Sunday, December 09, 2012

Review: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Ballad
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Children's Books, an imprint of Scholastic Ltd
Year of Release: 2009
ISBN: 978 1 407 12112 3
Source: Purchased
Number of Pages: 388
When his best friend, Dee, fell in love with a faerie, James realised she'd never feel the same way about him. Trying to escape into music, James finds himself surrounded by more faeries than ever. Before he knows it, James is trapped in a dangerous game. One where the only way to win is to betray the one you love...
A ballad is a poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas. This book isn't a ballad, however it contains components of one. Many chapters are opened with a poem,  'Golden Tongue: The Poems of Steven Slaughter'. These excerpts are beautiful and many readers went mad trying to find the source of these poems, only to find out that they were written by Maggie herself. The last book, Lament, was told in Dee's perspective, but in this sequel, James is the main focus and the book alternates between chapters given from his POV and a faerie called Nuala. Nuala is quite a character. At the beginning of the book, we believe her to be evil and cunning. James is on her radar and her job is to make a deal with him- giving him her inspiration for his music in return for his life- or years of it, gradually being taken away from him, allowing Nuala to live. Nuala is what is called a leanan sidhe, and this means that she will live for 16 years and 16 years only, making deals with the musically gifted, and taking years off their lives, until, on the night of Halloween on her sixteenth year, she is burnt alive and reborn from the ashes as a new person, with new memories but always with the same twisted purpose. Until she falls in love with her next target: James. She refuses to harm him, even though she will suffer and grow weaker without making deals. We get a tiny perspective from Dee in this book- fifteen unsent text messages to James at the end of a few of the chapters. The two work through their relationship, made complicated by her fling with Luke and James' feelings for her. Nearing the end of the novel, James is put in a position where he must choose between Nuala, the faerie girl he has fallen for and Dee, his best friend and the girl he's loved forever. 
My only criticism is that the book was kind of slow and very complicated at times. It wasn't exactly the easiest book to read. You really have to pay attention or you'll find yourself rereading the previous page to figure out what the hell is going on. 
I hope you enjoyed my review! :) 

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