"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."
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Flux
I read Lament , the first book of this two book series, in the summer and was captivated by the characters. Maggie Stiefvater writes from first person POV in all her books, which is hard to accomplish, and just makes you feel like you know her characters personally. (If you want to read Ballad you really need to read Lament first to know where the characters are coming from. It could be confusing as a stand alone story.) In Ballad we find James at Thornking Ash Music school, where he discovers he also can see the faeries. Dee has started to avoid him as she tries to figure out life without Luke, and she herself has drawn the faeries to the school. After all, she is the cloverhand. What follows is a life or death battle for Dee's soul and the students of Thronking Ash. But this book focus is on James and his personal dealing with the fey world, mainly in the form of the muse Nuala, a faerie who takes the life slowly from her victims in exchange for the gift of beautiful music. (Of course her victims don't know this.) But she finds herself falling in love with James, leaving HER to slowly fade away when she can't bring herself to make the deal with him, and James questioning his love for Dee. James discovers that the fey world is even more sinister than he had first discovered, and that love brings hard choices and great sacrifice. I really like James as a character. He is sarcastic, self absorbed at times and totaly nurotic. All of it makes him belivable as someone who is struggling with all the revelations thrown upon him. I also like the fact he dosen't just take things blindly as other characters in similar books have. He questions why and wonders if things are real. He is very belevable and vulnrable that way.
As some may know, I have a soft spot in my heart for Maggie Stiefvater, she is after all my all time favorite author, but that aside, this book is a wonderful and intense read. She brings the world of faeries and Celtic lore to life in a very vivid and accessible way. Blending it with the modern world and molding it together. At times you feel like the fey really walk among us. It is a rare gift to make someone forget time and space when reading a novel, and I found myself devouring this book in one night. I also felt the need to find a CD of bagpipe music! Hmmmm, read it, you will see why. Definite spot on the bookshelf!!!