Review: A Song for Ella Grey

David Almond - A Song for Ella Grey

“I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both…knew how they lived and how they died.”

Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is basically a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, a story from Greek mythology. I really liked the original story and so was hoping that I would enjoy this too. I was wrong. Very wrong. It was a strange book and there was no creativeness in how the story was retold.

The one thing I did kind of like about this book was the writing style. It was a bit different and very lyrical, and was very pretty at times. The problem with the book was the fact that nothing much happened. Yes, there’s some lovely writing in it, but I was so bored. Nothing much happened for most of the book, and then it got quite weird at the end. I didn’t think the retelling was done very well either. It seemed to be exactly the same as the original story and wasn’t worked into the book well. One moment it was a typical contemporary read, the next Orpheus was heading into the underworld and crazy things were happening.

Speaking of the characters, I didn’t get particularly attached to any of them. Claire’s only thoughts were of Ella and I don’t think I learnt anything else about her. I can’t say much about Ella and Orpheus either apart from the fact that they “love” each other. I found the dialogue in this book awkward too. For one, it’s written in a Northern way to show that’s where the characters live but it didn’t feel right. Secondly, some of the things these teenagers were saying were very un-teenagery.

Basically, I didn’t like this book, and I really don’t recommend it.

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