Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spoiler warning: Because this book is a sequel, this review may contain spoilers of the first book. If you haven’t read “Lament”, you may want to skip this review.

author’s website:
website & blog
release date: October 1, 2009
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Fantasy (faeries)
length: 360 pages
overall rating: 5 Stars

*the back cover & inside page*
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. (*note: this description is found inside the book on page 2)

*my review*
I have to begin with two things unrelated to the story. First, I read Maggie Stiefvater’s blog almost daily, and if you read that blog, you really get a glimpse of her personality. Second, as a teacher, I often teach my students about putting “voice” into a story. Voice is tricky to define, but my
6 + 1 Traits of Writing book says that “Voice is the soul of the piece. It’s what makes the writer’s style singular, as his or her feelings and convictions come out through the words.” (p. 12)

That being said, this story has awesome voice! You can hear Stiefvater’s personality in the writing, but each character also has his/her own personalities that come through. I was especially drawn to the character of James because he has a no-nonsense, say-it-like-it-is kind of attitude that I really enjoy. Yes, he’s arrogant. Yes, he’s kind of an ass sometimes. But overall, he has some incredible strength, and he’s an excellent character. Nuala also seems to have the no-nonsense attitude, but with a snobbish tone, so you have to love when James spits the attitude right back at her.

The story is told through chapters that alternate in perspective from James to Nuala, and with occasional text message drafts from Dee. While Dee isn’t really a lead character in this story (like she was in “Lament”), the text messages really give a glance into her thoughts and show the readers things that James doesn’t see.

This book has suspense, mystery, faeries, music, and a plot with twists and turns that creates a story that you can’t put down. It is easily a five star choice!

*short and snappy*
writing
: full of personality – there is so much personality in this story, that you
plot: twisty and suspenseful, the book was hard to put down
characters: very well developed with a lot of depth that comes out at unexpected times
a line of great writing: “I climbed the creaking, carpet-covered steps to the second floor, which was hotter than Hades and smelled like sweat and nerves.” (p. 23)
judging by the cover: the cover ties into the story more than I realized, but you don’t fully get it until almost the end
miscellaneous: there are mp3 downloads of music that goes with the story, a playlist for the story, and a book trailer at the “Ballad” site (
here)

2 comments:

Amelia said...

Hey Molly,
I haven't read LAMENT yet, but I read this anyway :o !! Thanks for bringing this series to my attention. That WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS gets so much attention, I forgot that Maggie had another series out there. Cool! I might just have to check this out.

Thank you for the "short and snappy" section: that's awesome

Blueicegal ♥ said...

i love the cover for this and it sounds really good,great review ps your blog is so prettyyy!

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