It has been quite some time since I’ve read the previous book, Lament! Knowing that this book would be from James’ Point Of View, however, I didn’t let that worry me. So is Ballad worth the bother? I mean, let’s face it, you could quite as easily treat Lament as. a standalone. My answer? It’s worth it, yet it’s not…
Well, this is sequel is quite different as it does not have the same narrator as its predecessor. This is a trait that I became accustomed to with Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, and even Julie Kagawa had a go at an alternative POV with her last Iron Fey book, The Iron Knight. Many authors have tried using alternate point of views in their novels, but not all have succeeded.
The MC: James. What can I say about James? He was… interesting. If I’m honest, I think I enjoyed reading about him from Dee’s perspective. There is something just a little bit odd about reading a funny character from their own point of view. It’s not always bad, mind you. Riordan’s Leo Valdez (Heroes of Olympus series) and Kagawa’s Puck (Iron Fey series) were both very amusing even when they narrated. At about page 90, I remember getting sick of James’ humour. I remember because I took a note of it using my Goodreads App. Here’s my update statement:
After some time, I got used to it and began to appreciate his rather wry sense of humour. I’d like to think that if I ever met him in real life, we’d get along. So long as he didn’t play his bagpipes, that is. Oh well, maybe he’s as good as they say he is.
James is arrogant, loud spoken and outgoing. He’s somehow cool and geeky. I can’t help thinking what someone like him sees in someone like Dee. I get the whole BFF thing, but she’s not interested! She’s pining after some ex-assassin faery. Move on! Am I being unreasonable? Maybe. You can’t help who you fall for, after all.
The Other MC: Nuala, the leanansidhe. Now it struck me that she was a leananshide. I couldn’t help but compare her to Kagawa’s leananside, the Exile Queen. It quickly became apparent that they were nothing alike however. It’s sad to say, but Kagawa’s lenansidhe would eat Nuala for breakfast. Nuala isn’t as badass as she appears to be, but that’s what I like about her. She has a vulnerability that makes her relatable. So, okay, I don’t have to burn myself alive every sixteen years in order to survive, and go all Phoenix, and rise from the ashes. But like many teenagers, I understand what it is like to feel isolated and alone.
Nuala first appears to be an antagonist, but it becomes apparent that she is so much more. I felt detached from her to begin with, and could not understand why I would want to see things from her point of view. A little while passed and I realised that despite how the novel had started, this was her story too. She is a faery, yet she is not. Too human to be respected by those of her species, and too feared to be considered human, she is forced to live her life solitary. With dreams and aspirations of her own, I began to believe that she was a well thought out character. I love her sense of humour, which compliments James’ very well, without upstaging him.
Supportive Characters: Paul. Sullivan. Dee. The Antler King (who’s name I just can’t spell). These are some of the more prominent supportive characters. I don’t want to ruin it by detailing who they are or what their roles are, but I can say that I liked having most of them around. A certain alcohol scene comes to mind with Paul, who Nuala has dubbed ‘Roundface’. Don’t worry, it’s nothing irresponsible, after all this is one of James’ mischievous acts. No, I am not being sarcastic here. Sullivan was loveable, and really did seem a lot like James.
Dee was boring, as far as I’m concerned. She didn’t do a lot in this book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you, considering that she and James have become more distant since the events of Lament. Somehow, she still seems to have a voice, however, as we are shown a number of text messages that she had intended for James, but purposely did not send. You might wonder what the point of that is. Really, it’s like writing out an angry letter to vent out your feelings, but never mailing it. I found it quite effective, yet infuriating, as we did not get to follow up on what she wrote.
My biggest complaint about this book, however, is the lack of one of my favourite characters, Luke Dillon. I mean, why?! I miss him!
In this mesmerizing sequel to “Lament”, music prodigy James Morgan has joined his best friend, Deirdre, at a private conservatory for musicians. James’ almost unearthly gift for music has attracted the dangerous attentions of Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together leads James and Nuala down an unexpected road of mutual admiration …and love. Haunted by a vision of raging fire and death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soulscorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.
– Goodreads Synopsis
Like lament, this is a tale of unexpected (expected) romance. How is it expected and yet unexpected?, you may ask. Well, because Nuala and James seem like a rather unlikely couple, and yet you can sort of see it coming because it’s a YA book, and that’s what happens in YA.
The stuff that goes on with the Antlered King was creepy and amazing. In the end, I was strangely satisfied with what happened. I mean, sure, one of my favourite characters becomes… oh I can’t tell you. All I can say is that Their plans are foiled, for the most part.