Author: Franny Billingsley
Series: Stand Alone
Published: March 17th, 2010 by Dial
Source: Book It Forward Tours
Description: Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment. Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.
I Give This ...
If there's a type a book I would say there isn't a lot of of, I would have to say young adult historical paranormal. I know that sounds strange, but it's a mix of genre's that I love. It can be done, there's just not a lot of it. I think Chime falls into this category nicely.
I'll admit that within the first 100 pages I wasn't hooked. It's written in that old English style (it reminds me of an old book of English fairy tales that I have) and uses terms like widdershins. The Old Ones described in the summary are many, and not many clues are given to who/what they are. It was a little overwhelming. I also had a hard time with Briony's voice. Her character was extremely guarded. She keeps as many secrets from the reader as she does everyone else in the village.
But, there are two secondary characters that I was really draw too. They are what kept me reading. I loved Rose, who is Briony's identical twin sister. She has these idiosyncrasies that really fascinated me. She seemed like the type of person who saw way more than people gave her credit for. Since she was "slow", people tended to disregard her. Plus, I was really curious as to why Briony felt that Rose was this way because of something she did.
The second character I love was Eldric. From the moment he steps into the story I was captured by him. He treats Briony as his equal and goes out of his way to engage her in conversation, etc. I loved the way he interacted with Rose. It was like a second nature to him, but didn't feel forced. He made me a little angry in the middle of the story, but I loved the way his actions were explained.
The mystery surrounding the story was intense. I never saw it coming. Although, I long expected that Briony's views on what she was were false, and the truth was much more complex. I ended up really loving the story. It was completely new and refreshing. The relationships were different and added a realness to the story. I will pick up whatever the author has to offer next!