Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Flux
Publication date: October 2009
ISBN: 9780738714844

Source: Library

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie 

James and Deidre continue their adventures with fey at a musical conservatory where they hope to deepen their musical abilities.  James is being stalked by Nuala, a faerie who expands a human's musical skills in exchange for a heavy price.  Their relationship takes some interesting turns as they give and take from each other in surprising ways.  But, things get much more dangerous when James realizes both Deidre and Nuala are in danger from a very powerful faery.

Things I Liked:
The writing, as always, was just gorgeous.  Stiefvater is so careful with each sentence and phrase that it seems like it must take years to write these books.  I also really loved the interesting twists and turns to the story.  It wasn't really at all what I expected of a sequel to Lament.  I'd call it more of a companion book.  I just adore James, the sarcastic little sweetheart, and I realized I don't really care at all for Deidre (whose story was really a side plot).  James was the life of the story and everything else just kind of decorated the background behind his vibrant personality.  Here are some parts I just had to share:

The first week - all coy introductions in class and fluffy assignments - was over, and the second week was showing its teeth.  Out came the giant homework assignments, the writing-upon of boards, and the general rending of garments that go with high school  It was funny - I'd really thought in the back of my head that a school filled with music geeks would be different from a regular high school, but really the only thing that was different was that we played our roles according to where we sat in the orchestra.  Brass players: jerks.  Woodwinds: snobby cliques.  Strings: overachievers with their hands up all the time.  Percussion: class clowns. p 15
The humble practice chanter is a slender plastic version of the chanter on the full-sized pipes, and its primary virtue is that it's one thousand times quieter than the actual pipes - making you one thousand times less likely to be stoned to death while practicing indoors.  It's also a heck of a lot easier to play, physically - none of that huffing-puffing-blow-your-bag-in thing.  It also sounds like a dying goose; for sheer impressiveness, you need the actual pipes. p 24
I got tired of watching her boohoo-ness really fast, and decided to go to the movie theater instead.  If I was going to be witness to that amount of melodrama, I wanted it to be delivered by a highly paid and beautiful head on a big screen.  p 73
Things I Didn't Like:
It felt like very slow reading.  Things didn't seem to happen so much as glide by in slow-motion.  It also felt a bit melodramatic throughout the whole thing, like being a teenager feels, actually.  If it weren't for the redeeming sarcastic humor of James, it would have been over the top.

Read Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

These books might tide you over while you wait for next Iron Fey book by Julie Kagaway
Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr

s-factor: !@#$
almost too much for me

mrg-factor: XX
several incidents and plenty of innuendo

v-factor: ->
some parts, but not a lot

Overall rating: ****

I'd read a cereal box written by Stiefvater. Do you have an author like that?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Maggie is great. Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss), Kiersten White (Paranormalcy) are two new authors whose books delighted me so much that I would buy any book they wrote. Sharon Shinn, Melissa Marr, and Juliet Marillier are authors whose books are automatic buys.

  2. LinWash, I've heard so much about Anna and the French Kiss, but can't seem to get it at my libraries! I'm totally with you on Juliet Marillier too. I still haven't read everything she's written yet!

  3. How many books are going to be in this series?

  4. As far as I know, there are just these two books. And I don't know that there are any more planned.

  5. Thanks Melissa! I only just finished reading "Ballad" today and I so agree with your review, James personality created this book!!! I just loved his personality and like I said in my review, "Lament" and "Ballad" had a similar theme to their story, human falls in love with faery that's bad for them etc etc. but I found "Ballad" so much better than "Lament" I think because of James!

  6. Angelica, I completely agree. This one, while it does have a similar story to Lament, is much more fun because of James.


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