After a summer of hell, filled with faeries, almost death, and an awkward text, James is headed off to Thornking-Ash, a prestigious musical school that also seems to be aware of the strange world of faeries. As James struggles with his unrequited love for his best friend Dee and being an outcast in a school of outcasts, he must avoid the strange music he hears every night, calling him. When a mysterious girl shows up asking for James’s talent he begins to approach a line he hoped to never come across again. The line between humans and faeries. As Nuala grows closer to James she has to make a choice that will irrevocably change her and James’s lives.
The Good: Maggie Stiefvater is such a genius. Her characters are so dynamic. I loved James especially and his point of view was very interesting. I dubbed it “The Jacob”, in other words the best friend that doesn’t get chosen in the romance department. I loved learning about the bagpipes and was amused with his hand-writing fetish and large vocab. Dee, though not a large character in Ballad, had unsent text messages to James about things happening to her. This was a unique way to get another side of the story and to clue in the reader but not the main character. Ballad was very well written. Stiefvater has this was of making the world of her books seem so real and believable. Its such a reality check when I remember faeries aren’t real. And Ballad gives me hope that Stiefvater can write books that don’t make me bawl and that Forever will be happy. But it still seems unlikely.
The Bad: Ballad started out a little slow. Till about halfway through the book I just wasn’t very into the book. I found it hard to really get into and relate to the characters. This may just have been a weird time in my week. It felt like I was just kind of watching a tv show and not really paying attention. But I still recognize that Maggie is a fantastic writer and would recommend this book to fans of her.
Ugly Updates: Stiefvater has written another series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls. Shiver and Linger are published. The conclusion, Forever, comes out July 2011 . Visit Stiefvater's website for more info about her and her books. She also has a mailing list and a blog with up to date info on all of her books.
(Book links to Amazon)
Rating: B (Thanks Angela!)