Saturday, February 5, 2011

Holly Black- Tithe

The first book of the series Tithe follows the story of sixteen-year-old Kaye Fierch, a young girl who is headstrong and independent, intelligent and mature, clever but sometimes naive. She is living a nomadic life as she follows her mother's (Ellen Fierch) rock band. Ellen who is a partying, struggling rock singer. She is free spirited but cares more as friend to Kaye than a mother. The book begins in Philadelphia, at a bar where an event causes her and her mother to flee back home to Kaye's grandmother's house in New Jersey to stay, where they had left years earlier.
Once at her grandmother's house she finds and saves the life of Roiben, a faerie and noble Seelie knight traded years earlier to the Unseelie Queen as part of a truce agreement between the courts (Seelie and Unseelie). He is a strong fighter and feared by many. He keeps bottled inside his hatred of cruelty he is forced to perform for the Queen of the Unseelie Court and holds deep feelings of self-loathing and despair. However, he has a strong attraction to Kaye which he doesn’t quite understand at first. In return for Kaye saving him he grants her three truthfully answered questions about anything she chooses, which she does not immediately use. Soon after this, Spike and Lutie-Loo contact and warn her that Roiben is a murderer who has killed Gristle. As revenge, Kaye tricks Roiben into telling her his full name (she later learns that by revealing their full and true name, a faerie is forced to obey whatever they are told to do by the person who knows it, human or Fey).
Kaye soon discovers she is an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms. She learns that she is actually a changeling (pixie) and that she should keep her human appearance, because the Unseelie Court wishes to use her as a Tithe in order to bind the Solitary Fey to the Court's queen, Nicnevin. Kaye is sucked into the craziness of the Faerie Courts where she discovers not everything is as it seems, truths were lies and her childhood friends Lutie-Loo and Spike, may not be looking out for her best interest and Roiben who she thought was an enemy turns to save her from her death.

My thoughts: Tithe is a page-turner after I got through the first few chapters. I found myself wanting to see what happens. The story is quick covering about a one week period, imaginative and entertaining. The journey is edgy and the book is a dark fantasy. The fairies aren’t cutie little Tinkerbells out of Disney but more the type to wound and render flesh and smile and enjoy it. Violence, various debaucheries, lies and deceit are a typical day in the life of faerie. Keeping the perspective of a YA book (which to me seemed more adult book featuring young characters), I enjoyed the conflicted teen feelings with the development of romance to be touching and sensual. However sadly the book was more realistic in its portrayal of teen, I saw no fantasy there. It is a mellow drama in the day and life of teens. With the writing, the flow wasn’t always spot on, it seemed to leave me feeling like I may have missed some word or paragraph to tie it together.
Thank you Laura (Guest Blogger)

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