Jon B. Dalvy's The Ballad of Titha Mae was published in January 2018.
Information about Jon B. Dalvy:
Jon is a Nashville, TN-based author and illustrator, his work spanning from creative writing as a profession to fantasy literature. He’s told tales as a published playwright with The Nashville Repertory Theatre, a pop-culture writer for Skreeonk.com, and led several creative ventures during his four-year career as head writer of Playbuzz.com: crafting content for Disney, TIME, People, MTV, and many others. His heart, however, has never held a tale so dear as it does The Ballad of Titha Mae, a children’s fantasy novel crafted from his own life and love of the genre. It is his sincerest hope that your heart, too, will carve out a Luna-shaped spot for Titha and her companions in the near future!
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about The Ballad of Titha Mae:
Titha loves her father, Theole, with all her excitable heart. The two are indigo-skinned Lunas: a spritely people forbidden to leave the treehalls of Yythengrey. So when their once friendly Dawnfather, the twisted dragon Vulduun, desecrates their homeland and kidnaps Theole, no one is willing to risk saving him - except his daughter, Titha Mae. Such a brash gesture leads the little Luna and her Bear-brother, Paw, on a fantastical journey far beyond the only foliage-filled mountains she’s ever known.
Raised beneath the Great Smoky Mountains in Knoxville, Tennessee, Jon B. Dalvy crafted The Ballad of Titha Mae from his adventurous Appalachian youth, historical mythology, and his Celtic heritage. Titha Mae was born from these passions, as well as bedtime stories created for his three little sisters and two younger brothers. The brothers having plenty of classical male heroes to choose from growing up, 'The Ballad' is dedicated to (and based upon) Jon's three little sisters "and the light they hold", in hopes of bringing more lionhearted young heroines to the forefront of fantasy literature.
The result is an epic adventure featuring a brand new world ripe with its own rich mythology and eclectic characters, all born of fantastical races both new and old! Join Titha and her companions on a journey you'll never want to end, and will surely never forget!
A REVIEW OF JON B. DALVY'S THE BALLAD OF TITHA MAE
When I began to read Jon B. Dalvy's The Ballad of Titha Mae, I was pleasantly surprised by it. I found myself captivated by its old-fashioned charm and engaging storytelling, because it's a marvellous fantasy adventure with a lot of heart. It's one of the best and most compelling children's fantasy novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading and can wholeheartedly recommend it to readers of all ages.
The Ballad of Titha Mae is a real joy to read. It's sophisticatedly complex and offers plenty of entertaiment to children and adults alike, because it has an epic story that becomes increasingly thrilling as it begins to unfold. It has been written out of love for storytelling and the author clearly respects the genre, because he has constructed the story well and has added many details to it.
What makes this novel special is that it has echoes of folklore tales, old myths and classic fantasy tales. The author has infused his story with these elements and uses them to bring depth to the storyline and the amazing world he has created. Various beliefs, myths and legends are part of the world and its inhabitants' lives, because the world has its own mythology.
There's something about this novel that slightly reminds me of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and also a bit of Helen Lowe's Thornspell. The author evokes the same kind of sense of adventure, fantasy and wonder in this novel as these authors do in their novels; he pays attention to the atmosphere and swiftly moves the story along towards its strong ending.
Here's a bit of information about the story:
Titha Mae is excited about the annual Festival of Days that will be held in Yythengrey... Theole, Titha's father, hears troubling news from Cypress who tells him that the reports from the Cedar Guard posted at the far edge of the forest tell of something strange happening. The guards have witnessed that the Sun has risen early and then set again as if it had never risen... When the Festival begins, the once friendly Dawnfather, the dragon Vulduun, attacks the Lunas, burns their home and kidnaps Theole and his Moonstone... When nobody seems to do anything to help Theole, Titha and her Bear-brother, Paw, bravely journey out into the strange world outside Yythengrey and try to save Theole...
This marks the beginning of an exciting story that tells of how Titha Mae ends up trying to save the whole world from doom.
The characterisation in this novel works well, because the author has created a diverse and entertaining cast of characters. The author writes evocatively about the characters and their adventures, because each of the characters is brought vividly to life.
