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Ballad Paperback – 5 May 2011
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Ballad is giddy, intoxicating, and threatening all at once. --Tamora Pierce
Readers of Holly Black's Tithe (2002) or Charles de Lint's The Blue Girl (2004) will enjoy this rich foray into faerie. The book's backdrop, so firmly rooted in Celtic myth, is scary, mysterious, magical, and horrifying. ----Booklist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Maggie Stiefvater is an accomplished musician who has infused her knowledge of music and Celtic folklore into this acclaimed faerie series. Shiver, her forthcoming book from Scholastic, will also be released this fall. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This time around, it is not Dee who is pursued by 'Them', but James. He and Dee now attend the prestigious music school Thornking Ash where he is pursuing his dream to become a better Piper (bagpiper).
He has unwittingly attracted the attention of one of the Leanan Sidhe who are Faerie but not quite Faerie (yes, that's right) and are also deadly to humans. Their aim is to give you something like inspiration for your music and in return you give them some of your years (life).
If you love Celtic mythology and lore and of course stories about the Sidhe then you will find this book utterly irrestible. It has elements of love, hatred, resentment, bravery, forgiveness in it plus a whole load of horror although not the slash, maul genre. It is both threatening and mindblowing.
Maggie Stiefvater certainly knows how to weave a story so expertly that you will want to read this book in one go and then you will be sorry when you have finished it. I am hoping that she will maybe turn this series into a trilogy.
I loved James. He was cocky, arrogant and a little full of himself but there is also so much more to him which is shown slowly throughout the story as things begin to happen. I liked him from the off after having already read Lament but as I turned each page, I liked him a little bit more each time. Even though James has a tough exterior, it is easy to see what else there is to him e.g. when he gets nervous or wants to remember something, he writes notes all over his hands and I thought this was a really sweet and different characteristic for someone to have. It gave him depth.
Unlike Stiefvater's other books, this one focuses on the fae. Nuala was a fantastic character and was so interesting. As she changes every 16 years, the name she has this book is not the one she had before and not even close to her real name. Fae lore has a massive thing about real names being revealed and if they are, the person who knows has power over them so the changing of Nuala's name was actually a pretty big part of this book. She originally starts off as the villain of Ballad, being everything that James could ever want and wish for and therefore, making her job a little too easy at times. As with James, there is more to Nuala than meets the eye although we don't get to learn this quite as quick as we do with James.
Ballad is a well paced book with a large focus on music (as the name suggests). It is told from the points of view of James, Nuala and Dee and I thought that this was a great way to find out things from different perspectives. Each character has something interesting and exciting to add to the story and without it being told this way, a lot of the little details would have been missed out. Stiefvater's fae books are so different and magical compared to The Wolves of Mercy Falls series but her writing still remains as wonderful as ever!
I love Maggie Stiefvater's writing style and i am very pleased to say that Ballad is a beautiful follow up from Lament. There are some new characters all of which you will have strong feelings about and as the book focuses mostly on James, who was my favourite character from Lament, you will be swept into a world of music,fey and love that will leave you with the inevitable feeling of loss that you get after finishing a Stiefvater.Love it.
James is a music prodigy who plays the bagpipes like no other and he attracts the attention of Nuala, a Leanne Sidhe fairy who feeds off his musical aura.
James is in love with Dee, but she is in love with a fairy and despite almost losing his life for her, she keeps him at a distance and James feels lonely, but for the call of antlered Kings song. Nuala is a seductive temptress who can change her appearance to attract any young man, but she only wants James, but unlike the many men before him, she does not want to take his life and this has consequences for them both.
Will James ever have a love for keeps?
Recommended for female readers, aimed at young adult, but I am 36 and loved it! Also recommend that you read "Lament" first to get into the background of this novel. Fanatastic!
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This book was frustrating.Read more