Emma Thompson's Reviews > Tithe

Tithe by Holly Black
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Nov 30, 11

Read in May, 2009

Tithe does what it says on the tin, a modern fairytale for young adults. It is, however, quite deliciously dark. Kaye is an outcast due to her odd looks, having dropped out of school at 14 and her insistence that as a kid she used to play with faries. Kaye lives a lifestyle this it would be very easy to play of as glamarous, she lives with her mother who's in a band, doesn't go to school etc. but it all feels very real and believable. Kaye and her mother are forced to move back to their home town, where Kaye finds herself embroiled in the world of the faries, only they aren't quite so nice as she remembers them.

Part of my adoration for this book is that I simply wish I'd writen it. I adore modern fairy tale, the characters are interesting and believable as modern teenagers (more likely to go out and get pissed then anything else) and the entire novel felt gritty and real. Not to mention it won my heart with a few anime geek jokes and the great coming out from the male sidekick, both when he comes out to Kaye by asking her if she knows what Shounen ai (boy love) is then giving her some manga to illustate and how he came out to his mom by comparing his feeling to the special love between Kirk and Spock (I don't have the book in front of me now so sadly can't look up the exact quote).

The basic plot sounds very teenage fantasy, girl meets fairy night, discovered she is fairy, magical adventure, budding romance. However, throughout the story it's grounded by Kaye's very non-fairytale lifestyle and the fact that the fairies themselves are far from wholesome which gives this book a distinct edge that I loved.
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