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Content Review: Ballad by Maggie Steifvater

Author: Maggie Stiefvater                                                                                                                                             Reviewed by: Amy

Intended Audience: 15-18                                               Age of Main Character: 17

Ballad Nuala is part muse, part psychic vampire. While the freedom to sing or write or create is denied her, her mark across history is unmistakable: a trail of brilliant poets, musicians, and artists who have died tragically young. She has no sympathy for their abbreviated life spans; every thirteen Halloweens she burns in a bonfire and rises from her ashes with no memories of what has come before other than the knowledge of how her end will come.

James is the best bagpiper in the state of Virginia—maybe in the country—plus he's young and good-looking: just Nuala's thing. But James, supremely confident in his own abilities and in love with another girl, becomes the first to ever reject Nuala's offer. He's preoccupied with bigger things than Nuala: an enigmatic horned figure who appears at dusk and the downward spiral of Dee, his girlfriend-who-isn't.

It becomes obvious to James that Nuala's presence, the horned king of the dead, and Dee's slow self-destruction are all related, and that Dee is the center of a deadly faerie game. While James struggles to unwind the tangled threads of the story, Nuala shadows him, seeing her conflicted, dual nature reflected back at her in him. She finds herself lending him inspiration for nothing. Not quite for nothing—for the hope of requited affection. But even as James begins to realize his feelings for both Dee and Nuala have changed, the thirteenth Halloween descends, with its bonfires and rituals for the dead, one deadly to Nuala and the other to Dee. James can only save one.

Sexual Content:  




     -There really isn't much violence in this book except for a small scene at the end, and then it's just a little knife fighting and magical faerie violence.

Other Notables:
Other than some bad/direspectful attitudes there wasn't much other that what I've mention wrong with this book.

Did I like this book?
 I was very dissapointed. This book was supposed to be the sequel to "Lament: A Faerie Queen's Deception" which was pretty good. This book was about Dierdre's (Dee) best friend- an underdeveloped character in her first book- James. I really get frustrated when the author doesn't tell you IN DETAIL what the character looks like. I like to imagine them in my head, she could do more explaining in that area.
While Ballad is being praised by some - a stand-alone - a companion novel rather than a sequel - I really feel you have to read Lament first in order to fully appreciate Ballad. For one thing if you skip Lament, you'll never understand James' love and devotion for Dee, because in Ballad she often comes across as being nearly as heartless and distant as the faeries. Then again, as I said, it could be a book on it's own because the characters in Lament are BARELY mentioned. Confusing, I know! 
The pacing of the book was pretty slow compared to Lament and things didn't pick up until about the halfway mark. When you near the ending there's this thought of: "Oh man, this is just going to be exactly the same as the first book" but then there's a slight twist that doesn't really make you think twice about anything.
In the end I was just tired of reading it. Slow and boring, I'm just glad it's over.  Blog Review


 "The stunning stand-alone sequel to Lament . . . The book's backdrop, so firmly rooted in Celtic myth, is scary, mysterious, magical, and horrifying." 

"Ballad is giddy, intoxicating, and threatening all at once... a sheer edge read." 
   —Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author of Terrier & Trickster's Queen 

Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Flux; Original edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738714844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738714844
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1 inches