Book Review: A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond (ARC)



Title: A Song for Ella Grey
Author: David Almond
Publication Date: 02 October 2014
Source: e-ARC from NetGalley
Rating: ★★

Book Links:Amazon | Book Depository


Goodreads Summary

“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 have mixed feelings about the book. The blurb and the cover really got my attention so I took the advantage to downloading the arc on NetGalley.

I was really interested in the book so I was a bit excited when I started to read it. The author’s way of writing is a bit unusual for me, but honestly, I haven’t read any other books from this author. The dialect was interesting at first, but it got me really distracted and somehow annoyed halfway through the book because I had no idea what the characters were talking about, like nothing made sense to me anymore. Got me a light headache really.

The characters of the story were just too shallow and not interesting for me. I got the Orpheus reference though, which was kind of what helped me finish the book. One thing I picked up was Claire’s love for Ella Grey. The rest were just things here and there, like the book had no structure at all. The book was divided into six parts, which didn’t make any sense to me at all.

If you want to read this book, I recommend you to familiarize yourself with the story of Orpheus and Eurydice so you can understand some parts of the story.

I just felt disappointed with the book. I think that the story and character depth could be told in a more interesting manner given more ideas and time to actually brainstorm and write about it.

I think that this book wasn’t really for me.





David Almond is a British children’s writer who has penned several novels, each one to critical acclaim. He was born and raised in Felling and Newcastle in post-industrial North East England and educated at the University of East Anglia. When he was young, he found his love of writing when some short stories of his were published in a local magazine. He started out as an author of adult fiction before finding his niche writing literature for young adults.

His first children’s novel, Skellig (1998), set in Newcastle, won the Whitbread Children’s Novel of the Year Award and also the Carnegie Medal. His subsequent novels are: Kit’s Wilderness (1999), Heaven Eyes (2000), Secret Heart (2001), The Fire Eaters (2003) and Clay (2005). His first play aimed at adolescents, Wild Girl, Wild Boy, toured in 2001 and was published in 2002.

His works are highly philosophical and thus appeal to children and adults alike. Recurring themes throughout include the complex relationships between apparent opposites (such as life and death, reality and fiction, past and future); forms of education; growing up and adapting to change; the nature of ‘the self’. He has been greatly influenced by the works of the English Romantic poet William Blake.

He is an author often suggested on National Curriculum reading lists in the United Kingdom and has attracted the attention of academics who specialise in the study of children’s literature.

Almond currently lives with his family in Northumberland, England.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads


Written by

A 22 year old bibliophile from the outskirts of Manila, who loves reading books for passion.

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. That’s really unfortunate that this book didn’t resonate as well as it should’ve (given your attraction to the synopsis, that is). It had some elements that piqued my interest (Orpheus & Eurydice for one), though a bit more background reading would probably be advisable.

    1. Yeah. I love Greek Myth and the story of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of my favorites. I guess the book just wasn’t really for me.

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