Sunday, 8 January 2012

Chime - Franny Billingsley

Chime - Franny Billingsley
Grade: YA
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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. (Description from Goodreads)

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I started 'Chime' not knowing much about it, except that one of my closest friends adored it and that there was something to do with witches. Turns out they're not the type of witches I'm used to (ie. casting spells and circles, magic wands etc.) But I really enjoyed reading something new and unfamiliar to me. It was a really good book.

I love the setting of the book.'Chime' is told in the town of Swampsea, in the second decade of the twentieth century. Electric lights, train lines and motorcars are new to the town folk, who still rely on horses and candles for the most part. But the town is wary of the swamp nearby, as it is overrun by the Old Ones; a race of dangerous, magic beings controlled by witches and seen only by those with the Second Sight. Consequently, witches are not never popular in Swampsea, if they're caught, they're hanged.

Briony is a wicked girl; so she's been told, so she believes. When bad things happen to good people, it's usually Briony's fault; because she is a witch. It took me a while to get used to the tone of the narration. Briony is very pessimistic about her life, due to the fact that she hates herself because of all the "wicked" things she's done as a witch. You start to recognise Briony's way of thinking and action and you manage to get into the rhythm of things, but it takes a little while. I love seeing Briony evolve. How she acts takes a dramatic turn, mostly because of the arrival of Eldric, the mysterious fidgeting London bad-boy.

I am a big fan of romance, especially in YA books, I like to swoon at the amazing guys. Eldric fint into this category, but unfortunately (for me) there isn't nearly enough romance. While the mystery of witchcraft and the need to overcome Briony's hate of herself take centre stage - and I loved that part of it - I was hoping for a few more moments between Briony and Eldric. That being said, I loved the little bits and pieces we do get, they definitely left me swooning.

I'm sad this is a stand-alone book, because I was really enjoying Briony's world; but at the same time I wouldn't want the story dragged out more than necessary. It had a perfect ending.

4.5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)


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