Ballad is best described as the companion book to Lament, the first book by Maggie Stiefvater that introduces the world of the faeries. While it leaves off following the tragic events that occurred at the end of Lament, Ballad is told from the voice of James Morgan, that funny, witty, best friend of Dee’s who was undoubtedly my favorite character in Lament. And of course from the point of view of Nuala, a faerie muse that is at first determined to bargain her abilities for years of James’ life. At first James is resistant to Nuala’s offers of help, and as Nuala gets to know James she inspires his musical talent into beautiful creations at no cost to him. Sullivan, one of James’ teachers at Thornking-Ash, the school James and Dee have enrolled in, is concerned about Nualas influence over James. Add in a wacky roommate Paul and James has a lot going on his first year at the conservatory. As James spends more time with Nuala, his feelings for her deepen. And with the approach of Halloween, James will have to decide between helping Nuala or saving Dee’s life. Spoiler alert: At the beginning of the book, I was so excited by seeing the world through James’ eyes as he was my favorite character in Lament. I love his sense of humor and personality and devotion to Dee. And to be honest I didn’t even like Nuala at the start, I thought her pesky and annoying and just wanted her to go away. I kind of only find her redeeming in the fact that she makes James happy, and because of him learned compassion and of human nature. Once I finished the book, I was confused about whether or not the ending suited. I’m unhappy that Dee’s alone (she got the short end of the stick in this series) and not much of her was mentioned other than sparsely strewn unsent text messages to James following some of the chapters. Although it did suit that Sullivan became king of the dead, I almost wanted something more tragic to happen to Dee, just so the faeries wouldn’t be tied down and drawn to her and the school, and so I wouldn’t worry so much about what becomes of her. Maybe there's a relationship for her and Paul on the horizon? Although, I do feel like that may be settling a bit. Even though I was a bit unhappy with the outcome, this book is a good follow up to Lament and a beautiful contribution of writing by Maggie Stiefvater. I love her sense of humor and she has a lyrical style in describing the faerie world and her imagery haunts your thoughts after emerging from her world. I recommend this book if you liked Lament or even Shiver.