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Ballad of the Beanstalk

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  42 reviews
As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp, sixteen-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing t ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Patchwork Press
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Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew RoweCrown of Ice by Vicki L. WeavilThe Waterfall Traveler by S.J. LemDevotion by Katika SchneiderBallad of the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty
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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  73 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Don’t you just love getting “the rest of the story” regarding those fairy tales we grew up with? Did you ever make up your own fairy tale to go with one, say like Jack and the Beanstalk? Amy McNulty did just that with her tale of THE BALLAD OF THE BEANSTALK as she reveals her version of the real story behind the magical singing harp.

Perhaps we weren’t ready for this until we were grown up, because it is NOT a fluffy version of magic and happy endings, but it does make one want to re-read Jack an
Montzalee Wittmann
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Ballad of the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty and narrated by Kaitlin Descutner is an audible book I requested and the review is voluntary. This is the back story of the harp and the story of the bean stalk characters. The story was very hard to get into. It was slow, too many character introductions, the plot was going nowhere... It did get a bit better later but the characters still were shallow and the plot just okay. The saving grace was the narrator who performed wonderfully with what she had. I ...more
Annelise Lestrange
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-collection
Review coming soon!
Dorothy Dreyer
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an awesome take on the Jack and the Beanstalk world. This book was very engaging, and McNulty's prose was fluid.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
interesting take on a classic tale, 3.5 stars. Longer review to come.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 Stars.

I have to say, I'm not sure what it is that I expected from Ballad of the Beanstalk, but not only did it deliver, but it completely delighted me with every page! This book was a brilliant prequel story for a well-know and well-beloved fairytale, and I loved reading it! If you're looking for a unique, inventive and imaginative prequel tale for Jack and the Beanstalk, than this is the book for you.

What I loved most about Ballad of the Beanstalk was the characters - Clarion was absolutely
Pallavi Sareen
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I really do love retellings but only when they are done right and since I have previously read all other books by this author I had expected this one to be just as good as well. Well, it did not disappoint. With Ballad of the beanstalk, the author brings to us the prequel of Jack and the beanstalk explaining the mystery of the magical singing harp and what happens in the land above the clouds.
Clarion has lost her father and he
Stephanie - Books Less Travelled
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Alex Lidell. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

I had hoped to love this one, as I enjoy a good retelling. Sadly this one didn't work for me. There wasn't one point that I disliked, but I was just left unsatisfied as I listened to this one. The writing style didn't work for me, the characters came off as helpless and whiney, and the plot di
The Book Junkie Reads . . .
This was a whole new way to look at ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ regarding the giant’s magical singing golden harp. This was a true trip in to fantasy and the beginning to the harp (Clairon). Clarion and Elena were both friends and one boy came to town and made things more complicated. This begins the journey for Clarion up the beanstalk and the prequel to Jack and the Beanstalk.

Narrator Review of . . . BALLAD OF THE BEANSTALK . . . Kaitlin did a good job. She allowed me to become more engaged in t
Sheena-kay Graham
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fantasy, arc
A lovely retelling that should be read by all. A unique tale on what happened before Jack climbed the Beanstalk.

The plot was great and fascinating. I don't believe there are nearly enough great Jack and the Beanstalk retellings out there. At least I haven't found them. Clarion is a good MC in that she wants what's best not just for herself but those around her as well. The death of her father doesn't make her get bitter and hard. Instead she grieves but still cares about others. When she goes
Amanda P
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**I received this ARC from the author for an honest review and in no way did it impact my review of this book. **

I loved the spin that Amy McNulty put on this classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk! Her writing is so amazing that you totally forget that this is technically a child's story turned into a adult's book. The main character of the story Clarion, is struggling with her sexuality. She thinks she has it all with her sweetheart and one of her best friends Elena. But when she happens to se
This is another fairy tale retelling and I loved this very much. This was my first time to read an Amy McNulty story and I was so happy to have signed up for this book. Thanks again, Amy McNulty for the ARC. This is actually a prequel to Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the story behind the magical singing harp.

This is one of the best retellings I have ever read. I was really dazzled and bewitched by the story. I want more. I hope there is a sequel. I usually give my ratings at the end of eac
Challa Fletcher
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it

Clarion struggles after the death of her father and her life with her mother is growing more difficult. When she learns her mother has sold the last two positions of her father, Clarion feels like there is nothing left for her in the world. Clarion's relationship with Elena, her sweetheart and best friend, becomes strained at the arrival of a new man in their town, Magnus. Though he is meant for Elena, he is drawn to Clarion and she is equally attracted to him. They find their
Kristine Hall
Audio Book Review. Author Amy McNulty has created an imaginative rendering of the story before the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. She introduces a lot of characters quickly, and some are not as well fleshed-out as others, so as an audiobook, it is a little hard to keep-up initially. But soon enough, each role is clarified and McNulty gets snaps for coming up with the most novel love triangle (square?) I have seen. I found it interesting and refreshing that the characters being homosexual and b ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Before Jack, Mack and Clarion discovered the Beanstalk and the Hen Who Lay Golden Eggs

I'm always on the hunt for intelligent, adult driven, psychological, and/or deeper (or darker) fairy tale or nursery rhymes retellings. This one gets two thumbs up. Rather, two hands and two legs to climb up.

The first thirty minutes or so (I wasn't watching the time) could be overwhelming with the introduction of many of the Land characters. The 'giants' seemed to be more slowly coaxed onto the pages. The rel
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5- rounded up because it was just so much fun to read.

