Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book Review the Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale

About The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale (Outlaws of Avalon 1)
Danielle E. Shipley

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

My Review:
I wanted to read this book ever since the words "Renaissance Faire" hit me. Add Robin Hood to it, and you hooked me. Shipley's Ren Faire happens to be the one I've visited several times, so the added bonus of physically being with the characters when they weren't out figuring out how to maneuver in the modern world, was extra fun.

Shipley's fantastical tale is a combination fan fiction meets Neil Gaiman fantasy as her characters are borne of other worlds, times, and places. They live, love, and die (or sometimes not) in worlds they visit through mysterious portals and contend with those who dwell there.

What would it be like to meet Merlin the magician, and play online games with Guinevere, who fancies herself quite a racer? Or know Maid Marian and the secrets of her heart? If these characters transcended time and came to live at a Renaissance Faire, and were tasked with saving the faire and all the Fey folk who make it their magical home, what would you give to meet and interact with them? Young Loren and Janey, visitors to the realm, can only guess as medieval times fantasy meets twenty-first century reality and the Merry Men do indeed make merry while they chase after the stolen Excalibur's sheath, which holds their fate. Who better to find a stolen object than a thief?

Told from multiple viewpoints, though mostly from Allyn's perspective, readers who don't mind mixing their folk tales with fantasy and a romp through the current era, will enjoy this fun tale. Shipley uses "Stanzas" for chapters, creating a wonderful frame for a minstrel's story. Action, adventure, and a twist of fun.

So it was arranged long ago for the Isle of
Avalon to continue to exist in safety by hiding in
the one place it would not be remarked upon: Years
into the distant future, in the middle of a
Renaissance Faire. And if the only way the Fey folk
can occupy this place is to share it on summer three-
day weekends and Labor Day with a great lot of
Outsiders…” Robin shrugged. “It is a price they are

willing to pay.”

Buy the Books:
Behold, the author’s Outlaws of Avalon page for access to all available books in the series
For the full Danielle E. Shipley catalog, look here
Danielle's Amazon Author page
Danielle's Barnes and Noble page

Read the Interview with the Author here.
Outlaws of Avalon 2 (The Marriage of Allyn-a-Dale) released this past March; Outlaws 2.5 – a flash fiction collection right up a word nerd’s alley – is scheduled to launch in July; and the trilogy proper concludes this fall. I’ve saved the most emotional ride for last, so hold onto your hankies, readers!

And if anybody wants to talk books with me in the meantime, feel free to hit me up on my website,

About the Author:
Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas ("Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love. Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark's"), the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.

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