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Once upon a time a young girl went down to the river to fetch some water. What she found when she returned home, and what she did to survive, no ordinary tongue can tell. In a realm beyond words, Blood Song is a moving pictorial journey through an island forest to another island on the far side of the ocean, where the secrets of the girl's past and the secrets of an unknow Once upon a time a young girl went down to the river to fetch some water. What she found when she returned home, and what she did to survive, no ordinary tongue can tell. In a realm beyond words, Blood Song is a moving pictorial journey through an island forest to another island on the far side of the ocean, where the secrets of the girl's past and the secrets of an unknown future await.


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Once upon a time a young girl went down to the river to fetch some water. What she found when she returned home, and what she did to survive, no ordinary tongue can tell. In a realm beyond words, Blood Song is a moving pictorial journey through an island forest to another island on the far side of the ocean, where the secrets of the girl's past and the secrets of an unknow Once upon a time a young girl went down to the river to fetch some water. What she found when she returned home, and what she did to survive, no ordinary tongue can tell. In a realm beyond words, Blood Song is a moving pictorial journey through an island forest to another island on the far side of the ocean, where the secrets of the girl's past and the secrets of an unknown future await.

30 review for Blood Song: A Silent Ballad

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan

    Nice drawing style... I guess that the story wants to be more than you may see in the first place... If you`re in that kind of game I guess you`ll enjoy this one, If not, you will not loose anything if you miss this one... Nice drawing style... I guess that the story wants to be more than you may see in the first place... If you`re in that kind of game I guess you`ll enjoy this one, If not, you will not loose anything if you miss this one...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mishap

    A graphic novel with no words, only pictures, most of which are beautiful. The story--a native (probably) girl from the southern hemisphere survives an army's attack on her village and travels to the big city up north. I liked the idea of this and just to look at some of it, but the story itself wasn't executed well and the ending was trite. A graphic novel with no words, only pictures, most of which are beautiful. The story--a native (probably) girl from the southern hemisphere survives an army's attack on her village and travels to the big city up north. I liked the idea of this and just to look at some of it, but the story itself wasn't executed well and the ending was trite.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Neha

    One of the graphic novels I read for this unit was “Blood Song” by Eric Drooker and Joe Sacco. The genre is fiction, but the number of pages was not shown in the book. The setting of the book varies from the beginning to the end. At first, she is on an island covered in trees, and by the end she is in the big City. The novel starts off on an island, where a young woman walks around the woods with her bog. Suddenly, she realizes that there is a military assault on the island, and she quickly esca One of the graphic novels I read for this unit was “Blood Song” by Eric Drooker and Joe Sacco. The genre is fiction, but the number of pages was not shown in the book. The setting of the book varies from the beginning to the end. At first, she is on an island covered in trees, and by the end she is in the big City. The novel starts off on an island, where a young woman walks around the woods with her bog. Suddenly, she realizes that there is a military assault on the island, and she quickly escapes by sea. In a small canoe with her dog, they row across the ocean into the unknown. Little does she know that she is heading towards the Big City. When she arrives, she walks around, looking out of place compared to the other people in the village. Soon, she meets a saxophone player and falls in love with him. Music is banned in the Big City; therefore, when the man she loves gets thrown into prison, the future of the young girl from the island is a mystery. In my opinion, this graphic novel was extremely interesting. The settings were completely different, and the ending was a surprise to me. Each time I turned the page, I would be curious to see what will happen next. I really like the fact that her dog was with the main character at all times. I believe he represents a guard of some sort, or a good companion. The only thing I disliked about this novel was that I felt the beginning dragged on. For example: there were about ten pages illustrating the young girl and her dogs running in the woods. Overall though, I enjoyed this picture book, and even without words, it illustrated a powerful story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Louis Monem

