Sunday, January 23, 2005
BOOK OF BALLADS by Charles Vess
Of the four new stories, I liked "The Great Selchie of Sule Skerry" (with Jane Yolen) best. The story moves well, and the moody art is just insanely well rendered. "The Three Lovers" (with Lee Smith) is also really nice, using a more open art style and an interesting stage play layout. "Alison Gross", which Vess soloed on, is an interesting piece, with some nice bits of horror-based fantasy. "The Black Fox" (with Emma Bull) is interesting for being based on a contemporary ballad-like songs rather than a traditional ballad, and doesn't appear to have any fantasy elements for the first two-thirds of the story. It's very pretty, but I get a feeling I'm missing a joke at the end.
Of the reprints, they were all a pleasure to see again, but I especially liked Jane Yolen's adaptation of "King Henry" and Delia Sherman's "The Daemon Lover" (which is one of the few I actually know the tune to, which helps a lot).
Quite a bit of supporting material on the background of the ballad form, lyrics to each song adapted and a detailed discography section about some of the available modern interpretations.
The hardcover is available now, there'll apparently be a softcover in the fall.