Friday, February 4, 2011


Title/Author: Tithe by Holly Black.

Genre: YA/Urban Fantasy.

Publisher: McElderry, 2004.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Kaye and Roiben.

Favorite quote: “The twilight holds as many truths as the dawn…” -Roiben. “Time will tell. It always does.” -The Thistlewitch.

All in all: A dark Faery Tale - Loved it!

Synopsis: 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 the sixteen-year-old 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.

Thoughts: Girl used to play with faeries, girl moves back to childhood home, girl meets handsome Faery Knight, girl gets entangled in Faery. Sounds like many books out there, right? Maybe so, but I absolutely adored Holly Black’s take on it. The descriptions, the characters and the secrets are all so delicious. I started to write down my favorite quotes, but there were so many I had to stop. I think the writing is beautiful and the way Kaye sees this world as well as Faery is enchanting. It is poetry and song lyrics. I loved how the story shows how a taste of Faery can drive a human mad and how a taste of power can be intoxicating to anyone.

I finally found out why the Seelie and the Unseelie Courts are enemies. As one of the character’s point out, the Courts require enemies to give them purpose, much like God gave angels the Devil. Well, even if I believe that you need both the Summer and the Winter court to keep the world in balance, I guess a little competition is just second nature to the Fey.

One thing is also for sure, popular culture always has the Fey making bargains and talking in riddles and Holly Black’s Faery world is no different. Kaye has to be very careful and very clever. The bargains are imperative to the plot devices in this story. I really had to pay attention and not everything made sense at first, but by the end it all fell into place. And, to be honest, I liked that it wasn’t crystal clear to me, because it kept my interest and often, when a story lays everything out it has no spark. Another thing that may be a little confusing is just when you thought the story should end, it really doesn’t…but the reason also makes perfect sense.

Kaye is no ingénue. She is a dropout, shares cigarettes with her mother and has lived a life in seedy apartments. However, she does show a caring side and she learns in this book too, about Faeries and her perception of them and about herself. She is likeable and I connected with her right from the start. I love the romance in this story too! Roiben is the Faery Knight that Kaye meets and they are attracted to each other and have difficulty with one another. Roiben is struggling also as he tries to overcome his situation. He is the typical, perfect Faery Knight character. Mysterious, brooding and damaged in his own way. In the end, Kaye and Roiben have to help each other and by doing this become better for it.

If you don’t like references to sex, harsh language and “naughty” band names, then I would find another book. But I loved the dark, dirty, grittiness of this story.

I’m going to leave you with this little tidbit. I remember reading it in legends, and I loved how Black put it in the story: If you think you are left with a Changeling and you want to get your real child back throw the Changeling into the fire or stick a hot poker down their throat.

Afterthoughts: I checked out Amazon and Goodreads and there are a lot of diverse opinions on this book, from the story was slow and the characters boring to being a “vibrant, haunting story.” I’m going with the latter, but I would love to know what you think.

5 out of 5 stars.

Other Editions:



Savannah said...

I love Holly Black, her stories are always so good. Nice review!!

Jenny said...

I never tire of tales about Faery and humans getting entangled there with handsome, brooding Faery men:) I love that this story is dark and gritty too, that definitely piques my interest. Thanks so much for sharing this one, I hadn't heard much about it before but it sounds like something I would love:)

Angelique said...

Last year's big surprise for me was discovering how much I enjoy books about the Fae. Added this one to my TBR list, looking forward to "meeting" Kaye, she sounds like she's gonna be an interesting character to read!

Angelique said...

Ooooh...just checked Amazon, the whole trilogy is only $18.24!!!
I know what I'm getting next payday =)

Midnyte Reader said...

@ Savannah-Yes, I'm looking forward to reading more of her books!

@Jenny-I really liked the male main character. He has flaws and seems torturned.

@Ang-Cool! Can't wait to hear your opinions.

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

My sister just finished reading this series and couldn't stop raving about it to me. So yup, I excited to read these books, especially because I love delicious secrets! And I've found that books with a wide range of books usually are very good, plus I'm curious about how you said Black takes on the legend and puts her own take on it.

I had no clue there were so many covers.

Karen said...

I keep hearing such conflicting thoughts on this one. I'm not really a big fan of the Fae but I just may have to give it a try.

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