Mythology in the flesh -- A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

Title: A Song for Ella Grey
Author: David Almond 
Pages: 272 pages
Published: October 13th, 2015 
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology 
Source: ARC from Penguin Random House 
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

"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 collapse 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. 

Get it here! 

**I want to thank the publishers for sending me an advanced copy of this book. This has not affected my review in any way and everything said is from my own opinion of the book**  

There are moments when we, as readers, understand the synopsis of a book or are completely confused by one. This book's synopsis left me perplexed and really intrigued. It doesn't seem to explain everything and yet that's enough information to be called a synopsis.  Needless to say, I was so mystified by this vague summary that I dived right into the book, knowing close to nothing.


This book is a contemporary story with a dark hint of mythology. Before you get immersed into the story, the author pulls a fast one and gives you a lesson on mythology 101, preferably the legend of Orpheus. Orpheus was considered a symbol of art and music and there is a story of him venturing into the underworld to bring back his wife, Eurydice. First told by classical Greek poets, and has been past down for generations as a myth that inspires both art and music.

This story is a modern mythology retelling and it's much more heavy and complex. There are fantastical elements so for those of you that love a surprise or a good element of fantasy, then this book is for you. The story itself tells like the tale it has this special ambiance with music playing in the background.

The narrator is Claire, the best friend of Ella Grey. The two are inseparable and their friendship grows even stronger with the duration of the book. Then comes along Orpheus, a guy inspired by the sound of music and art, who sweeps Ella Grey off of her feet with the sound of his own music. That's right ladies, this guy can pull some strings. As Orpheus and Ella start to grow fond of each other, Claire's hold on Ella dwindles. But when Ella tragically dies in the middle of the book, Claire realizes that she loves her friend more than she realizes.


It's something like a tainted version of Romeo and Juliet. Two people in love who aren't allowed to be in love with each other because they live two very different lives. There's no surprise that she kills herself and so does he. It states that in the synopsis, so I promise I'm not spoiling anything important. At first when you read it, it doesn't feel like Romeo and Juliet. And after, you're quickly taken aback by the realization that, yes, it does cover the same aspects in forbidden love and the idea of how the pair are infatuated with each other. Ahhh the romance was so cute, and it had that old and classic kind of vibe, like how people felt for each other a long long time ago!

I couldn't be more proud of a mythology-based retelling. A modernized version that displays an equal share in the past and the present. This book will make you laugh, smile, and cry hilariously as you discover the fact that it wasn't just a story you were reading, but it was also a myth and legend that people have believed in for ages. This book definitely surprised me but it wasn't an OMG to die for book, you know what I mean. I loved the mystery and lyrical aspect of it, but again, it wasn't something that blew me away. 

DAVID ALMOND grew up in a large family in northeastern England and says, "The place and the people have given me many of my stories." His first novel for children, Slellig, was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book and an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book and appeared on many Best Book of the Year lists. He wrote My Name Is Mina, the prequel to Skellig. His novel Kit's Wilderness won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. David Almond is a recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Anderson Award. He lives in England. Visit him online at and on Facebook and follow @davidjalmond on Twitter. 

Will you be reading this book soon? 

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  1. Replies
    1. It is sort of a dark contemporary that deals with death and loss. I feel like the music included really brightens up the mood though :D


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