A Song for Ella Grey


A Song for Ella Grey

David Almond


Hodder Children's Books

Paperback (288p)


A story of first love. A love that draws on ancient and mythic forces. A love that leads Ella, Orpheus and Claire to the gates of death and beyond.

"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 am so conflicted about this book that I barely know where to begin... Usually I love when the language is a bit out of the ordinary, but when reading "A Song for Ella Grey" it just seemed like the language kept me distanced from the characters and the story. The way it's written just feels unnatural to me and the way descriptions were repeated it felt like the story didn't really move forward. The book is written in a very surreal, dreamlike style and I really want to like it; but I don't feel anything when reading, it's quite messy and I can't really relate or connect to any of the characters.
I had read quite a lot of positive reviews and the whole retelling of the myth of Orpheus made my expectations go up quite a bit, but after finishing it I am not sure what I've read or what the authors intentions were with the book. There were quite a few passages that could have been left out and some that could have been portrayed more in depth - like the friendship between Ella and Claire. Even if it left me completely confused it was an interesting read and I can see why it might appeal to some, specially with its peculiar writing.


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