Title: The Ballad of Perilous Graves
Author: Alex Jennings
Publication Date: June 21, 2022
Music is magic in this vibrant and imaginative debut novel set in a fantastical version of New Orleans where a battle for the city’s soul brews between two young mages, a vengeful wraith, and one powerful song.Nola is a city full of wonders. A place of sky trolleys and dead cabs, where haints dance the night away and Wise Women help keep the order. To those from Away, Nola might seem strange. To Perilous Graves, it’s simply home.
In a world of everyday miracles, Perry might not have a talent for magic, but he does know Nola’s rhythm as intimately as his own heartbeat. So when the city’s Great Magician starts appearing in odd places and essential songs are forgotten, Perry realizes trouble is afoot.
Nine songs of power have escaped from the piano that maintains the city’s beat, and without them, Nola will fail. Unwilling to watch his home be destroyed, Perry will sacrifice everything to save it. But a storm is brewing, and the Haint of All Haints is awake. Nola’s time might be coming to an end.
Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy this song for New Orleans, the city of music, magic, and dreams.
Why This Book
The Ballad of Perilous Graves is both a fun and dangerous romp through a magical version of New Orleans. It’s about a brother and sister and their best friend as they try to find some lost songs in order to save their city. They’re children, but their friend isn’t a normal child. The trust they have of each other and the love they show is beautiful, and they’ll do anything to take care of each other. I love that they are kids, that the romance is nothing more than surface level, letting the friendship that ties them together shine. Theirs isn’t an easy friendship, especially when their friend has amazing abilities, but they take care of each other and will sacrifice anything for each other.
My review: “This is kind of a crazy ride where, if you don’t read slowly and carefully enough, you might miss some important details, and maybe an entire world. I loved that this focused on a trio of children and that they took their charge seriously, but not without some fear. I also loved this version of Nola, where I felt like I was there, where the world wasn’t just built through what it looked like and how it functioned, but also in the speech patterns and the phrasing used in the narrative”
The Fantasy Inn said “Following Perry, Brendy, and Peaches (especially Peaches) as they bickered their way into a balls-to-the-wall magic coming of age tale? Well, it was a hell of a lot of fun”
Runalong the Shelves said “I really liked how this story refuses to go down normal paths. It is NOT a children’s book – it has three very genuine and amiable key young characters but as we follow their story in Nola we see this is a world full of non-childish things – violent monsters, gangsters and endless parties. They are a useful entry point as the children see Nola as totally normal and know little of the place’s histories and secret”
Queen’s Book Asylum rated this a 4, saying “this is a story full of soul, imagination, creativity, and heart, with all the necessary elements to draw in a fantasy lover. It’s got danger, passion and friendship, and a strong sense of community and familial devotion built on the foundations of gripping worldbuilding”
The Bibliophile Chronicles gave this 4.25 stars, saying “The Ballad of Perilous Graves is a compelling magical read full of incredibly crafted characters. I adored Brendy, Perry and Peaches and it was so entertaining to see the world through their eyes”
Becky’s Book Blog gave this 4 stars, saying “This book was a joy to read, but also slightly weird and for the most part of the book had me wondering what was actually going on. I’m saying this because, readers who like clear cut plots might not enjoy this book as much as those of us who are willing to feel lost. It’s a story that asks for patience whilst reading, as well as a little bit of faith that you will get to where you need to be and trust me, the pay of is 100% worth it. It’s a story to fuel the imagination, filled with unforgettable characters and brings to life a Nola that I would visit in a heartbeat”
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