encounter with the faeries or the fact that when he finally worked up the nerve to tell Dee that he loved her, he got no such answer in return. Ouch. Their resulting encounters are awkwardly painful meetings between to incredibly broken people dealing with extreme heartache.James is already a bit fragile when the soul-sucking faerie Nuala stomps, swears, and generally insinuates herself into his life. Nuala is a fae muse for only the most talented artists and musicians, helping them to create beautiful pieces far beyond human capacity, only asking for something small in return: years off their life. Not about to let Nuala anywhere near his golden years, James is determined to keep his distance but the smart-mouth Nuala fits perfectly with his cocky persona and he just can't forget about her.For someone whose entire life is music, Nuala is basically irresistible. A couple of their exchanges are some of the best I've read, even if they were just sitting around, banging about. Of course, the faerie court hasn't forgotten about Dee and James, forcing James to work every bit of magic he has to protect his life-long friend while trying to figure out how to help Nuala avoid the same fate.Stepping into Maggie Stiefvater's world of faerie is like stepping into an alternate land where the colors are brighter, the people more compelling, and the music..? The music is achingly beautiful. Ballad is ultimately a world apart from Lament. This second book is a tighter, more coherent and more soul-wrenching book than it's predecessor. Everything about James combines for a seriously compelling character: his snarky one-liners; his oddball T-shirts; his wicked command of the BAGPIPES; his very own (very OCD) hand-writing complex?! Freaking-Fan-Tastic. If you haven't had a chance to read part of this breath-taking series, please do yourself a favor and track one down: borrow it, buy it - whatever, just get a copy and get ready to fall in love.
  • (5/5)
    My Thoughts: Ballad is, as James would say, painfully beautiful. Ever since I read Lament, and heard that Ballad would be written from James' point of view, I could not wait for this book. When I first started reading I was afraid the only side of James' we would see would be the boy pining after Dee. I am happy to report, that was not the case. Forget Edward, I want a boyfriend like James. He is sarcastic, hilarious, and so full of love for others. Hello, how can you not love him? James is the new "perfect", in my eyes. I will be comparing all potential boyfriends to him. Nuala, on the other hand, was snarky and hateful for the first three-quarters of the book. However, Maggie's writing is so amazing, you end up loving Nuala as well. Nuala was not just this vampiric, life-sucking faerie, she was full of heart, actually had morals, and was able to feel guilt, traits not usually seen in the Faerie race. Another character aspect that I loved was the text messages from Dee. Without those I would not have understood a lot that was happening when seen through James' or Nuala's eyes. Ballad perfectly blended all three characters into one seamless story. I am so glad that Maggie delved into the world at Thornking-Ash. I was mighty intrigued when I learned of the school in Lament. Ballad is a very visual book. I was able to picture everything with great detail, and I commend Ms. Stiefvater on her ability to paint such a vivid picture for her readers. James had so many problems to deal with in this book, I almost felt sorry for him. From being stalked by a homicidal faerie, to the possibility of losing his best friend, the poor guy just couldn't catch a break. There were so many plot threads happening at once, there was no way I could get bored.The Verdict: If you like reading, you'll LOVE this book. Like, go get it immediately.
  • (5/5)
    Description: After nearly being killed by the faerie court in the course of a political coup, James is ready to head off to boarding school and leave it all behind. Maybe he'll even manage to reconnect with his former best friend, Dee, now that Luke is out of the picture. But as James gets settled in at school, he starts to realize that the faeries may have followed him, and life is not going to get any easier. When he meets the mysterious creature Nuala (say it Noola), he strikes an uneasy truce that might grow into something more. That is, unless the capricious faerie queen decides to drive them apart.My thoughts: Wow. I loved this book.While I enjoyed Lament, I have to say that Ballad is better! The slight choppiness in the writing that bothered me with Lament is gone, replaced with beautifully flowing prose that suits the story incredibly well.The narration in Ballad alternates the perspectives of James and Nuala. I adore James as a protagonist. His witty narration is fun and easy to read, keeping a certain lightness in the story even when events take a dark turn. And his interaction with Nuala is fantastic. Nuala is a great character to spend time with as well. Her dark and mysterious history has created a personality that's edgy and not particularly good-natured, but she's vulnerable enough to make her likable. Fans of Dee will be sad to know that she takes a minor role in this story, sticking mainly to the background. Readers keep up with her through her unsent text messages to James, inserted randomly between chapters to advance the storyline. I also loved Sullivan, and I'll be interested to know what happens to him in the future if Stiefvater decides to continue with this world.On the negative side... I can't really think of anything that I didn't like. This is a great book! Read it!
