Review: Ballad & Dagger by Daniel José Older

Series: Outlaw Saints #1
Author: Daniel José Older
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Released: May 3, 2022
Received: Own (OwlCrate)

4 kitties

Book Summary:

Mateo Matisse’s homeland disappeared into the sea. Yes, exactly like the story of Atlantis, only not. Because there are living people who are grieving the loss of their home, Mateo and his family are working hard to keep their culture alive, hoping to one day find their way back home.

Unfortunately, the evil that targeted their home isn’t finished, and that means there’s a battle looming on the horizon. Thankfully, there are a few secrets Matteo is about to learn about that will help to even the odds.

My Review:

Wow! Ballad & Dagger was such a fantastic introduction to this world. I can see why Rick Riordan backed it – it is right up his alley. This YA fantasy novel has a little bit of something for everyone and is such a fun read.

I’ll admit that the introduction is a bit slower-paced than I would like. The good news is that it does pick up, with the latter chunk of the book going at lightning speed. At that point, you won’t be ready to say goodbye and will be sad to see it go. The good news is that this is the start of a series, so there’s more to come!

The cultural elements and insight into this novel were a delight and are absolutely one of several highlights of this book. Go read Ballad & Dagger if you have a moment; it’s worth it.


  • Urban Fantasy
  • Mythology
  • Magic with traditions

Trigger Warnings:

  • Colorism
  • Death/murder
  • Diaspora

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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