Book Review: Ballad (Books of Faerie #2) by Maggie Stiefavter

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Review, Young Adult
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: October 1, 2009
ISBN 10: 0738714844
ISBN 13: 9780738714844
Source: Personal Purchase
 
Rating: 4/5

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.

***** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS *****

Review:
 
In the beginning of the book I was totally confused….The characters kept talking about events that took place “last summer” which I took to mean “the last book, Lament” which I did NOT read before I started Ballad (bad me!). The book starts off telling us – the readers – a little bit about the Leanan Sidhe and then about the death of a Leanan Sidhe. Then we meet Dee, who we “hear” from in the book mostly in the form of text messages to James. James and Dee are new students at a prestigeous music high school called Thornking-Ash. James plays the bagpipe and is kind of a smart ass (which is an unusual instrument, but if you’ve ever heard it belt out Amazing Grace your hooked) and Dee plays the harp. James’ roomate in the dorms is Paul who is a talented Oboe player but in my opinion a little bit too straightlaced for my liking in the beginning of the book.

 
The first week of school is just like any other school….learning the ground rules, learning your way around….all that fun stuff. Then week two starts and James and Paul are assigned to read Hamlet in Mr. Sullivan’s first hour English class AND James is hearing and seeing the Antler King (king of the dead)…which means that there are fey around. Seems that there is a cloverhand (calls to the fey) at the school. Then to top is off James is sent to take private piping lessons from a piper who is nowhere near as good as James. Upon leaving his disasterous lesson James meets Nuala who is a Leanan Sidhe. In the beginning Nuala wants to make a “deal” with James but James refuses. But Nuala doesn’t give up….Nuala has never not gotten what (read: who) she wanted, so she decides that she is going to send him a dream that will just make him want to take the “deal.” The day after James’ disasterous piping lesson he is informed by Sullivan that he will either have to learn the guitar or the piano instead to meet his musical requirements.

 
I didn’t really like Dee….She seemed really weak and whiney….Not to mention more than a little bit of a “user”…..Nobody likes to be used, especially James. This is the point where is feelings start to shift in regards to the ladies in his life….In the beginning all he wanted was Dee and he wanted nothing to do at all with Nuala….now it’s starting to shift the other way. Nuala takes James one night to a movie where they get to talking about things and end up sitting down and writing the play Ballad. Upon the completion of reading Hamlet Sullivan assigns a 10 page essay on Metaphor to his students. James and Paul are so NOT happy about the assignment that it leads to one of my favorite scenes in the book…Paul getting “drunk.” This is where James tells Paul about Ballad and we learn that James and Dee aren’t the only ones who are dealing with the paranormal.

 
The further into the book I got the more I learned and liked Nuala. In the beginning I thought she was going to be some soul sucking leech but she really isn’t like that. Come to find out she’s part human and every 16 years on Halloween she must burn in order to continue to live. But the kicker is that once she comes back she has no memories. Also, the further into the book I got the less I liked the “relationship” between James and Dee….Very UNhealthy. You also learn who the cloverhand is and what James and Nuala have to do while she is burning to make there dreams come true. Also, Thornking-Ash isn’t just any ordinary prestigous music school either. Oh and all the “dirty deeds done dirt cheap” whichs ends up with a new King of the Dead being crowned. Oh, and Ballad? Ballad ends up being AWESOME!

 
Overall, I was really happy with the book. Next time though….I will start with the first book in the series so things make sense in the second book!
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