Im going to skip the Synop...because you all know what the basis is....
This series, beginning with Lament which introduces us to James through his best friend Dee's story was a wonderful book, but I just fell in love with James so much that Ballad is now my favorite of the two. The story is told through James and Nuala’s perspectives, and it flowed beautifully. If you didn’t read Lament first Dee might have seemed like a cold and distant character but her torture over losing Luke was so apparent I couldn’t help but feel depressed with her, but also was whooping with James who tremendously grows up in this book and then some. The always poor, poor James forever pinning over the heartbroken and intense Dee, is finally……FINALLY able to see past his unreturned love for her and opens his heart to true love and endless possibilities.
I can't say enough how much I loved this book. I can’t begin to say how much I love Maggie Stiefvater.....(please Maggie have coffee with me because I want to pick the brain of your awesomeness) The beautiful writing is so creative, she makes James so witty that you love him even if he is supposed to be arrogant...It just works for him. He is the type of character that you just can't get enough dialogue from! I was laughing through most of this because James is so hysterical and Nuala (funny and witty herself) was a perfect match for James and the two complemented each other well!
Like with all of Ms. Maggie’s writing thus far, each chapter wove poetic and haunting words. Her characters have so much depth they are hard to forget. I mean taste this little nugget from the King of the Dead:
I keep the dead and the dead keep me. We are cold and dark, we are one and we are many, we wait and we wait so sing the dead; So sing I, grow, rise follow……………….
Cernunnos’ music was beautiful but creepy dark and goose bump worthy, thinking about his big antler head and the dramatic and eerie words that he sang made me shudder just a bit.
Also, I loved that Maggie (because a lot of YA author’s adult characters are all bone-heads or so background you never get to know them) wrote in a fantastic adult character named Sullivan. I loved that he was able to connect with James and had maturity and wisdom that comes with living longer than a teen, but is also able to use his maturity and wisdom to help kids and be “guidance” to them. I loved who Sullivan was and absolutely love what this author did to his character. I want a book all about Sullivan Ms. Maggie!!!!!!
I dont want to put to much info in my review because I truly feel you need to experience all the oh's and ah's and gasps for yourself.Don’t miss out on this wonderful and mesmerizing new author. Due to language and content I’d recommend this to the mature teen and adult.
5/5 YA Faeries, love, poetry, beauty, creepy………almost as brilliant as Shiver……..I could on and on…….BWB Rating: 4/4
Discussion Questions:1. James is a flawed and heart broken character, do you find his mental peculiarities charming or annoying? Please do explain. I loved James, I thought his wit and sarcaism worked well with the story, it gave the book its much needed humor, I thought James knew when to be serious and when to keep his mouth shut.
2. What did you think of James and Dee's kiss? This being a pivotal moment for their relationship, how do you think it changed James? Im so glad James got to kiss Dee.....dont get me wrong I think he still loves her, BUT I think James finally broke through some major chains that was his bondage to everything Dee.......After the kiss I think for the first time James feels free of her and is able to move on.
3. Whom do you prefer Dee or Nuala? So I loved James but I also loved Dee in Lament.....I liked Nuala, she was hard to get to know but I think shes perfect for James...however I like Dee better. The story between her and Luke was so awesome, Dee may have seemed very background to Ballad but she's a major character.
4. What's your verdict on the best way to read Ballad? Is it a stand alone book or do you need to read Lament first? If you read Lament, what did it add/not add to Ballad? If you haven't read Lament, do you think it would have added to your reading of Ballad? You can read it alone because the story is about James and Nuala....but reading Lament adds so many layers to the background of Ballad. Knowing Dee's story helps you understand why shes a cloverhand and also why James was almost killed.
5. We've been reading a lot of stories with fairies as the central paranormal creatures. What are your thoughts on the "Fair Folk". Do you believe in faires? I love Fairies....its my favorite in the urban and Paranormal, I like the nicer fey though...I loved Melissa Marrs world and Wings was a nice one.....the evil fairies are creepy.....and NO I dont believe in them, only on the page in my imagination, if I saw one for real I might S*** my pants.