Before I even had a copy of Lament, I had Ballad from Maggie’s Ballad In the Wild contest. So, a few weeks ago I cracked Ballad open and started reading it. Then I got confused and decided I needed Lament. Off I went to the bookstore and after finished Lament and a few other books, I finally returned to Ballad and here I am now. 🙂
At first, Ballad didn’t suck me in and I felt like a terrible fan. I didn’t understand why James got his own story since I felt he didn’t really have much a presence in Lament. But as I continued reading, I learned more and more about James and started liking him. He’s hilariously sarcastic and he makes a great narrator. He’s strong-minded and willed, but a little on the neurotic side, which makes him all the more loveable as a character.
I also really liked Nuala. I found her to be just as snarky as James and the two of them played off each other really well. I sympathized more with her than James and I liked her fear and curiosity of the human world. Ms. Stiefvater conveyed Nuala’s struggling feelings beautifully and made them complex enough to keep me reading.
Overall, the plot was good, but the pacing was a bit slow for me. As I said earlier, I wasn’t sucked in right away and it took me a bit to want to invest myself in the story. The writing, however, is just as fluid and descriptive as the writing is in Ms. Stiefvater’s other novels. The way her words create vivid images still amazes me and I continue to fall in love with her writing.
In the end, I enjoyed Ballad. Did I like it as much as Lament? No, but it was still good and I’m glad I stuck through it and finished it. I would definitely recommend reading Ballad, but don’t forget to read Lament first! 🙂
(cover image taken from Barnes and Nobles’ website)