Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Flux
Goodreads Synopsis:

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 enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I've read the first one, Lament, and thought it was pretty good. It was amazing, and I didn't particularly feel for the characters, but I liked them. I liked the characters a lot more in this book.
James is awesome. He's very sarcastic and snarky, and also kind of adorable. I liked his conversations with everyone, all of his comebacks. I felt bad for him because of Dee, and how Dee treated him. I liked her in the first book, and I kept trying to like her still in this one, but I kind of sided with Nuala on how she felt about her. Mostly, I really felt all of the things that he did, and related to him quite well.
Nuala is a faerie, a Leanan Sidhe, who is a muse for humans and in return takes years from their life. And she only lives sixteen years before she burns up on Halloween and starts a new with no memory and looking mostly the same age, but her looks change to fit her current artist. She's very harsh and mean to most people. But I liked her a lot as well.
I liked the plot line, and the ending was very good. Much more satisfying than the ending of the first book. At least for James. I'm not totally sure what all happened to Dee. I have an idea of what went down, but I'm mostly confused on the Luke thing, like if it was really him or not. I did like how things worked out for Nuala, too. I don't want to spoil too much, but I think things worked out very well for them, and I'm glad the ending wasn't left too open.
I also really liked Sullivan, James' teacher. He was fun and sweet, and I'm a little upset at how things worked out for him, but I guess they kind of make sense. I feel like the last scene with all of them wasn't done as well as it could have been, as it seemed a little too cliché, but the outcome worked out well. And I liked Paul, James' roommate. And the school that they're all going to, a musical boarding school called Thornking-Ash, is fantastic. Even if some of the teachers are crazy and the school opened for a not so good reason or in a not so good place, I would still totally go there.
The writing was especially pretty in this book. I've talked about Stiefvater's writing before, with how lyrical and pretty it is and all that, but I think that it's especially so in this book. In her small faerie series, because of the music element, it adds to things for her to describe and make pretty. And she definitely accomplished it in this book. It was all so very gorgeous.

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