Well I finally finished Ballad a few hours ago. Right now I'm going to just pour out my feelings about this amazing, amazing book.
In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament, 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.
Don't think that I could say enough praise for Ballad. To be honest with you, after I finished Lament I was looking forward to what would happen to Dee. As I read the synopsis for Ballad, I was rather put off that this time it was going to be about James instead. That was so wrong of me to feel. This book totally blew me away. And it's more of a companion book rather than a sequel to Lament. I have come to like James when I read Lament and in this one, I fell for him just a little bit more.
This book focuses on James after all he went through in Lament, including his unreturned sentiment for Dee, and everything else in between. Of course, the way Maggie Stiefvater writes is totally captivating. As I said before, her writing is so poetic and lyrical, I just couldn't get enough. How she painted James' complicated character was very detailed and charming. James himself is charming. I love the little quirky things about him, his sarcastic, witty comments, his weird t-shirts, his writing-on-hand habit. Oh, and his bagpiping talents. He definitely made me laugh out loud as I read.
Then there's Nuala, the faerie muse whom he meets. Nuala is a faery muse who feeds off of the mystifying musical talents of human until they die. She is drawn to James and makes a deal with him and for the first time, he rejects her invitation. But there's this thing between them that couldn't be denied and that grew into something fiery. There are changes of point of view between James and Nuala but she has a way with her narrative voice that I wasn't even bothered, annoyed or confused. There were parts of the book where I was just so captivated. The story's so beautiful that it hurt for me to read on, but I was with the book until the last word and emotion. I loved being in Maggie's faerie world as I read the book and it was sad for me that I have to leave it. I love the characters so much and they're close to my heart. James and Nuala have got to be one of my favorite characters in any book, and their unique, quick witted personality just clicked.
I miss James already now. I can't wait for more books from Maggie, and her work is an inspiration to me.
Grade: A +