Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater is the highly anticipated sequel to Lament.  Let me begin by saying I really loved Lament!  It is one of my favorite books, so naturally I have been counting the days until I could get my hands on Ballad. This book was worth the wait!  Ballad Rocked!!  I fell in love with James in Lament and was left wanting more from his character... Ballad delivered in a big way!

The story begins with James, a music prodigy/bagpiper/reluctant psychic,  adjusting to life at Thornking-Ash School of Music.  He and Dee (his best friend and powerful Cloverhand) both decided to attend there after the events that took place over the summer in Lament.  James is still suffering in silence over his unrequited love for Dee.  Dee is miserable and distant over the loss of her boyfriend Luke, who now lives amongst the faeries in order to stay alive.  This distance between James and Dee provides the perfect opportunity for Nuala, a faerie that feeds off human creativity, to enter James' life.  Nuala is drawn to James through his music but she soon finds out that there may be more behind this undeniable pull she feels to him.  As they collaborate together on a beautiful and haunting musical composition, James and Nuala begin to have feelings for each other that neither thought possible.  Unfortunately, as Halloween approaches Thornking-Ash is overrun with faeries and the haunting song of the horned king of the dead.  James must look deep within himself and make the hardest decision of his life if he wants to save not only himself, but Nuala and Dee.

Ballad is a powerful, romantic, sad, funny and fascinating story.  Maggie Stiefvater does a great job developing her characters so that the reader feels a connection to them.  James is so magnetic!  I love his quirky personality, sharp tongue and unassuming charm.  He is just cool!!  I also like the way that the point of view alternates between James and Nuala.  I believe this gives the reader a much better insight into the main characters.  I really hope there is a third book planned for this series.  I haven't heard anything yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed!

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