The Book of Ballads and Sagas

Vess, Charles (illus.) with Neil Gaiman & (text). Titan. Dec. 2018. 240p. ISBN 9781782763321. pap. $29.99. Rated: Teen+. FANTASY
Gathering traditional English, Irish, and Scottish ballads, this volume features tales inspired by original fairy tales and folklore, retold by acclaimed fantasy writers such as Gaiman (Sandman; Stardust), Charles de Lint ("Newford" series; A Circle of Cats), Jeff Smith (Bone), Sharyn McCrumb (The Ballad of Frankie Silver), Elaine Lee (Starstruck), and Jane Yolen (The Devil's Arithmetic) and illustrated by Eisner Award winner Vess (Stardust; Tanglewood Forest). Although some stories may feel incomplete or abrupt, each entry stands alone and explores a facet of folklore. Combined with Vess's intricate artwork, the exposition of fantasy themes, including the supernatural, romance, and terror, will draw readers to the genre. Vess's black-and-white line art sets the mood, capturing a ballad's sense of uncanniness, tragedy, or mystery that would be difficult to express through narrative alone.
VERDICT Collecting works first published by Vess's Green Man Press, this is an excellent introduction to folk ballads for anyone interested in fairy tales and folklore. Recommended for teens and adults for language and explicit content.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month