I really liked this book. I found the beginning a little hard to follow, there were so many names and it took a bit for me to keep track of who was who, but when I did, I found it a fast, enjoyable read. I wish there had been a little more character development. Most of this book hinges on the lengths that Clarion is willing to go to to save those around her, but I constantly wondered why. Elena struck me as petty, a little mean spirited, a
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible-read
This fairy tale retelling tells the story of the magical golden harp in Jack and the Beanstalk. Clarion is the daughter of a pig farmer, one of a trio of friends, and a harpist that can capture listeners' hearts. After her father's death, her mother resorts to selling all of their possessions, including Clarion's beloved harp. While playing her harp for the last time at the Mayor's ball, Clarion and a visiting lord's son discover a giant beanstalk growing in a witch's garden and the adventure be ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book took a classic story and twisted it upside down the back again. I really enjoyed how different the two lands were, yet tied strongly together.

Clarion is one determined girl, who is not afraid to get what she wants. She may not know who she wants to be with more, but she certainly will stop at nothing to make sure she has that choice.

Kaitlyn Descutner is brilliant. She is easy to listen to and reads at a great pace to follow. It was easy to tell the characters apart and really en
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just more great writing from Amy McNulty

There hasn't been a story that she's told that hasn't had me completely riveted. This, like all of her books, was another one that I didn't want to put down. Jack and the Beanstalk was never a favorite story, so I was reluctant to read this. In Amy's competent hands, she crafts another feudal world full of literary umami richly told with an unexpected journey to the well-known outcome. I'm pretty smitten with all of her work.
maria arcara
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
very interesting book; well written & engrossing. I thought both the characters & the plot were nicely developed.
now I want to read the story of Jack and the beanstalk. .
Clarion is our quiet, determined hero of this story. She’s on the cusp of adulthood and this adventure will catapult her into life with several decisive actions. I really liked her character. She’s had a pretty stable if downward spiraling life up until recently. She and her mom are facing poverty. With her dad deceased, it’s up to her and her mom to make ends meet. I was right beside Clarion in her grief over her mom’s decision to sell the last of the pigs. However I do wonder why Clarion thoug ...more
Melissa Levine
I asked for this free audiobook from the author for an honest review. Well...I didn't make it halfway through the story. While I felt there were too many characters introduced in such a short period, the narrator did nothing to help this. I hate leaving bad reviews, but I'm choosing 0 stars since I didn't finish it.

I'm not much of a fan of stories that are told to you. This is the result of the writing style the author chooses. If you know what I mean, then yeah, if not, you'll figure if you con
Lauren Jones
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This tale is an interesting retelling of the original and well known fairytale called “Jack and the Beanstalk”. If you saw a giant plant sprout from the earth and travel all the way into the clouds, how would you react? McNulty does a really great job with explaining the confusion, suspicion, and curiosity that passes among her characters after a giant beanstalk takes up precedence in a magical garden which coincidentally belongs to the town’s witch. This adventure has tons of creativity, origin ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
It was short, and there were parts of it I really liked, but overall I wasn't very happy with it.

Ballad of the Beanstalk takes place before Jack and the Beanstalk, giving the background story for some of the characters. It’s also the story of a bi girl figuring out her love interests. And a gruesome dark fairy tale. I think it would work a lot better for people who like dark surprising endings.

I liked the classical fantasy setting with familiar characters and tropes, and how there were things I
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is definitely of the "grind his bones to make my bread" genre, rather than the "modern fairytale" sort.

I need to preface this review by mentioning that I found it while perusing "YA Romance," so when I picked it up, my expectations where wildly off-base. This angsty adventure/dark fairytale was absolutely not what I was in the mood for. I'm all for darker/more realistic fairytale retellings, but apparently only when I know that's what I'm headed into.

The first 60% of this book is very bland
Kalli Bunch
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When you hear beanstalk, you automatically jump to the story "Jack and the Beanstalk"...well, this isn't that story. This is the story of the Harp, and even the Golden egged Hen, in a weird way. Clarion isn't your every day, average girl. Well, she is. But she's the daughter of Pig Farmer who died some months back, and her mother has taken to selling off everything she loves. Clarion herself comes from noble blood, though that seems like it does her no good anymore, as the Mayor's family has uns ...more
Carol Peace
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
Amy McNulty has taken a classic fairy tale (Jack and the Beanstalk) and put her own ingenious stamp on it. This is a more in depth story of where the seeds came from and why Jack climbs the beanstalk, it also introduce new characters which you can't help but want them to succeed. \clarion and Elena have been friends for years and when a new prince is introduced to them they both have a reason to like him and as the friendship flounders we get to know the characters more. I loved the story and wa ...more
Bradley (AudioShelf)
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was an interesting take on a classic tale. I loved the diversity in the story—wasn’t too preachy or forced.

The narrator worried me at first, because the production value was not high. However, she made up for it towards the end of the audiobook and excelled in showing emotion and a variety of wonderfully done voices for each character.

Won’t read again.

Got this audiobook for free in exchange of an honest review.
Tina Fritchley
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I haven't read many fairy tale retellings, and whilst not strictly a retelling, this is such a good read. The story of what happened BEFORE Jack climbed the beanstalk.

A well-written tale, with an unexpected ending.
Emily VanLaeys
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
The ending was very disappointing.
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Amy McNulty is an editor and author of books that run the gamut from YA speculative fiction to contemporary romance. A lifelong fiction fanatic, she fangirls over books, anime, manga, comics, movies, games, and TV shows from her home state of Wisconsin. When not reviewing anime professionally or editing her clients’ novels, she’s busy fulfilling her dream by crafting fantastical worlds of her own.

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