    This is a book with no words, it might seem like a book for little kids because it doesn't have any words but I can guarantee to you it is not for little kids. Since this book does not have any words you can make each image whatever you want it to be. In my opinion the book was about a young woman who escaped a military attack on her island. When she saw the military coming on to her island she bravely got in a boat with her dog and went across the ocean to get to the big city. In the big city s This is a book with no words, it might seem like a book for little kids because it doesn't have any words but I can guarantee to you it is not for little kids. Since this book does not have any words you can make each image whatever you want it to be. In my opinion the book was about a young woman who escaped a military attack on her island. When she saw the military coming on to her island she bravely got in a boat with her dog and went across the ocean to get to the big city. In the big city she meets a saxophone player, in the book you can tell through the pictures that when he plays music it is joyful and it comes from the heart. When the police find him playing on the side of the road they told him he has to stop. The saxophone player does not stop he continues playing his music the police find out that he is still playing music and they put him in prison. Not sure what is going to happen next with the saxophone player and the young woman who loves him the book shows us the women pregnant at the end of the book. I thought that this book was a very good book. I liked how there was no words, it was a new type of book that I have never tried before. I really enjoyed looking at the pictures and trying to understand what is happening in the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    The artwork is so simple, but conveys so much. The story truly is a ballad -- bittersweet, hopeful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    VJ

    The world keeps turning.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zila_ShadowWolf

    I loved that so much it was so beautiful! and it was just pictures; really gorgeous pictures too :)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Without words and yet the story it tells is beautiful and universal. I highly recommend this graphic novel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    StrictlySequential

    Hauntingly beautiful and evocative in it's extreme vision of the world's undoing. I feel sorry for the Drookers because they are tragedy personified. When you are so determined to change politics you must do so scientifically. The art of politics is the use of the science whereas no politics are changed by art even close to directly. Putting your ideas out for others to morph into workable science will only let you down. As a GREAT ARTIST he is uncompromising yet to effect change in politics one Hauntingly beautiful and evocative in it's extreme vision of the world's undoing. I feel sorry for the Drookers because they are tragedy personified. When you are so determined to change politics you must do so scientifically. The art of politics is the use of the science whereas no politics are changed by art even close to directly. Putting your ideas out for others to morph into workable science will only let you down. As a GREAT ARTIST he is uncompromising yet to effect change in politics one must at least be able to envision the other sides to be able to bring causes to the MIDDLE where successful politics are shaped. I don't remember what I rated Flood! but this is proof of an artist at maturation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    120719 first review: second reading i have decided to up the rating, as this time i do as riley suggests- read quickly, glance, move on, take it like video/movie rather than book or other word-bound art. this works. gestural drawing, shadows black, single other color, blue of some sort, combine to render this fable in exactly the right medium. too simple plot for writing perhaps, too meditative for moving pictures, this medium has effect of casting wordless and direct as any legend...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First of all: Beautiful artwork. Story wordlessly touches on far reaching and important themes including war, imperialism, the effects of a inequity in policing, consumerism, the importance of art and artistic expression owned by disenfranchised people; but it didn't really add anything new to any conversations. Perhaps that would be expecting a bit too much since it is entirely image based; but I felt like it had a lot of ideas and images but nothing new to say. First of all: Beautiful artwork. Story wordlessly touches on far reaching and important themes including war, imperialism, the effects of a inequity in policing, consumerism, the importance of art and artistic expression owned by disenfranchised people; but it didn't really add anything new to any conversations. Perhaps that would be expecting a bit too much since it is entirely image based; but I felt like it had a lot of ideas and images but nothing new to say.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This is a very quick read despite the physical thickness of the book. The graphics are simple and do not contain a lot of detail. I appreciate the lack of dialogue; this is a beautifully quiet book. However, it did not resonate strongly with me, and I felt outside of the characters.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Drooker's work, like his predecessor Lynd Ward's, reads almost TOO fast. Wordless woodcut-like comics, telling a story of war crimes and metropolitan brutality, and the love that can be found in their midst. This one is pretty sparse compared to Drooker's FLOOD, but I liked it. Drooker's work, like his predecessor Lynd Ward's, reads almost TOO fast. Wordless woodcut-like comics, telling a story of war crimes and metropolitan brutality, and the love that can be found in their midst. This one is pretty sparse compared to Drooker's FLOOD, but I liked it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gillena Cox

