April 5, 2016
Tithe by Holly Black
by Holly Black
Margaret K. McElderry Book
Sixteen year-old Kay is used to living a semi-nomadic life. After all, Mom is a musician and when things with a band, or a boyfriend, go South, it can mean hitting the road. Still, no boyfriend has ever pulled a knife on her Mom before but that’s what happens after the gig. The problem is that this time Kay and her mother have nowhere to go. They end up leaving New York City for New Jersey to stay with Kay’s grandmother.
They lived her when Kay was a child and she’s eager to return to the shore and the ocean and the wind and the trees. It is all just too perfect except that it no longer fits.
Her bedroom is pink and frilly and cute. In fact, it is perfect for the 8 year-old girl she was but much less so for the teen she is. Her best friend Janet begs her not to act to weird and Kay tries. She really and truly does. But sometimes when she loses herself in her thoughts things happen — like the evening she bewitches a defunct merry-go-round horse to come to life and enchants Janet’s boy friend who suddenly wants her and no one else.
At first Kay blames the attraction on her exotic looks — blonde and Asian. But then she meets Roiben, a beautiful warrior shot by an arrow. It is clear he isn’t human but can he truly be an elf like he claims? And that’s when Kay’s world begins to unravel and she finds herself underground in the beautiful, wicked world of the faery court. Slowly Kay unravels who, and what, she really is. The reality that she uncovers reveals a plot long in the making, a plot designed to bring a kingdom tumbling down.
If I’m not mistaken, this is one of Black’s earlier novels. In it, readers will find a delicious blend and fantasy and reality, dark and decadent. The voices of her teen characters are unflinchingly real even when an adult reader wishes they would chill . . . just a little. Hint: Beware listening to this as an audiobook without earphones, especially the first 1/3 of the book. Yes, it was just my husband who overheard but still.
In this “Modern Faerie Tale,” Black blends fantasy and mystery and romance for an enticing read for your teen fantasy fan.