tithe: a modern faerie tale

Posted: August 14, 2013 in Reviews, Young Adult
Tags: , ,


Author: Holly Black

Paperback, 331 pages

Published in 2002 by Simon Pulse

Reader Category: Listed as Young Adult

From the Publisher:  Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad.  Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home.  There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.

My Review:  When I first picked it up I thought that the cover was beautiful, and the summary on the back clinched it for me.  Unfortunately the cover and summary were not enough to get me through it, and I had to really push myself to finish this book.

The negative:

As this is told from Kaye’s point of view, it somewhat limited the reader’s ability to understand the faerie world that this story is set in.  I felt like the reader was left out of some unknown back story and I was somewhat frustrated.

I was quickly turned off by the brash, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, foul mouthed Kaye.  While it’s not at all surprising to find smoking and drinking in a young adult novel, the over-the-top language that cropped up really detracted from the story.  I felt that it was sadly unnecessary in this tale.  I get that it is a ‘modern faerie tale’, and I am by no means turned off by foul language (in the right context. I had a really hard time connecting to this book and these characters.

Corny, brother of Kaye’s best friend Janet, starts out as a psychotic head-case, and then without any sort of transition, becomes Kaye’s confidant and companion.  It was surprising, and somewhat awkward.

There were so many characters and so many ‘faerie’ terms, that I had a hard time keeping up and found myself skimming over parts that confused me.  Normally, I would try to back track and re-read to refresh my memory, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it here.

The positive:

The story is well thought out and the author has a clear vision of where she wants it to go.

The story finally started to take shape for me in the second chapter, with the introduction of Roiben, the injured knight from the faerie realm.  This is when I felt that the story was going somewhere.  Before that, I really wanted to abandon the book.

Unfortunately, for me there was more negative than positive.  The lack of initial connection made this a hard read.  I found myself rushing to read it and get it over with.

  1. ChrissiReads says:

    It’s a shame you didn’t like this book as much as you’d hoped! A great, considered review! 🙂

  2. […] tithe: a modern faerie tale […]

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