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Ballad (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.
About the Author
After a tumultuous past as a history major, calligraphy instructor, wedding musician, technical editor, and equestrian artist, Maggie Stiefvater is now a full-time writer and New York Times bestselling author of the Shiver trilogy, The Scorpio Races, and The Raven Boys. Her debut series, the Books of Faerie, is published by Flux. Maggie lives in the middle of nowhere, Virginia, with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, four neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.
Follow her on Twitter at @mstiefvater, and visit her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Even though James doesn't care much what happens to himself, he does still care about Dee (almost against his will). And so he follows her to Thornking-Ash Conservatory, enrolling in a school full of gifted musicians guaranteed to annoy the crap out of him, in order to be near her. And despite the fact that he's a piper and they have no program to suit his level of expertise. But Dee barely talks to him. And when she does their brief conversations are hideously awkward, full of meaningless banter and superficial smiles. Meanwhile the faeries are far from finished meddling in James' life. On his way back to school after a spectacularly failed piping lesson, James runs into an unusual faery named Nuala.Read more ›
Maggie Stiefvater's Lament, with its beautiful language and angsty, romantic story of seemingly doomed love, was one of those books for me. When her second novel, Shiver, failed to touch me in the same way, I felt sad, wondering if Lament would prove to be a one off. But then I read Ballad and the magic was there again.
Ballad isn't a fast paced, action-packed adventure. If that's what you're in the mood to read, look elsewhere. Instead, Ballad is slow and lush and gut-wrenching, with gorgeous writing that paints a detailed picture of the emotional devastation of loving someone who truly loves you in return but not in a romantic way. The guy in love is James Morgan; clever, complicated and brilliant. The girl he loves is Deirdre (Dee) Monaghan, his best friend who, in Ballad, is still mourning Luke, the tortured and tormented assassin from Lament who may no longer even be alive and is certainly beyond her reach.
Ballad picks up shortly after Lament. Musical prodigies James and Dee are both attending the Thornking-Ash School of Music. James knows the school has little to offer him, but he followed his heart, wanting to stay close to Dee. Unfortunately, Dee has been changed by the events of Lament and both she and their friendship seem broken.Read more ›
I felt like James was an archetypical character in Lament. Maybe that was just because we did not get to see enough of him though because I loved him and did not find him to be archetypical in Ballad. Once I realized he was to remain the main character of Ballad throughout its duration and that this was not just some sneaky trick, I really fell in love with James' character. He is quirky and fairly well developed. I am not so sure about the rest of the characters though. James is definitely the "glue" of this story. Some of the other characters come alive for me at points, but they lose their luster quickly.
I also very much liked the idea of musical savants being supernaturally connected to another world. I think the plot of the story is quite creative.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What I really love about this book are the characters and chemistry between them. I was really rooting for them.Published 1 month ago by Caren Duke
I can't believe it took me this long to finish this particular book of Stiefvater's. This now leaves me with only one book of hers that I have yet to read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by sbcwilliams0917
Actual Rating: 2.5*
I really enjoyed Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception. I thought it was the perfect mix of faerie mythology and Irish mythology that blended together... Read more
By far one of my all time favourite books! I'll read it again and again!Published 3 months ago by C.J. Zabriskie
I liked it but I had a harder time with it than the first.
It dragged a bit in the middle when nothing made sense yet and some parts of the plot seemed pointless. Read more
Well written story of faerie/teenage angst...can't wait to read more by this author!Published 12 months ago by Merle
Maggie Stiefvater is pure magic. Magic she brings to the pages of her books. It sings and dances across the pages and pulls you in. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rowan