- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 12
- Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
- Series: A Lament Novel (Book 2)
- Paperback: 353 pages
- Publisher: Flux; Original edition (October 8, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0738714844
- ISBN-13: 978-0738714844
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 110 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie (A Lament Novel) Paperback – October 8, 2009
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Brenna Yovanoff is is the author of The Replacement and has published in various journals. She lives in Denver, Colorado. Recently she sat down with Maggie Stiefvater to discuss Stiefvater's Ballad and The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Maggie interviewed Brenna.
Brenna: Even though we all know that characters are not authors, we also know that characters sort of are their authors (at least a little bit). Which of your characters would you say is most like you as a person?
Maggie: Well, most of my characters are delightfully single-minded, because that is what characters do. So if I were arguing a high-level thesis paper, I’d probably declare that, in fact, all of my characters are really me, just exaggerated, stripped of gray areas and less than crystal clear motivations. Even the evil ones. Maybe especially the evil ones. >br/>
That said, I’ve been told I’m quite like Isabel from the Shiver [Wolves of Mercy Falls] series and James from Ballad.
Brenna: If Cole from the Shiver trilogy and James from Ballad had to fight each other in a snark-off, who would win?
Maggie: James, I’m afraid. Cole has learned to rely far too much on his appearance to win these things and sometimes, my friends, a finely crafted chin will just not get you ahead in life.
Brenna: When your characters are romantically involved, they’re willing to fight desperately to be together, often against seemingly insurmountable odds. Like when their significant others turn into wolves and run away into the forest. Where do you stand on the topic of true love?
Maggie: I’m a fan/ believer/ proponent of true love. I think it’s worth waiting for, and I also think it’s worth fighting for once you’ve found it. I’m one of those madly in love people who just doesn’t understand why anyone would stand for anything less. I also find long-term dating confusing. I was engaged after a month and a half because, like Grace in Shiver, I am bad at shopping. I just see what I want, and then I go and get it.
Brenna: Cole St. Clair’s band Narkotika is, understandably, not a real band. However, if it were a real band, what would it sound like?
Maggie: Well, I think that Narkotika, like love, is in the eye of the beholder. It’s supposed to be an edgy, hard, slightly unsettling band, and that varies depending on what you listen to. Also, it was originally an electronica band (think Blaqk Audio). These days I go through life thinking that possibly they would sound like Ringside. Or Korn. Or Carolina Liar. Or Three Days Grace. I realize that these bands sound nothing like each other. I have no good explanation for that.
Brenna: What would you say to all the woefully optimistic girls out there (i.e., me) who want to know if Cole would date them? What if they said please?
Maggie: Oh, Cole would date you. I guarantee you he would date you. If by “date,” you mean “make out with you in a dark hallway, remove some of your clothing, completely avoid giving you his contact information, disappear, and make you have a resulting existential crisis about why you date boys who treat you badly.”
The please wouldn’t be necessary.
"Readers of Holly Black's Tithe (2002) or Charles de Lint's The Blue Girl (2004) will enjoy this rich foray into faerie. The book's backdrop, so firmly rooted in Celtic myth, is scary, mysterious, magical, and horrifying." --Booklist
"Ballad is giddy, intoxicating, and threatening all at once." --Tamora Pierce
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That said I had a hard time getting into this book—not sure why, but perhaps because the major character from the first novel steps back and (semi-central) James becomes the pivotal character. They have moved on from their prior school to a famous high school for musicians. And they have also moved on, to some extent, from each other. Dee’s communication to James consists primarily of unsent text messages. While James is working hard to understand this new, odd school, he starts hearing music coming from the hills, and seeing and hearing one of Them who wants to become his mentor in exchange for . . . . Where is the music coming from? What does she want from James?
Read on to find (some of) the answers. Oh, and as was mentioned above, this tale has a walloping finish—two late, late nights for me.
So when we start this book, they are changed. Dee may be shell of herself, but it didn't feel like a plot device as much as a real continuation of her story, only Ballad wasn't her story, it was James's story, so that shadow was cast against the light of his tale. Yes, it was sad that Dee lost so much of herself, but I think it made sense that after being so brutally used up by the fairies and then losing so much, she had lost so much of herself. So it was probably a good thing this wasn't her POV story, because she'd lost her fight.
James is a brilliant character and I loved being in his head for this book. The first person POV shifts between him and Nuala were distinct and engaging and the storyline kept me turning the pages. In addition to the beauty of this author's prose, I love the depth of emotion, the raw humanity of it, even as we're transported to a magical world-within-our-world of fairies.
This is a definite 5 star read, in a different way than Lament, but still extraordinary and beautiful.
It took me a month and a half to read this book...FAR TOO LONG. I just couldn't get into it. I was still caught up on Dee and Luke and when I started reading and figured out there wasn't going to be any real closure on that relationship, I was a little saddened. I hated the character Nuala from beginning to end and by the end of the book I wasn't that fond of James either...he ended up looking like a real jerk. I understand that he was in love with Dee. But he had years to tell her and waited until she fell in love with someone else to do so (typical) Then gets pissed at her for not feeling the same way and gets frustrated at her being heartbroken over her losing Luke (I'm assuming that's what has happened if there isn't going to be a book about them). Give the girl some time and credit for what she did do. I mean she did choose to save his life (james) over Lukes
I'll admit it was wrong of her to kiss James knowing how he felt about her and then tell him she was thinking of Luke while she did it...that was a pretty crappy thing to say and do. But other than that she was nice to James even when she needed him and he was too busy obsessing about her loving him. When Dee and Luke were together she never once rubbed it in James's face the way he did with his relationship with Nuala. Yeah, we get it he was moving on but did he really have to be such a (add really bad word here)
I just really didn't much care for this book and I only read it b/c I had bought it and started it and I didn't want my money and little bit of time go to waste.
There were parts in the book that just seemed kind of stupid and silly and I just didn't get it. Like, James dies when chasing Cernunnos????? Did he drag him through water? Did he die from just touching Cernunnos? Did Cernunnos just stop running and decide to kill him? And how did Nuala die too? Or where they really dead? They whole section seemed like it was added just to help with some sort of information that needed to be passed on to the reader but it just added to my hate of this book. When and why did Dee kill Linnet? Did she really see Luke? She mentions how They tricked her...how? Too much was said and then ignored later on so that I was left hanging and wondering. Una and Brennan appeared a bit why couldn't Luke? Frustration frustration.
I guess I can see where people who are fans of James will like this book but I didn't know I was supposed to be pulling for him in the last book so I didn't really pay much attention to him until he grew a pair (too little too late)and told Dee he loved her. UGH..... This book just frustrates me and puts me in a bad mood. lol.
On a different note...the description of things was beautiful. I could picture every little thing and all the colors and I could even imagine the smells.
Since James the jerk and Nuala the (insert bad word rhyming with witch here) got a happy ending, all I can hope for it that Maggie Stiefvater will find it in her heart and creative imagination to give Dee and Luke one as well.
I know a lot of people won't agree with me on this but that's ok...it's just different opinions. but I wouldn't mind it if anyone would like to clear up any of the questions above. :-)