    Issues of family joy, war displacement, feminine maturity, surprise horror, innocence, sex and childbirth all are dramatically presented in this silent (no words) book. I found this silent ballad to be emotionally provocative.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Flora

    Absolutely beautiful artwork. Neat storytelling, conveyed without words.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Fantastically told graphic novel. What a journey this young woman and her dog have gone on! The overwhelming theme for me, was LIFE.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aurora

    Not quite sure how to feel about this one. At least it’s very quick!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Silvio

    Life. The dance of life. Feel it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Beautiful art. Great until the end, when it was clear it was written by a cisman. Girls often have their first period very young. First period = You're a Woman Now kills girls. Beautiful art. Great until the end, when it was clear it was written by a cisman. Girls often have their first period very young. First period = You're a Woman Now kills girls.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robert Beveridge

    Eric Drooker, Blood Song: A Silent Ballad (Harcourt, 2002) I knew this book was going to annoy me while reading Joe Sacco's introduction (which, by the way, is excellent); he introduces Drooker as “hard-left” and goes on to explore the themes found here in light of that. And, as I expected after reading that-- I had no idea what the book was actually about when I grabbed it off the library shelf-- yeah, I found it intensely annoying. So why does a book that drove me bats get four stars? Because it Eric Drooker, Blood Song: A Silent Ballad (Harcourt, 2002) I knew this book was going to annoy me while reading Joe Sacco's introduction (which, by the way, is excellent); he introduces Drooker as “hard-left” and goes on to explore the themes found here in light of that. And, as I expected after reading that-- I had no idea what the book was actually about when I grabbed it off the library shelf-- yeah, I found it intensely annoying. So why does a book that drove me bats get four stars? Because it's not the tale, it's the way you tell the tale. Had I not first read Sacco's introduction, I might not have glommed onto everything Drooker was on about here, and thus, it wouldn't have annoyed me. Because Drooker knows how to tell a tale and let the politics bleed through. Which I find amazing, not because he did so, but because this is the second book I'm reviewing this week where a message writer actually gets it right (the other being China Mieville's Un Lun Dun). Drooker's book-- which other than a Melville epigram on the opening page is entirely wordless-- concerns a young woman who lives in a small village somewhere. The first few pages show us a day in the life; a father catches fish and takes it home to the family, where it is cooked and eaten, and everyone goes to sleep. Normal stuff. The next morning, the girl goes off to get water. When she gets back to the village-- well, this is why I didn't know what was coming. The back matter doesn't spoil the story, so I'm not going to. I'll just say that things are not at all what they seem in this world. From there, the girl finds her way to a much larger city, and the latter half of the book concerns what happens to her there. Drooker's genius lies in his ability to make a very muted palette of colors (with a few notable exceptions; there's a yellow butterfly who recurs throughout the story, for example) convey so much information, with no words involved. The girl is walking back through the forest with the water, and her trusty canine companion is chasing that yellow butterfly. Then, suddenly, both dog and butterfly stop at the edge of the woods. It seems like such a small thing, but subtle differences in the dog's posture, the sudden closing of the gap between them, hint at something momentous. That's good stuff right there. Very effective storytelling. Drooker also has a wonderful eye for pace (and reflecting the pace in the characters, such as the closing of the gap between the dog and the butterfly), and that, more than the wordlessness of the book, makes the pages fly by, for you will stop at regular intervals just to appreciate what it is Drooker is doing with the way his characters are portrayed. This is not to say Drooker doesn't get heavy-handed now and then (the framing pages of starting with the Milky Way, then drilling down to the scene, and going back up at the end), and my perverse conservative imp wants to intentionally misinterpret the final scene before that last pullout, but despite my distaste for the story itself-- which is manipulative and predictable-- when I closed the book, I knew I'd been in the presence of someone who does, surely know how to tell a story, and tell it well. ****

