Chime by Fanny Billingsly


Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , | Posted on 1:45 PM

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Briony Larkin is a witch, and she'd prefer to be hanged now, if you please.

She'd rather not relive her crimes in the retelling; just believe that everything is her fault. Yes, Stepmother's injury and the stirrings in the swamp, Mucky Face attacking the parsonage and Rose being...well, Rose.

This is a twisty tale best enjoyed with little warning, so here are some of the players:
Briony Larkin, witch
Rose Larkin, twin sister
Father, the Parson
Stepmother (deceased)
Eldric, boy-man who ruins everything

The two things I loved most about this book:
1) Briony's voice
2) Briony and Eldric

The narrative voice is like nothing I've seen before; this fairytale, simple rhyme-style that takes joy in twisting words and imagery around into something far more complex. This is a book I would love to hear aloud, preferably in the evenings during a cold autumn.

Briony shines darkly in her cleverness and self-loathing, and part of the delight of this story is following the twisted paths her mind takes in her observations of herself and others. It's fascinating to see how such a keen observer can be so blind in some areas, and even if you figure things out before Briony you'll want to see how she reacts to it all.

And then there's her relationship with Eldric, which wins for Most Favorite Couple this year. There is banter! There is boxing! There is a Bad Boy's Club (in Latin)! It's beautiful to see how these two interact and by the end of it I defy you not to love them both.

You may have to invest in this one - it could take some time to get into the pace of this strange, beautiful book, but it's worth it.

Jump in! Well, don't jump, actually, because there are the Old Ones in the Swamp and the Dead Hand and you'll probably be swallowed up with or without a Bible ball...

Red Glove by Holly Black


Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , , | Posted on 5:38 PM

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Warning: Spoilers for White Cat!

So you may remember my raving about Holly Black's White Cat earlier on, and you can rest assured: Red Glove does not disappoint. Cassel is still his charmingly criminal self, but now he's in an even tighter spot, dealing with the fallout from the first book and trying to negotiate a treacherous relationship with Lila. Because if you can't trust yourself with the one you love, who can you trust?

But even more than Cassel's personal turmoil, I loved the expansion of the Workers' world; the politics, the controversy, the relentless chipping away of human rights in the name of 'safety'... Black does a great job of putting our heroes in the headlights of history, showing how momentous changes tend to drown the individuals who get caught up in the flood - and how these movements invade everyday life no matter how neutral you might want to stay (*cough*Cassel*cough*).

We also get to see more of Sam and Daneca, and not just as members of the Scooby Gang, which is awesome. Plus, there's Lila. Oh, you could fill a whole review with Lila, not to mention her seriously twisted relationship with Cassel.

And if I thought Black couldn't top the tension of the first book, I was wrong: we've got a dead family member, the feds, and mobsters galore, and everybody (alive) seems to want a piece of our reluctant con man. I was caught up all the way to the end - this was a compulsive read, and of course it leaves you wanting more. But not in a bitter way.

So bring it, Holly Black. I have every faith in you and this excellent series.
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