In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, 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.
I have to admit that I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Unlike so many others, I wasn't blown away by Lament and was worried that Ballad would hold the same fate for me. This worry ended up being completely unnecessary as Ballad gripped me in a way that it's predecessor failed to... Ballad was a wonderful love story that will keep you frantically flipping the pages, full of desire to see what happens next to our unlikely lovers.
After the crazed events of Lament, James and Deirdre both begin attending Thornking-Ash Conservatory, a private school for students with exceptional musical gifts, gifts that can attract the wrong kind of attention. It's not long after beginning that James attracts the worst kind of attention possible--a faery muse who survives by ultimately killing humans after making a deal with them that not many aspiring musicians can refuse. The unimaginable occurs when this faery, Nuala, forms feelings for James that she did not think she was capable of. Feelings that make her question her existence and the way that she wants to live. And James begins to fall for Nuala too, possibly sealing his fate in a very deadly way. Couple this with the fact that James and other exceptionally gifted students are hearing Cernunnos' death song nightly, and the fact that Deirdre is slowly unraveling, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Mystery, heartbreak, and impossible choices face the characters of Ballad as Halloween draws near. If James is forced to make an extremely difficult choice, can he find the strength to choose the hard path, even if it means his heart could break beyond repair? And can his friendship with Deirdre be salvaged, or is it far too late for that?
I REALLY liked this book. MUCH more than Lament. James is a fantastic character, and you can't help rooting for him, wanting to see him find the happiness he deserves. There were moments in this book that I just wanted to hug him, and to punch Deirdre in the face! But love wins out when James finds Nuala. Will that love last though or is fate set against them? I'm not spoilering that one for you, you're just going to have to read it to find out! :)
I am super happy with this one though, Ballad gets a strong 4 of 5 stars from me. The main relationship was much more believable to me than Deirdre and Luke were in Lament. I actually CARED what happened to James and Nuala. And James... *sigh* Gosh, I adore him. If you haven't tried this series yet, what are you waiting for? Maggie Stiefvater is an amazing storyteller, you won't be disappointed! HAPPY READING! *XOXO*