  21. 4 out of 5

    Loyd

    A young girl fetching water in the tropics is transformed by the intrusion of invaders. The girl escapes to an industrialized city and finds common threads of love, loss and the essential continuity of life. The specifics (a dog, a forest, a man playing saxophone on a street corner) become universal. And what's universal is the true point of Blood Song. But this makes the story sound simple, which it isn't. Blood Song, like the American Book Award-winning Flood before it, is a beautifully conceiv A young girl fetching water in the tropics is transformed by the intrusion of invaders. The girl escapes to an industrialized city and finds common threads of love, loss and the essential continuity of life. The specifics (a dog, a forest, a man playing saxophone on a street corner) become universal. And what's universal is the true point of Blood Song. But this makes the story sound simple, which it isn't. Blood Song, like the American Book Award-winning Flood before it, is a beautifully conceived wordless story by New Yorker cover artist Eric Drooker. Even without any prose to lead the way, you never get lost in the narrative--it's clear as spring water. Drooker's scratchboard-and-watercolor illustrations are incisive and vigorous, with a roughness that shapes and enhances the story. Drooker has obvious precedents, most notably Lynd Ward (Gods' Man: A Novel in Woodcuts) and Frans Masereel (The Sun, The Idea & Story Without Words: Three Graphic Novels). While far more politically-correct-left-of-center than I'd prefer (all the good people are people of color; all the villains are white men, police or soldiers), Eric Drooker is a true artist and well worth experiencing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Souheil Moufarrej

    Throughout my reading lifetime I have always been an avid Graphic Novel reader. I have read a wide variety of Graphic Novel's, ranging from Manga to French Graphic Novels of Asterix and Obelix. But never have I read a Graphic Novel that has come close to such a novel. Blood Song is one of the most intricately drawn books that tells the story of an innocent young woman from a small island off the coast of the city, but finds herself in a predicament when her house is burnt down and must run away Throughout my reading lifetime I have always been an avid Graphic Novel reader. I have read a wide variety of Graphic Novel's, ranging from Manga to French Graphic Novels of Asterix and Obelix. But never have I read a Graphic Novel that has come close to such a novel. Blood Song is one of the most intricately drawn books that tells the story of an innocent young woman from a small island off the coast of the city, but finds herself in a predicament when her house is burnt down and must run away from the military that is storming her quaint innocent village. Such a woman is one of the only to escape and makes her way with her dog off to the city. As she walks through the city she is dumbfounded by most of what she sees but suddenly hears music that sounds familiar. She directs her attention to such a sound only to discover a tall dark figure of a man playing the saxophone. He sees her within the crowd and notices that she is out of place. He takes her to his place where they together share stories. She soon falls for this man vice versa and they begin to get intimate (if you know what I mean). The next morning he goes off to play for more tips as she stays in. The man is arrested and finds himself in prison. The woman on the other hand is confused as to why he hasn't come back and eventually just goes back to sleep. Time passes and the woman is pregnant, but still does not leave the house. The book ends calmly with the birth of a boy who resembles his father. All of this was told with simply illustrations, no words. Spectacular.

