Monday, May 12, 2008
This weekend I needed something to read, so I picked up Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black (336 pgs, Simon Pulse). It's a book I'm using for the Young Adult Reading Challenge, though I think it would fit perfectly well in a category for the Once Upon a Time II Challenge.
Kaye Fierch isn't your average 16-year-old girl. She hasn't been to school since she was 14. She got a job to help her Mom pay the bills. To be honest, she was more of an adult than her Mom, who spent all her nights in bars singing in a band. Besides, Kaye was always considered a little weird. As a child, she spoke to Faeries, though everyone thought it was all in her imagination.
When an attack on her mom left the two without a place to stay, they were forced to go back to New Jersey to stay with Kaye's grandmother. As Kaye got a chance to look up old friends, she meets a Faerie Knight that is wounded. This starts off a chain of events that leads her right in the middle of a war between the two Faerie Courts, the Seelie and the Unseelie. The bright and the dark. The tradition of the Tithe is being brought back. It is the sacrifice of a mortal. And it will require that all the solitary fae, those that aren't a part of either court, be bound for seven years in servitude to the Unseelie court.
Just when Kaye starts to understand that she herself is set up to be the mortal sacrifice, she is blindsided with more news. For the last 16 years, Kaye has been living a life that wasn't hers to live. She is not a mortal at all, but part of the Fae world herself. Now with her mortal friend, Corney, and the Dark Knight, Roiben, she has to figure out who to believe. Things are not always as they seem.
I really enjoyed reading this book, although it is exceedingly darker than I originally expected. Holly Black has created a strange and dark world in which faeries aren't exactly the nicest creatures around. In fact, they are down-right frightening!! Kaye is a great character in that she has feet in both worlds. She is faerie by birth, but having lived in the mortal world for 16 years, she is starting to understand the delicate balance of power between the two worlds. And the need to keep each world in it's place.
My only major complaint at all is that this book IS marketed to the young adult set. As a 16-year-old girl, Kaye spends more time in bars with her mother than anywhere else. She drinks and smokes and is a high school dropout. There is also a lot of sexual innuendo that is just way too much for those under the age of 16. It's not a book that I would go right out and buy for my son, who reads at this age level now, at age 11.
But for older kids and adults, I think it's a unique story about new worlds. And I'm looking forward to reading Ironside, the follow-up to this book. 4/5
Also Reviewed by:
Darla D @ Books and Other Thoughts