Monday, April 22, 2013

Labyrinth on Crack

Holly Black

Language, Violence
Tithe was the first book by Holly Black that I ever read. She hooked me early. She just has a knack for creating characters and settings that are gritty and real. And so, several years after reading it for the first time, I decided to pick up Tithe again. That's kind of a big deal for me. I simply don't re-read books. But this one is worth it. As are the two companion novels, Valiant and Ironside, the Curse Workers trilogy, and anything else Holly Black has ever written.

As the subtitle suggests, Tithe is "a modern fairy tale". Set in a coastal New Jersey town, the story follows Kaye Fierch, a teenager who lives a transient life with her mother, a talented but largely unsuccessful singer. When her mother's boyfriend suddenly turns violent, Kaye and her mother must move back to New Jersey to live with Kaye's grandmother.

Kaye's childhood is abnormal, to say the least. But she has secrets far stranger than being the teenage dropout daughter of a wanna be chick rock star. Kaye sees things. Strange things. And while many children have invisible friends only they can see, Kaye's friends aren't imaginary. You could see them too, if they wanted you to. They don't generally want to be seen, at least not as they really are. So Kaye is a bit of an anomaly. And not just because she can see things others can't. She can also do things others can't. Or at least strange things happen around her.