  23. 5 out of 5

    John Hornbrook

    Another graphic novel but this time its completely composed of graphics. There is not a single word in the entire book which is a refreshing change but it causes me to flip through the pages too often and the action becomes tiresome. Blood song is an artistic book with a distinct style throughout the book. The color and texture are what really gives the pictures its personality. The color, which always is a ghostly green, sets the mood for this dark events. The book starts focusing on a male fis Another graphic novel but this time its completely composed of graphics. There is not a single word in the entire book which is a refreshing change but it causes me to flip through the pages too often and the action becomes tiresome. Blood song is an artistic book with a distinct style throughout the book. The color and texture are what really gives the pictures its personality. The color, which always is a ghostly green, sets the mood for this dark events. The book starts focusing on a male fisherman but when he goes back to the house it switches to the female. She goes to get water and comes back to see her village being destroyed. She then runs away, something she does constantly through the story. She is always running away from the uniform whether it be policeman or soldier. Anyway she flees to a large city where the only happiness she finds is the of a singer who releases color into the bleak world thought his musical abilities. She is immediately drawn to him. They fall in love but once again the uniform steps in and takes her love away. She is left alone but by the end of the book a glimmer of hope arise, she has his son and the colorful notes come from his mouth as well. This sends a clear message; however hard the uniform tries to take away freedom/happiness they will never succeed. The book has a strong hippie, anti government feel to it. I felt it was an enjoyable read or rather a watch. The art did not particularly seem magnificent to me, it was almost repetitive and un necessary at times but by no means bad. Its a good book for anyone really into art.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edward Cheer

    Since this book is completely wordless, I'll put my own words to it. It's a very confused story, that doesn't seem to know what meesage it's going for. Is it a story about maturing? The horrors of war? Survival? Music? I don't know! Because everything keeps changing all the bloody time. The world isn't established that well at all. The only time I'd say it was, would be during the very beginning, when the fisherman brings home fish to his family. I enjoyed that. But as soon as the story tries to Since this book is completely wordless, I'll put my own words to it. It's a very confused story, that doesn't seem to know what meesage it's going for. Is it a story about maturing? The horrors of war? Survival? Music? I don't know! Because everything keeps changing all the bloody time. The world isn't established that well at all. The only time I'd say it was, would be during the very beginning, when the fisherman brings home fish to his family. I enjoyed that. But as soon as the story tries to confuse the reader (or is it viewer in this case?) with abstract art of the body, it just makes me groan. Sure, this inconsistency is it's own consistency, but it's hardly that subtle! It's like you're beating me over the head with your message! Or... well, whatever message you're going for, whatever the hell it is. If you're artistic, this book will take you two hours to finish. If you're cynical, like me, it'll take you five minutes (or at least I think it took that long). I personally didn't like it, but there's very little I like these days, so you might enjoy it if you read it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    This is the second of Drooker's haunting, wordless graphic novels that I've read, and it was as lovely and moving as "Flood." Much like Shaun Tan's "The Arrival," "Blood Song: A Silent Ballad" tells a not-so-fantastical story about immigration & displacement. A young woman's Vietnam-like home country is invaded by Western troops, and she escapes by sea in a sequence that recalls "The Life of Pi." She lands in an industrial metropolis that counts street artists as criminals, and makes her way wit This is the second of Drooker's haunting, wordless graphic novels that I've read, and it was as lovely and moving as "Flood." Much like Shaun Tan's "The Arrival," "Blood Song: A Silent Ballad" tells a not-so-fantastical story about immigration & displacement. A young woman's Vietnam-like home country is invaded by Western troops, and she escapes by sea in a sequence that recalls "The Life of Pi." She lands in an industrial metropolis that counts street artists as criminals, and makes her way with a young musician. The story is strongest when it following the girl's escape, and I found myself craving more from the book's final act. Nonetheless, Blood Song would make a rich companion in a discussion of the Vietnam War, immigration - even street art in urban settings. Stylized nudity appearing in a brief sequence of the girl and her lover may make it a tough choice in some communities.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Honestly, I was about to give this beautiful book four stars, but then I looked at a few other reviews and shook my head over readers who saw it as a leftist, anti-white parable. Bonus star. The art here is gorgeous. Every page is beautiful and a few are breathtaking. And it doesn't end up the way I expected; it's quite touching. That said, the flow of the story seems a bit off, as Drooker maybe spends more pages on the parts he wanted to draw and fewer on parts that actually advance the narrative Honestly, I was about to give this beautiful book four stars, but then I looked at a few other reviews and shook my head over readers who saw it as a leftist, anti-white parable. Bonus star. The art here is gorgeous. Every page is beautiful and a few are breathtaking. And it doesn't end up the way I expected; it's quite touching. That said, the flow of the story seems a bit off, as Drooker maybe spends more pages on the parts he wanted to draw and fewer on parts that actually advance the narrative. Whatever, that's his perogative, and I can't fault the art. What I can fault is the crappy binding, which starts to separate and fall apart after just a couple readings. That's a shame, because this is a book I will revisit. I wish there were a nicer edition - I'd gladly pay for it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anya Weber

