Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

By: Franny Billingsley
Published by: Dial
Publication date: March 17, 2011
YA, 368 pages
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From Goodreads...

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Oh my gosh, I loved this one! Chime is completely unlike anything out there in the realm of YA. It's a fairytale, it's lush, it's surreal and otherwordly. I'll admit, it took me a couple of chapters to fall into the rhythm of Chime as it has its own cadence but once I did I was completely lost to Franny Billingsley's unique voice.

I thought I had read about every paranormal element out there, but Chime gives us what I can only describe as swamp fae, think localized folklore come to life. Never once did I feel I knew what to expect and I can't tell you how refreshing that was! Nothing followed formula, not the setting, not the characters, not the romance.

Briony (captured perfectly by the cover model) is tormented. Tragedy and mysterious illness have consistently befallen her family and due to her stepmother's revelations, she is convinced she is the cause. She is a witch and her emotions have manifested disaster. What an impossibly heavy burden for her to bear.

As a witch, she not only believes she is incapable of love, she also feels she doesn't have the right to express sadness, for witches don't cry. But she and Eldric become friends and I couldn't help but wonder if Briony would eventually feel the power of love and whether love would win out over evil. This is a fairytale but there are no signposts along the road guaranteeing a happy ending.

Colorful characters abound...young Tiddy Rex, Mad Tom, Cecil ~ the boy who would have her hand and Eldric, the boy who would awaken feelings she didn't think a witch could experience.
There are mysteries galore and I was never quite sure while reading what was real and what was not...though all is explained fully and satisfactorily with deeply buried secrets revealed in Chime's climax.

Eerily atmospheric and lyrical, I would recommend Chime to anyone seeking something truly original and transporting!


Celesta said...

ooh, good review! This book was already on my TBR list but I think after reading your take on it I'll have to just go ahead and order it at my library!

Vampires and Tofu said...

Ooh, I hope you like it! Come back and let me know what you think when you're done =)

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

Great review! This book seems to provoke some pretty strong reactions from people. I've heard of people who just dropped the book because they couldn't get into it at all, and then I've read a couple of positive reviews too. Not sure if it's my kind of thing, but I got sent a copy for review a while back, so might give it a try! :)

Midnyte Reader said...

I had mixed feelings about this one, but after I read your take on it, I can't wait to read it.

Juju at Tales of said...

You had me at lyrical.

Vampires and Tofu said...

Yeah, I think this is really one of those love it or hate it books. I'm really curious to see what you all think of it!

Lily Child said...

I actually picked this up at the bookstore and flipped through it...then set it back on the shelf. I just wasn't sure about the writing style. However, after reading your review, I think I'll give it another try! Thanks! :)

Jenny said...

Oh yay I'm really excited for this one! I need a unique, refreshing YA read, and swamp fae sound pretty amazing. Thanks for this review Angelique!

Krystianna said...

I'm really going to have to check this one out! Thanks for the review!

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