Amanda's Reviews > Tithe

Tithe by Holly Black
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May 22, 12

bookshelves: not-my-cuppa-tea, romance, fantasy, young-adult, craptastic, contemporary-fantasy
Read on August 30, 2011

Ugh. I don't know where to start with this one so I'm gonna jump right in. I didn't like it. It was all just a raging bunch of WTF?! for me. I mean, it was random. My brain hurts so this isn't going to be a very coherent review.

Before I go to my detailed ravings, it's best if I gave a brief overview of what this book was about. It's the story of Kaye, a changeling, who was put under a glamour to hide her true green-skinned self and lives with her rockstar wannabe "mother", Ellen. Her life ultimately changes when her mother was almost murdered in a pathetic, lame excuse of an attempted stabbing, and having nowhere else to go, they return to their home town.
Here, Kaye suddenly finds herself reunited with her childhood "imaginary" friends, who needs her to help them plot against the unseelie court and win the freedom of the faeries.

Narrative
It was painful. It's like listening to a child with ADHD jumping from one thing to the next. Everything seemed so rushed that you don't get a single connection to the story.

First example of it popped up right there in the freaking prologue.
Frank, Stepping Razor's drummer, grabbed Lloyd's arm. Lloyd had just enough time to punch Frank in the face before other patrons tackled him and somebody called the police.
By the time the cops got there, Lloyd couldn't remember anything. He was mad as hell, though, cursing Ellen at the top of his lungs. The police drove Kaye and her mother to Lloyd's apartment and waited while Kaye packed their clothes and stuff into plastic garbage bags. Ellen was on the phone, trying to find a place for them to crash.
"Honey," Ellen said finally, "we're going to have to go to Grandma's."


So a bit of background info, that's the scene where Lloyd, the dude Kaye's mum is dating, the dude they live with -- tried to kill Kaye's mum. And that is literally the single paragraph where it is mentioned.
I don't know about you, but if my boyfriend suddenly lost his marbles and tried to kill me, I'd be in a state of hysteria. I'd be wondering what the flying fook was that all about?!? I'd be dedicating at least an extra paragraph or two to explore the psychological damage that's done me, and probably wrap things up a little smoothly.
But nope; not this. Apparently they're happy with "We're going to have to go to grandma's."
and the next scene, they're living with Nana and Kaye's off to some rave like some whacko never tried to gut her mama. http://www.smileycodes.info Like wtf is wrong with you people?!

And this sort of thing continues persistently throughout the rest of the book. I guess what I'm trying to say is the narrative came out as choppy and rushed; it was emotionally detached from the readers, like an exposition of events. This was happening, and then this, this followed by a whopping amount of this.

Characters
And this is the second reason why I simply couldn't like Tithe. I just couldn't relate - or even respect - any of them.

I'm sorry, Black, was I supposed to root for Kaye and her friends? Was I supposed to care (view spoiler)??

So here's the thing. Black was trying to make it seem like Grandma was the annoying, self-righteous, imposing old woman butting into her daughter & grand-daughter's business; and we were supposed to hate her. For shame, Granny, you should know that school is for wussies and you don't need an education for a decent future. Look at your own daughter Ellen! You tried to bring her up with your strict rules and educayshen but she turned out some groupie whore/rockstar wannabe ... better let HER make the decisions for Kaye; she is, after all, her mother. And mother knows best, right? Right??

Also, the depiction of these ... urban (?) teens really frustrated me. It seems that all they do is get stoned, drink, rave, oh and shoplift. And yes I am aware that some people do do this nonstop and burn their pretty little brain cells away, but if you want to make characters with these traits and no redeeming qualities whatsoever, please don't expect me to care about them.

Oh and what's with the lack of parental figures in YA? Alright, in this case, what's with the lack of *significant* parental figure? It's like the author wrote Ellen that way just so she conveniently butts out of her daughter's business and doesn't get in the way of her adventure.

Kaye shook her head. It was kind of stupid to think that her mother would just give up on going back to the city, but she couldn't help hoping. "Tell Grandma I won't be home late."
"You come home when you want. I'm your mother."


http://www.smileycodes.info ....yes, yes you are.

So she comes home at like, three in the morning and all's dandy at breakfast the next day. Man am I glad *my* parents weren't that lenient and actually cared if I came home raped or not.

((sidenote)) I don't understand why Kaye was made half-Japanese? Is this somehow relevant in the next installments? --cuz it dang well wasn't in this one! --or is it just some odd otaku homage?[image error]


Romance
This is the problem with most YAs. I just don't see how these two characters could fall for each other - especially in such short amount of time. Kaye saw Roiben once and fell instantaneously in love with his ... hair? I have no idea. By the way, she met him, bleeding in the woods and her first sentence was "You're a fairie, aren't you?"

...and what if I am?

...and what if I am?

I also don't know what Roiben sees in Kaye. Apparently she's "Kind, lovely and terribly, terribly brave." I'm not sure about the kind part, just read over the times she lets her best friend's boyfriend feel her up (twice!), get caught, and just run away (both times!) without bothering to see if her "bff" was fine or not.[image error]

I'm going to go now because everything's a jumble in my head and I have no idea how to put it in a coherent structure. Final word is, I will not be reading the sequels.



***
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Amanda Why does it matter if she was made half Japanese? It was just part of her lineage. Like how some people are half Italian or half Irish. It's just how the author wanted her to be made. It's as ordinary as all of the other people with more than one race in their veins.


message 2: by Amanda (last edited Jun 24, 2013 06:37PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amanda Because that fact was thrown out there but was not relevant to the story at all (ie. no part of her culture was remotely Japanese, there was no further mention of any paternal figure to explain her Japanese heritage, etc etc). So why mention her being half Japanese at all?

In other words I simply don't "get" why the author would make a character half anything, and not expound anything on it. "Just for the sake of it" is lazy and irrelevant to the plot.
Unless, of course, her looking half Japanese was somehow only a product of the glamour on her. Which still doesn't even explain WHY she chose the word "Japanese" to describe how she looked. Erm, newsflash to the author, not all Japanese people look the same way.


Amanda They did talk about her mother being a groupie for some band, and her father was apparently Asian and was in that band. And the reason why her being Japanese was brought up was because in the book someone asked her what flavor of Asian she was. And we have to remember that Kaye isn't actually Japanese, but the child she took the place of is Japanese. And perhaps the author just wanted to have a character who was half-Japanese or liked Japanese culture or something. It seems strange, but, eh. There are reasons mentioned as to why she's half Japanese.


message 4: by Skedatt (new)

Skedatt You pretty much summed up how I feel about the book. So much better that I want to take the time to.


Nicole Wonka Exactly how I feel. Reading it was painful. So..so painful.


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