Confessions of a Reader

'Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.' – Mason Cooley

Book Review // A Song for Ella Grey – David Almond

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Format: Hardback
Published: 2nd October 2014
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Pages: 272

BUY: Amazon | Book Depository

This book will count towards my British Book Challenge.

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

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.

My Thoughts:

I have read so many mixed reviews about this book. I didn’t enjoy this one at all, I’m sorry to say. It is the first novel I’ve read by David Almond, I just couldn’t get into it.

A Song for Ella Grey is a modern retelling of the greek myth – Orpheus and Eurydice. I don’t know anything about mythology, it has never been an interest of mine. I had to research the story, just to get an idea whilst I was reading.

I was so confused throughout the entirety of this novel – hence the need to look into the original tale of Orpheus and Eurydice (or Ella Grey in this story). I found it really unusual and hard to comprehend, some parts of the story I found myself skimming over because I was just so confused with what was actually happening. I actually nearly DNF’d this book for this exact reason.


The prose itself is beautifully written. Parts of the book are seamless, taking on a poetic quality. I liked this and could really appreciate the skill, talent and creativity of the author. Unfortunately this occasionally went over my head, I was so confused due to the pure intensity and repetition of the writing. At points the same thing was repeated, just written and told in a different way. Some of the writing I actually felt could have been left out without taking away from the plot.

I did like the way the underworld was depicted in the book. Again, it was written with poetic intensity and I felt this worked particularly well.

If you enjoy greek mythology and modern retellings you will enjoy this book. I’m disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it but the content and writing style was just too much for me. I am glad I borrowed this one as opposed to buying it.

StarRating2 out of 5 stars

Twitter: @davidjalmond




Author: Stacie

UK Lifestyle & Parenting Blogger. Dog Lover. Nutella Obsessed. Diet Coke Drinker.

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