A Gathering of Faerie #2
From Amazon: 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.
I was very sad when I finished this story. Not that I didn't love it - because I did - but Ballad was the last remaining Maggie Stiefvater novel that I hadn't read, which means no more until next year probably.
I don't think I need to tell you again how much I love Maggie Stiefvater's writing. It is absolutely magical and beautiful and lyrical and whatever other wonderful adjectives you can think of to describe wordsmiths. It gives me that warm, fuzzy good book feeling and at the same time makes me terribly worried because I need things to work out okay and I'm afraid they won't.
Ballad is not exactly a sequel to Lament. Instead of more of Dee and Luke, we hear from James and the leanan sidhe Nuala. I was perfectly happy with this shift because I really liked James in Lament and wanted to see more of him. I like him even better after Ballad. James is witty and sarcastic, one of those people who always has a line waiting, but it's more believable than that sort of attribute generally is because it's so clearly something that arises from his need to control whatever situation he's in. James is one of the best characters I've seen in a long time, and I really want the next book in the series to come out - but I don't think even Maggie knows when that will happen.
While I didn't love Nuala quite as much as James, I most definitely sympathized with her and found their relationship wonderful - they're much more the hiding-emotion-behind-jokes-and-insults than mushy love talk types. One thing I thought was a little odd about this book was that Dee did have appearances in her own words, but they were displayed as unsent texts to James. Whenever I read them I felt like there was so much more I wanted to know - even after finishing the book I'm still not entirely certain what was going on with Dee. Hopefully this will be covered in the as-yet-unfinished third book of the trilogy.
Plot: 4 cupcakes
Characters: 4 cupcakes
Style: 4 cupcakes
Overall: 4 cupcakes
If you liked Ballad, try:
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Tithe by Holly Black
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa