Friday, December 2, 2011

Chime by Franny Billingsley

genre: young adult

Briony is guilty and she knows it.  Guilty of so many wicked things that she knows being hung is the only thing left for her.  Never mind the fact that beyond all those wicked things she did is this one horrible truth: she's a witch.  And witches get hung.  There is nothing else for them.

This turn-of-the-century riverside fantasy-reality that Briony lives in is a place rife with dangers - Old Ones whose power can create any sort of trouble, swamp creatures ready to lure unprotected humans into their depths.  She is able to survive her guilt-life under a mask of sarcasm, false obedience and self-hatred but it isn't a happy life.  Without her sister Rose to care for,  whose addled thoughts and behaviors require constant vigilance,  there really wouldn't be anything worth living for.

At least not until Eldric arrives.

Eldric of the laughter and wild imaginings, Eldric who hums with energy and life and is as guilt-free as a man-boy could be.  Eldric who slowly allows Briony to begin unearthing her past from under her self-loathing and, without even trying, helps her open her eyes beyond her own self enough to see how much more mysterious her witch-life really has been.

I loved it.  Loved it loved it loved it.  The writing is astonishing.  Blissful.  I lapped it up, Briony's snarky and yet painful internal monologue and Eldric's charm and way with words.  The words!  Who know there could be so many made-up words to describe the stench and slop of a swamp?    As much as I loved everything about this story - the mystery, the fantasy, Rose's garbled sentences and how instead of wanting something she "preferred" it, I think I loved Eldric the most.  By half way through the book I had a major crush on that pretend person and even though I knew how it would end, I didn't even care because I was so pleased with the ride to get there.

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bermudaonion said...

I figured this was good since it was nominated for the National Book Award, but I'm a little hesitant to read it since it's fantasy. I'll have to think about it.

Melissa said...

I'm so glad you loved it. I think I liked Eldric best, too. But what really made the book wonderful for me was the absolutely perfect ending. It doesn't get better than that.

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