Romance Book Byte: Ballad

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series Connection: Sequel to Lament
ISBN: 978-0738714844
Genre: Paranormal/Young Adult
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2009

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Description:
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.

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