Book Review: Ballad

Ballad (Books of Faerie #2)
Published By: Flux
Publication Date: October 2009
Page Count: 352
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy

Ballad is another old favorite that I read (and reread) in the days prior to Reading Lark. As mentioned in my review of Lament, Maggie Stiefvater is a Lark favorite, so I wanted to be sure to pay homage to the series that first got me hooked on her writing. Stiefvater's writing has certainly evolved over time, but even these earlier novels were beautiful things that slithered through my mind and captivated my reader's soul.

Ballad takes place after the events of Lament, but could technically be read as a standalone. I still thinking reading Dee's story first is valuable and provides a lot of background on the relationship between her and James. Both characters have been accepted into a prestigious music conservatory, but the fey are not done with them just yet. While Dee was the main target of supernatural interest in the first novel, James takes the focus in this one. I loved getting to see James shine as he took more of a backseat in Lament, but I wasn't a huge fan of Dee's diminished role. She didn't feel like the same girl to me this time around and I found her to be too needy.

This time James finds himself the object of attraction for Nuala, a fey who has been known to suck the souls out of her human lovers. This is bad news for James fans as we love his soul right where it is and don't wish to see him wither away to nothing. I wasn't a fan of Nuala at first, but eventually she grew on me and I began to see her as more of a tragic figure.

As with the first novel, the fey are dark and gave me the chills. They are bloodthirsty and ruthless. I think of them as homicidal manic sorts rather than cute and cuddly wish granters. I think Stiefvater's fey would be the sort to meet up in dark alleys with the fey from Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series. That rumble would be the stuff of nightmares.

I love the beautiful, lyrical writing Stiefvater infuses into each of her novels. Her use of language always keeps me coming back for more. 

One Last Gripe: As mentioned, I wasn't a huge fan of how things went down for Dee in this one, but I still ended up enjoying the novel.

Favorite Thing About This Book: the Celtic lore

First Sentence: I was used to being the hunter.

Favorite Character: James

Least Favorite Character: Dee

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.