Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

 I have a soft spot for witches.

I have always been fascinated with witch stories. Simply spying the word in a book blurb can make me sit up and take notice, (oddly enough, the word Werewolf usually makes me stop reading a blurb with disgust - an instinct that I should have listened to when I picked up Shiver. Damn you Stiefvater! Also, damn you for having a name that I have to check for spelling every time I want to curse you. But, I digress).

Briony is a witch. At least, she tells you she is a witch. However, she doesn't actually DO anything witchy. At the beginning, this brings out minor annoyance in me, prompting me to tell Briony "Come on, talk to the old ones, write their stories, do a spell - it's not so bad, you'll like it!". About halfway through the book, my irritation gives way to anger at how much of my time this book is wasting and my pleas get a little more dark: "Oh, you don't like that chick? Let's kill her!" and get more and more desperate "Come on, Just kill her! Maim her? Give her Boils? .... Hives? ... One, little, pimple?"

The writing itself is strange. Just when I think I have a handle on what is going on, Billingsley throws out something that leaves me flicking pages trying to figure out what I missed. She goes off on random tangents that have nothing to do with the storyline and only serve to add to my annoyance (see above). The plot points that are supposed to stun and shock me only leave me shaking my head and asking "You're just figuring this out NOW??? Where were you 100 pages ago?!"

The only character that I enjoyed was Rose, and there was far to little of her. Briony's self hatred made me feel like I was reading a 13 year old's emo poetry and Eldric's constant fidgeting was more irritating than endearing.

The word that came to mind throughout this entire book was Tedious. I found myself forcing time to read it when I would much rather be doing something more enjoyable like, oh I don't know, taking a bath in a tub full of razor blades.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

Age: 15 and Up- if the reader was patient and liked quirky books
Gender: Girls
Sex: There is an ALMOST sex scene but it is not graphic.  There is also talk of the witches being naked.
Violence: Attacks by magical creatures resulting in cuts, bruises, broken bones and a lost limb
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Abuse: Discussion of characters using arsenic recreationally

This review can also be found on Goodreads


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