As we continue our countdown to the release of Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger, we’re going to take some time today to explore her other books — those not part of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Maggie’s Books of Faerie are just as wonderful as Shiver and Linger (maybe even better in some ways) — but they haven’t gotten quite as much hype. We’re big fans of these books, and, in fact, a copy of Ballad is the second-place prize in our Linger Countdown Contest (ends 5/22).
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She’s about to find out she’s also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. When a mysterious boy enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of nowhere, Deirdre finds herself infatuated. Trouble is, the enigmatic and conflicted Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin—and Deirdre is meant to be his next mark. Deirdre has to decide if Luke’s feelings towards her are real, or only a way to lure her deeper into the world of Faerie.
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.
- Listen to Maggie’s music inspired by Ballad
- Maggie’s Ballad Playlist:
- “Running Up That Hill” – Placebo
- “Starts with One” – Shiny Toy Guns
- “The Stone” – Ashes Divide
- “Get Some” – Chevelle
- “Map of the Problematique” – Muse
- “Paralyzed” – Rock Kills Kid
- “Hemorrage” – Fuel
- “Invasion” – Eisley
- “Follow” – Breaking Benjamin
- “CrushCrushCrush” – Paramore
- “Start the Machine” – Angels and Airwaves
Maggie’s trailer for Ballad:
For the comments: Have you read Lament and/or Ballad? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
I’ve read and reviewed both and love that they’re getting some more love due to the success of SHIVER! I think I prefer BALLAD to LAMENT, but I enjoyed both.