By Maggie Stiefvater
Coming Oct 1st from Flux
A little less than a year ago, I received an e-mail promising me homicidal faeries. I, being the sort too dumb to know when a deal is too good to be true, said yes. In return for the novel, I became a fan of the affable and clever Maggie Stiefvater. And now that I've read BALLAD her insidious claim is stronger than ever. I'm waiting for the paperback of SHIVER, but maybe I shouldn't. I might owe her my collection of shamrock memorabilia.
When BALLAD opens, James is still recovering from the events of LAMENT. He almost died and the only person who knows why he almost died can't help him recover since she's pretty much shattered by the events too. Along comes Nuala, attracted by James's talent with the bagpipes. Of course, she might be attracted to the piper himself as well. Of course, that might not be his only problem, since the faeries aren't overly found of Deirdre. Of course, James is too neurotic to really process any of this.
Maggie Stiefvater knows how to string together a sentence. She knows how to haunt you with a motif. She knows how to write music so that you hear it in your heart. She knows how to create a unique narrative voice, so that you don't need the name before the chapter or the epigraph to know whether James or Nuala is speaking. (Or to separate them from Deirdre's voice in LAMENT.) She knows how to rip your heart out of your chest without resorting to tearjearker tactics. All it takes are Dee's unsent text messages, full of everything she needs to say to James but can't. (And she would be the absolute bitch Nuala thinks she is if we didn't have those messages to tell us what she's repressing.)
If Blogger eats this review like it did my first review of LAMENT, I'll cry. I don't want to think about this too much, I just want to pour it out. That's what reading BALLAD was like: an experience that swept me away into James and Nuala's world of music and love and pain and desperate hope. Also, the book is funny. James and Nuala are both sarcastic and quick-witted. Many of the side characters hold their own. I love the side characters, especially Paul. They sneak up on you, going, "Hey, I've been here this whole time. Being awesome. Now that you know it, I'm going to level up in awesome just to blow your mind." They're like Stiefvater herself in that way.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hug my book. And cry over the fact I don't have time to re-read it or LAMENT.
Now, both B&N and Amazon are showing BALLAD as In Stock despite the fact the release date is Oct 1st. So go ahead and click on the cover and buy yourself a copy. You won't regret it . . . except for the fact you'll be a slave to Stiefvater's brilliance.