  • (3/5)
    Please visit my blog to see my review in all its glory! Thanks, Jess.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Plot: 4Setting: 4Writing: 5Originality: 5Characters: 4Passion: 4Overall: 26/30 = 86% = BCover/Title Bonus: 4I won an ARC of Ballad on Maggie’s blog.Ballad is the follow up book to Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception.Summary (Amazon.com) Remember us, so sing the dead, lest we remember you James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.More details are on Maggi'e’s Website.Sneak PeaksI posted one.SNEAKPEEKMaggie posted one.SNEAKPEEKPlotThis story follows James and his adventure at his new school Thornking-Ash, where Dee transferred to as well. He meets a faerie girl, Nuala and they become friends in quite a roundabout way.I really enjoyed the story. I LOVED learning about James. He’s a sweet guy! There’s lots of references to music and instruments but it’s nothing too extreme to confuse the reader.The only thing I didn’t like about the plot is that I missed Dee’s POV. I have no idea what she was doing in this book and it kinda ticked me off to the point that I was hating her character. I would have loved her POV. The text messages just were not enough for me.SettingThe setting is the school Thornking-Ash. There’s lots of scenes around a large round fountain, which was cool. The school is also very cool with forgotten buildings overgrown with ivy and such. There’s a quick journey to “somewhere” else that was cool too.It’s set in present day.WritingAmazing. I love Maggie’s writing. She chose to write in alternating POVs between James and Nuala. There are also glimpses of unsent text messages from Dee to James that I honestly found confusing and ended up loathing to read them half way through the book. I would have rather heard from Dee than seen those texts. It was a cool idea but it made me hate Dee and I didn’t like hating Dee.OriginalityThe idea of the King of the Dead was pretty cool. Nuala was also very awesome. She’s supposed to “steal” James’s soul so she can keep living, which would make her the villain but things evolve quite well for both Nuala and James.CharactersThe main character is James. He’s a very cool guy. He has an enormous ego, which was incredibly funny at times. He’s a very strong character, which was overlooked in Lament.Nuala was refreshing. She comes out initially as overbearing but she quickly acclimates to James and then she transforms from faerie to something else entirely. Maybe a woman? She does mature a great deal.Mr. Sullivan is James’s teacher. He’s a very cool character too. He’s like an older version of James. He ends up tutoring James to teach him the piano because he’s already mastered the pipes. He ends up helping James and Nuala.Paul is James’s roommate and he’s freaking hilarious! The scene with the (non)beer is amazing.Dee is there but so not there. I really missed her POV as already stated. She played such a role in Lament that I wanted her to be included in Ballad too.PassionI missed Dee and Luke in this addition.James and Nuala’s relationship grows and matures really well. I really enjoyed their story.James and Dee have an episode of confusion, which I could have slapped the shit out of Dee for, but, alas, it’s just a book.OverallA great read and follow up to Lament. I still wish there was more Dee to love rather than hate. I loved James and Nuala was a nice partner for him. The King of the Dead was super cool. I’m wondering if Maggie will continue with the series sometime? I’d love to know what happened to Luke and where Dee will find happiness.Cover/Title BonusI love both! They are both impossibly perfect.SeriesLament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception My ReviewBallad: A Gathering of FaerieConnect with Maggie Stiefvaterico_www blogger_icon livejournalfacebook_icon twiiter_iconamazon-icon_bigger_normal_normal FluxTrailer Other ReviewsThe Story SirenThe Magic of InkL.J. BoldyrevLaura’s Book Review ShelfDid you review Ballad too? Put the link in comments and I’ll add it!Other LinksAuthor Interview by The Story SirenAuthor Interview by Wondrous ReadsAuthor Interview by YAReadsAuthor Interview by Fangs, Fur & FeyWin Ballad on Free Book Friday. Ends 10/02Win Ballad on Book Reviews by Jess. Ends 10/08line_separatorSo what do you think? Have you read Lament? Will you be reading Ballad? Did you enjoy it?I’ll be giving away a copy of Ballad! See the next post.