Monday, May 16, 2011


Title/Author: Chime by Franny Billingsley.

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Publisher: DIAL Books

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Briony & Rose Larkin

Favorite quote: Too many to list!

All in all: In a class by itself.

Synopsis: Briony has a secret. She believes her secret killed her stepmother, destroyed her twin sister’s mind, and threatens all the children in the Swampsea. She yearns to be rid of her terrible secret, but risks being hanged if she tells a soul. That’s what happens to witches: They’re hanged by the neck until dead.

Then Eldric arrives-Eldric with his golden mane and lion eyes and electric energy-and he refused to believe anything dark about Briony. Bue he wonders what’s been buried beneath her self-hatred, hidden in Rose’s mangled thoughts, and whispered about by the Old Ones. And Briony wonders how Eldric can make her want to cry.

Especially when everyone knows that witches can’t cry.~From book jacket.

My Thoughts: “A poem doesn’t come out and tell you what it has to say. It circles back on itself, eating its own tail and making you guess what it means.” This quote from protagonist Briony Larkin sums up the entire book for me. Chime isn’t straight forward and simple. Events, motives and memories in the story are hidden. Even occurrences that are right out in the open seem veiled and at times I felt like I was working my way through the swamp that is so prevalent in this story.

The writing trumps anything I’ve read in a very long time. It is poetic without being pretentious. It breaks rules and colors outside the lines. It uses silly phrases and makes them important and relevant. It doesn’t follow the cookie cutter molds of so many books. It’s almost like a children’s book utilizing nonsense and at times rhyme, jokes and pieces of dreams. Yet, it is never childish. And most important, it leads you through the story. It sort of reminds me of Tim Burton and Alice in Wonderland. Dark yet playful. Dreamy yet dangerous.

Chime is like a puzzle and I felt like I was sorting it all out while reading. I wasn’t sure if what I was reading was real and not everything made sense to me, but that certainly doesn’t mean I disliked it. I guess I don’t have to have every sentence and idea explained to me in order to understand the gist of what is going on. Although there were a few things I would have liked to have clarified. As Rose would say, “I would prefer it.” It is at the end when the puzzle comes together and I finally saw the entire picture that I realize how truly clever the author is.

There were times in the middle where I felt a bit impatient but that is my only complaint. By the last several chapters I found myself staying up very late to finish it.

I feel the characters are charming and easy to believe. Briony is relatable because of her declarations of her wickedness, of her impatience with her sister and her feelings for Eldric, her love interest. Her twin sister Rose, although at times exasperating is sweet and perhaps understands more than others give her credit for. Eldric is a brave and steadfast hero and even the ancillary characters like her father and the magical creatures that surround her play an important role.

Still not convinced?  Angie at Vampires and Tofu wrote an excellent review on Chime that made me grab it.  Check it out HERE.


Smash Attack Ash said...

Wow, Pam. Your review is the most descriptive I've read. I definitely need to read this, especially b/c of your "It sort of reminds me of Tim Burton and Alice in Wonderland. Dark yet playful. Dreamy yet dangerous" comment!

Bookish Brunette said...

This is why I love book bloggers! I read a review of Chime not too long ago that totally ripped the writing up and down and disliked it greatly! I soooo want to read this!!!

Logan E. Turner said...

I'm kicking myself right now. I was thisclose to picking up this book the other day and now I wish I had!

Anonymous said...

Chime is one of my favorite books this year. You described the writing well with the Tim Burton/Alice in Wonderland comparison. It's such a visual book. Rose is such a funny character.
What a special and charming book!

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

Seriously, I thought Chime was another pretty-covered paranormal teen read that would be easy to skip over. Now I am completely sold on it! Awesome, awesome review!!!

Savannah said...

I have seen this book around but never really like it. I loved you review! And I like books that are like Alice in wonderland. For some reason, crazy books do it for me. Thanks for the review!

Maria (Serpentine Library) said...

I have to admit to reading about 50 pages of Chime and then putting down. But after reading your review, I feel like it needs another chance.

Midnyte Reader said...

Hey, thanks everyone for the really kind comments. I don't think it's a book that appeals to everyone and I didn't find it an "easy, light" read. I would really love to read any of your reviews if you happen to read this.

Liz said...

I haven't read this one, but you've persuaded me to pick it up. Thanks for the review!

Orchid said...

Your review has definitely piqued my interest in Chime. I've seen it in store, but haven't really heard much about it, though now I really want to read it. :)

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