Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review - Chime by Franny Billingsley

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Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Hardcover (361 pages)
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date:  March 17th 2011
Rating: 5/5
Source: Library Loan
Get it at: Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

What I think:

Chime was definitely the most unique book I have read in a while. Although the pacing for a good portion of the story is quite slow, the originality was definitely there. Each sentence and chapters were carefully thought of and crafted which made everything flow really well. However, there are times that I wish I can love the story a bit more. Despite that, the writing was certainly of very high caliber which I enjoyed. The writing style in this book is different than any of the young adult books that I have read so far. It is clever, odd at times, cheeky and quirky. It is also writing in old English which I find mysterious and magical.

The pacing was really slow and sluggish in the beginning because there was so much going on at the same time. Thus, it was hard to understand some events. As I read more, I began to understand more about Briony and all her misfortunes. It did take some times to adjust to the writing style. It was difficult to understand the direction of Chime in the beginning because the time frames tend to switch back and forth within the chapters. I do not recommend this book for those who are into fast pacing story with lots of action scenes. The slow pacing of the book was written so the audience can savour every single moment of the book.

Although, Briony is not an optimistic character, she is still pretty lovable. I love her complexity and it is not easy to find characters with such complex personalities in today’s popular young adult novels. I also enjoy the secondary characters, such as Briony’s sister, Rosy and Briony’s “love interest”, Eldric. Rosy is what everyone call a “forever a child” despite her age. She also reminds us all that it is perfectly fine to be immature once in a while (well not in her case because of her situation…). I also like character development of Eldric where he started as Briony’s friend and slowly become something more. You don’t see that kind of blossoming relationship in today’s young adult literature where the major love declarations happen in the beginning of the novel or in the middle. I felt like the relationship between Eldric and Briony was not out of infatuation or lust but something pure. In Chime, Franny Billingsley made the whole love declaration towards the end of the story which makes the ending much more spectacular.

What I love about this book is how the author made the reading experience similar to solving a jig-saw puzzle. Hints were carefully spread throughout the book to let the reader figure out and not directly telling the audience what is doing on. This creative writing style made the plot not as predictable as one would think.

Overall, Chime was brilliant story and is not a fast pace book (so for those speed readers out there, this might not be your cup of tea). To be honest, I did not like the book at first because Chime was so much different than any book that I have read during the past week and I did not understand a lot of things. However, I was very glad that I read it and would read it again at the end of summer. I recommend people to borrow the book from the library before purchasing your own copy because the story is not everyone’s cup of tea. I honestly love Franny Billingsley's writing more than I love the story. The words are simply flawless.


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Just bought the book in Paperback. The new cover is still amazingly beautiful!

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