readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

Tithe – Holly Black ****

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(Modern Faerie Tales #1)

I briefly met Holly Black at a signing some time ago, and I could just tell she was cool. Finally got around to reading a couple of her books. I was afraid they wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but – yeah, they’re cool!

They’re definitely YA – I think I would have enjoyed them even more if I were younger. Because there’s a certain age at which it’s really difficult to find books that reflect your reality while still being magical. For a pretty big chunk of us, ‘Bordertown’ was it. Now, there’s a lot more out there, I think.

In ‘Tithe,’ 16-yr old Kaye is just discovering, with ambivalence, the power of her own sexuality… like most girls around that age. Unlike most girls, she also discovers that she’s a changeling. Not even the knight of the unseelie court whom she rescues one dark and rainy night realized that she isn’t human, but her ‘imaginary’ friends from her childhood have plans for her that involve danger and sacrifice….

At times, the story gets a little bit silly. But at other times, it achieves real magic. I like books that aren’t afraid to portray parents as flawed human beings who aren’t always right, and that realize that kids that aren’t goody-goodies can still be good people.
The author does a great job of portraying the moral ambiguity of both courts of the Fey – and Kaye’s knight, Roiben, is Damn Sexy Hot! (no explicit action, though… sigh.)

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