Wednesday, 2 May 2012

REVIEW: Tithe: A Modern Faerietale

Tithe is written by Holly Black.

Sixteen year old Kaye is used to living life on the move with her musician mother and she likes it that way. However, when something strange comes over her mother's boyfriend and he tries to kill her, Kaye and hey mother are forced to move back home with Kaye's grandmother. Here, Kaye discovers a beautiful white-haired young man bleeding to death and saves his life. She also discovers that the imaginary faerie friends of her childhood may not be so imaginary, throwing herself into a world that she may already be more acquainted with than she believes.

The worldbuilding in this book is superb. Wonderful minute details are provided to the reader all of the time, but it doesn't feel over described or purple-prosey. More on that in the writing section though. Black's take on the faerie world is an interesting one. It has a lot of the standard elements - Seelie and Unseelie courts, the importance of true names, glamour, et cetera - so if you're already a fan of faerie's you won't be wondering where all that jazz is. The world of the fae is woven in very well with the human world that Kaye already knows.

The storyline, without spoiling too much, is a very modified retelling of the Scottish folk tale of Tam Lin, with extra aspects thrown in for added funsies. It's well done!

In short, the characters are awesomely written. They seem like real people, which is a factor sadly missing from many, many teen and young adult books these days. They aren't caricatures of stupid, tired stereotypes. They have depth and it's refreshing.

Kaye's a pretty great protagonist. I can tell because I don't get the all-consuming urge to slap her over the back of the ear. It's a good test. 

The world of Tithe is vividly described and it really draws the reader in. No detail feels like it's just there for the sake of adding more words, it's all interesting. Black writes very emotively, too - the visceral horror of the earliest scenes inside the Unseelie Court had me cringing in discomfort in the middle of class as I read them, and on the opposite end of the emotive spectrum, it made me laugh out loud a few times.  

Not much else to say here, except that I wish more teen fiction was written this well. I look forward to getting my hands on Ironside.  


  1. mmm, I quite liked this series. :D

    Ironside is the middle book yeah? With different characters??? I think Ironside wa sthe one I liked best. :)

    1. Yeah, from what I've read, it seems like it had different characters. Kind of like how the second Wicked Lovely book did the same thing? I don't know yet though, haha. I'm glad you liked it too! It was really good omg.


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