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Ballad : a gathering of faerie by Maggie…
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Ballad : a gathering of faerie (edition 2009)

by Maggie Stiefvater

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6674414,382 (3.92)34
Member:bluesalamanders
Title:Ballad : a gathering of faerie
Authors:Maggie Stiefvater
Info:Woodbury, Minn. : Flux, 2009.
Collections:Your library, Reviewed
Rating:****
Tags:genre: fantasy, type: trade paperback, read 2010, strong women, age: young adult

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Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater

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» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
This was entertaining, and kept me reading, but I didn't like it as much as [b:Lament|3112850|Lament The Faerie Queen's Deception|Maggie Stiefvater|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41R67UplhtL._SL75_.jpg|3144132], while I didn't enjoy Lament as much as I did [b:Shiver|6068551|Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)|Maggie Stiefvater|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1257962751s/6068551.jpg|6244926] (definitely my favorite of Stiefvater's works). After reading so much about Dee and Luke, I was disappointed to find that we really don't get much about them, except through Dee's unsent text messages to James. I know this is supposed to be his story, and more of a companion novel than a sequel, but I found myself wondering about them quite a bit. Also, although I really liked Dee in Lament, I found myself disliking her a bit here - from James' point of view she seems incredibly selfish.

For whatever reason, I wasn’t a huge fan of reading from James’ POV – I’m not really sure why, since I love him as a character. I have a tendency toward the bad boy rather than nice guy characters, but Luke (although I did like him) just seems so superficial in comparison to the depth and character that James has. Nuala’s POV was always entertaining, especially as I watched her go from thinking about James as a victim to thinking about him as someone she cares about.

It also seemed like all of the action and all of the big reveals were clumped together at the end - there were some great scenes, but they might have been a little more effective if they were spread out. I do love the world she's created, as well as her characters - Mr. Sullivan in particular. I'll be interested to see where James and Dee's relationship goes from here - it seems to be left a bit open for another book featuring them (perhaps the events of Ballad from Dee's point of view?), and if there is another, I can't wait to read it. As it stands, Dee's entanglement with Faerie as the cloverhand doesn't seem like it will be over anytime soon.

Overall, an enjoyable read. Great ending, too. If you like Steifvater’s style, you won’t be disappointed with this one. It just seems to be missing that something that made Shiver so great. ( )
  bookwormam | Jul 8, 2014 |
I liked this second book of the "Gathering of Faerie" series better than the first. Though, I have to say that I grew a little annoyed with James. In [b:Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception|3112850|Lament The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1)|Maggie Stiefvater|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1265410418s/3112850.jpg|3144132], Dee literally gives up everything - including Luke - to save James. In this book, when faced with the same situation, James is nearly petulant about the choice. He even tells Dee to save herself (thus allowing him to get back to Nuala) because she "owes him." But what about what James owes Dee? I get it; James told Dee that he loved her and she didn't respond in the way that he wanted and, yes, some decisions that she made really weren't great for James, but that's life. You don't always get what you want when or how you want it. It felt like James turning his back on Dee - his best friend of nine years - to be with Nuala. That doesn't seem like real friendship to me. It feels like him making the choice to follow after his desire for Nuala instead of staying true to his friend.

That said, I'm thoroughly enchanted by Maggie Stiefvater and very eager for the next book in this series. Not to mention that I'm eager to read more by her, as well!
  Jenna.Czaplewski | Jul 3, 2014 |
First I would like to mention that I would not recommend reading Ballad without reading Lament first. I read Lament and liked it. So, naturally I wanted to read this book as well. Unfortunately, the marketing department behind this book was the source of my first disappointment. I was under the impression that this was book No. 2 of a series in progress. Nope. This is a companion novel. Companion novels are fine, in fact some of them are great, but I think there is an extremely important distinction to be made between a "sequel" and a "companion." Honestly, the expectation that Ballad would be a traditional sequel to Lament kind of ruined the first half of the book for me. I was fully prepared for more Deirdre and Luke. Again, nope. This book is told from the point of view of James (Deirdre's best friend in the first book) and a new character. It focuses on James so much that half of the time I forgot that Deirdre was even a character. Deep breath. Ok, I'm over the shock. Let us soldier on.

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. The problem I have with the plot has to do with the fairy part. If you don't like fairy's don't read this book. I don't mind fairy's at all. In fact, I like quite a few of them. However, I do not exclusively read fairy books. I understand there are come common elements of fairy's that seem universally known, i.e., they are allergic to iron among other things. With that said, Stiefvater does what I find that a lot of writers tackling the fairy genre do: assume the reader already knows tons about fairy's and therefore fails to develop certain plot points for those of us who are not down with the fairy rules. For instance, it seems to be a big deal to tell someone your "true name." Ok, but why and where did that come from? Maybe I just missed the fairy bus or something. I have a feeling I may have missed out on some of the better aspects of the story due to a lack of explanation.

There is one more point of major irritation in this book for me. I understand that this book is a companion to Lament, but I do feel like Deirdre's character got lost in the translation. In Lament, I felt like Deirdre was a strong female heroine-type of character. In Ballad, she is not even a shadow of what she was before. This may have been the most disappointing aspect of this book for me because I felt like the essence of Deirdre 's character was abandoned for the sake of a new plot. Many of her actions seemed random, almost as though she was being used as a plot function more than a character. I felt like Ballad-Deirdre did a lot of things that Lament-Deirdre would not have done. This would of course be fine if Lament-Deirdre's character had been given the chance to develop into Ballad-Deirdre's character, but she was not.

Ok, so obviously I was disappointed. But I think if you go into this book fully understanding that it is not a sequel, are open to new main characters, and know enough about fairy's to get by, then you will likely have a much better time with it than I did.
( )
  Kanic | Apr 9, 2014 |
I love these books! Ballad was the second in this series and loved it just as much as the first. The characters are so rich and believable. When is the third book coming out? I think I'm addicted. :) ( )
  Stephanie_Keyes | Apr 3, 2014 |
I devoured this book--started last night and finished it today. I love the way Stiefvater grabs you and keeps you by the throat to the very end.

Things I liked: Stiefvater really knows how to work edgy characters and still make you like them. I fell in love with Nuala from the very beginning. For me the book was about her, not James, although he was my second favorite. She also knows how to keep the tension at just the right level. Tight. Close to snapping, but not quite. Her descriptions of settings enhance the emotions.

Only beef I have is that I kept thinking I missed a book in the series. Stiefvater kept referring to the happenings of the summer. I probably did. Does anyone know? ( )
  CharityBradford | Apr 1, 2014 |
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To my mom, who showed me faeries in the woods.
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I was used to being the hunter.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In this sequel to Lament, faeries follow James and Dee to Thornking-Ash, where James struggles with his feelings for Dee and for the dangerous faerie muse, Nuala. When Halloween plunges both Dee and Nuala into danger, James finds he can only save o
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When music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians, his talent attracts Nuala, a faerie muse who fosters and feeds on creative energies, but soon he finds himself battling the Queen of the Fey for the very lives of Deirdre and Nuala.… (more)

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