I finished reading Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater the other day. It's been almost 8 months since I read Lament so I didn't remember a whole lot about what happened there... but I remembered enough to go through Ballad without feeling like I had no idea what was going on.
I loved the book. I was kind of bothered by the fact that I didn't know the whole reason for the Thorn King being there until the very end, but still... The only other thing that I didn't like at ALL in this story were the cavalier way that suicide was thrown around. Of course, that may just be because of the experiences my family has had this year with that subject, for someone else it may not bother you at all. But I just don't like the way it was brought up.
With that being said. I must say, James is a very entertaining narrator. He's such a smart ass. I don't think he said a serious thing for 99% of the book. And I love that. I love sarcasm. I'm a sarcastic person. And I liked the fact that Maggie put Dee's unsent messages to James in there every chapter so we'd still know what was going on with her, but she wasn't the focal point of the story this time.
I'd have to say my favorite character was probably Sullivan. The kind of teacher that goes against typical authority and allows his students to be creative within the context of their assignments instead of saying "This is what you have to do and exactly how you have to do it." He was also kind of dashing and he really cared about his students.
Nuala was probably a close second. She irritated me at first because of what she was and what I thought she was out to do. But she really grew on me. And I was glad that she had found James and that things turned out the way that they did.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who's read Lament.