Here are a few words about some of the characters:
- The protagonist of this novel, Titha Mae, is one of the Lunas, indigo-skinned sprite people, who are people of the Night, children of the Forest and of the Moon. She is a brave, courageous and determined girl who leaves everything behind in order to rescue her father. She loves nature and all living things. She's a brave and likeable heroine who wants to do the right thing.
- Nech is an old, talkative and wise scribe. He is the Council Scribe of the Crater Goblins, who are also known as the Craglins. He knows much about history and what has happened during ancient times. He talks a lot and loves to tell about many things.
- Audun is a Viking boy, the youngest son of Sigrid who is the Shieldmaiden of Autumnhill. He is unlike the other Vikings, because he likes to read and write, and wants to explore places. He becomes friends with Titha Mae.
The author writes well about Titha Mae and how her whole life changes because of Vulduun's wrath. Titha gets to witness how brutal and unforgiving the world is and how many dangers there are outside her home. It was fascinating to read about how she reacted to what she saw and how she felt about certain things, because her reactions were realistic. She's one of the most intriguing heroines ever to appear in children's fantasy fiction.
The storytelling is exquisitely engaging. Jon B. Dalvy has managed to find a perfect balance between characterisation, storytelling and worldbuilding. He evokes a sense of awe and discovery that is not often present in this kind of fantasy fiction. He also has a playful and whimsical writing style that fits the story and makes it accessible for younger readers and endearing to those who are a bit older.
I find the worldbuilding excellent, because the author has created a fascinating world that beckons readers to explore its wonders. The world is rich in detail and mythology (I was positively surprised by how much depth the author has added to his story, because normally you won't find this level of depth in this kind of fantasy fiction). As Titha Mae begins her journey, the world opens up before the readers' eyes in a spellbinding way.
The world has been created by two Great Dragons, Vulduun and Meriduun, who wielded the power of the Sunstone and Moonstone during the creation. It has been divided into three parts: Westlyn, Mydlan and Eastlyn. There are many amazing and wondrous places in the world, including the treehalls of Yythengrey, the Abyss, the Craglands and Svellvanyon; and there are different beings and races in the world, including Lunas, Goblins, Ogres, Reeks and Men, who are all different from each other. Although the world is a gorgeous and wondrous place, there's trouble and turmoil in it, for the Ever-war that began ages ago still continues.
The author writes excellently about Vulduun and his madness. The once benevolent drake that has become twisted and filled with lust for revenge is a magnificent sight to behold in his fiery and vengeful fury. It was thrilling to read about how Vulduun wanted to have the Moonstone and the Sunstone so that he could bring on the Eon of Day and destroy the night.
This novel is partly a tale about courage, friendship and bonds between friends. The author explores what kind of bonds Titha forms with other characters throughout the story and how strong the bonds are. He also examines what the characters do under pressure and how they deal with problems and dangerous situations.
I immensely enjoyed this novel and was captivated by many things. Among other things, I enjoyed reading about the Lunas, the Druids, the Elk Kings and the Igdrasil, because the author wrote wonderfully about them. His vision of them felt compelling and the mythological elements were satisfyingly mysterious.
One of the best things about this novel is that it's a well written traditional fantasy novel with an epic story. I love this kind of fantasy fiction, because it's fantastic to be able to immerse oneself into another world where dangers and wonders abound. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who will fall in love with this novel, because there's something charming about it that is difficult to resist.
Before I finish writing this review, I want to mention that the cover art looks beautiful. The artist, Sandara Tang, has wonderfully captured the feel of the story in her image, because the image is a perfect portrayal of Titha Mae and her Bear-brother, Paw. I also want to mention that the glossary at the end of this novel is good and useful, because readers can use it to check what the various terms mean.
I give this novel full five stars on the scale from one to five stars, because it's an excellent children's fantasy novel. I look forward to reading what the author writes next, because I loved the story and enjoyed reading about the characters' adventures (to be honest, I can hardly wait to get my hands on the author's next novel). I sincerely hope that readers will find this novel, because it's worth reading.
My final words are:
Jon B. Dalvy's The Ballad of Titha Mae is an engaging and well written fantasy adventure for readers of all ages. I have a feeling that younger readers will find it difficult to put this novel down and older readers will also find it irresistibly entertaining, because the story is compelling. If you love good old-fashioned and traditional children's fantasy fiction and magical stories, you'll be charmed by The Ballad of Titha Mae. This whimsical fantasy adventure is a hidden treasure that will entice you and steal your heart.