    I love the artwork in this graphic novel. It's chunky and sensuous--I think it's done either via woodcuts or linoleum prints. I also like how the story is entirely wordless, told by the images alone. However, the story had me calling bullsh*t as soon as I turned the last page. It's a simplistic view of innocent villagers, vicious soldiers, evil policemen who arrest a musician for daring to perform on the streetcorner--basically, the good natural world getting the shaft from Western civilization. O I love the artwork in this graphic novel. It's chunky and sensuous--I think it's done either via woodcuts or linoleum prints. I also like how the story is entirely wordless, told by the images alone. However, the story had me calling bullsh*t as soon as I turned the last page. It's a simplistic view of innocent villagers, vicious soldiers, evil policemen who arrest a musician for daring to perform on the streetcorner--basically, the good natural world getting the shaft from Western civilization. Oh, also the female protagonist is defined entirely by her physical stamina and her fertility. On the plus side, she does have a very cute dog. Worth reading for the luminous art, but don't get too invested in the plot, which tries to be cosmic but slides into stereotyping.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rosa

    The artwork is beautiful and the story is moving and sad. There are no words in this book and each illustration speaks for itself. The illustrator manages to convey a lot of movement and emotion in his illustrations which make the story just leap of the page. The majority of the color palette is very monochramatic; drawing attention to the few splashes of color and helping keep the mind focused on the action. Just make sure you force yourself to slow down because there is a tendency to try to sp The artwork is beautiful and the story is moving and sad. There are no words in this book and each illustration speaks for itself. The illustrator manages to convey a lot of movement and emotion in his illustrations which make the story just leap of the page. The majority of the color palette is very monochramatic; drawing attention to the few splashes of color and helping keep the mind focused on the action. Just make sure you force yourself to slow down because there is a tendency to try to speed through it because of the lack of words.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Whatsupchuck

    My goodness! Where to start? This is 'silent' comic. The only text is a quote at the beginning. The art is nearly monochromatic with sparse splashes of other colors and is utterly phenominal. The panels flow together so fluidly, and at the same time each panel could stand alone in a gallery. The only downside is how fluidly the story flows. I finished it in probably 20 minutes and felt that I had cheated myself out of a very rich and deep experience. When I re-read this someday I'm going to slow WA My goodness! Where to start? This is 'silent' comic. The only text is a quote at the beginning. The art is nearly monochromatic with sparse splashes of other colors and is utterly phenominal. The panels flow together so fluidly, and at the same time each panel could stand alone in a gallery. The only downside is how fluidly the story flows. I finished it in probably 20 minutes and felt that I had cheated myself out of a very rich and deep experience. When I re-read this someday I'm going to slow WAY down and absorb every bit.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    incredibly, this book is done entirely with scratchboard and done over in watercolor. thanks to the estimable mr. allen duffy for letting me borrow it. i found this book to be more interesting than drooker's other, "flood", probably because it was a more mature work. so read "flood", then "blood song". the concept of a completely visual-based graphic novel is also more successful in this one, possibly because of a difference in theme? incredibly, this book is done entirely with scratchboard and done over in watercolor. thanks to the estimable mr. allen duffy for letting me borrow it. i found this book to be more interesting than drooker's other, "flood", probably because it was a more mature work. so read "flood", then "blood song". the concept of a completely visual-based graphic novel is also more successful in this one, possibly because of a difference in theme?

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