Friday, July 25, 2008


Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 192
Reason for Reading : Irresitible Review Challenge, it looked stunning

This is a collection of thirteen re-tellings of ballads by world-renowned fantasy authors. It has been lovingly put together by Charles Vess who does all of the art work inside (as well as the cover) and also collaborated with some of the writing.It reads like a graphic novel, beautifully drawn and each story ends with the ballad that inspired it in full.

Famous ballads like Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer are included in this collection as well as a series of ballads I was unfamilliar with. Some were light-hearted and funny, others were disturbing and violent. Authors included in the project are Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Midori Snyder, Delia Sharman and Charles Vess himself. A brilliant and fascinating introduction by Terri WIndling sets the scene and gives you are a graet overview of ballads and their use in storytelling.

My favourite was "Two Corbies" by Charles de Lint. He really made the story his own by using his Newford setting and having the Crow Sisters be in the story. "The Galtee Farmer" by Jeff Smith was probably the funniest in the colletion "The Great Selchie of Sule Skerry" by Jane Yolen was possibly the saddest.

Such a stunning collection, highly recommended to anyone with a love of the arts in any form. A delight to all the senses, I can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading it.

Other reviews :
Chris Stuff as Dreams are Made On (thanks for the fantastic recommendation)

5 comments:

Darla D said...

Wow, this sounds excellent. I love the crow girls! It's now on my list - thanks!

Nymeth said...

And I can't believe I haven't read it yet! Must get my hands on it.

Robin said...

After reading your review and Chris's, too, I put this on hold at my library (of course it was already checked out, so I'll have to wait a little). I can't wait!

Carl V. said...

This really is a stunning collection, as you say. It is a must own for Vess fans and for everyone who likes these kind of fairy/folk tales. Glad you enjoyed it.

Alice Teh said...

I bought this one and it's arrived in the office together with the other books. Can't wait to get started as soon as I can. Hehe...