Author: Frannie Billingsley
Publish Date: March 17, 2011 by Dial
Pages: 361, hardcover
Reviewed by: ISALYS
Reason for reading: Read ARC provided by publisher for review purposes.
This may be one of the most challenging reviews I've ever had the joy of writing simply because this book is so wonderfully unique and cleverly written that it's nearly impossible to put into words why it's so unique and clever. It's one of those "you have to just trust me and read it for yourself" books to truly understand the complexity of this story.
Intro to Chime:
"I've confessed to everything and I'd like to be hanged. Now, if you please."
If that doesn't completely capture your attention, I don't know what will.
Chime is the story of a wicked girl named Briony who does wicked things, who loves no one and feels no emotion. She is a witch you see, an Old One which is a secret that she's kept all her life. No one must know for if they find out, she will be hanged. Briony has also taken responsibility to care for her twin sister, Rose, who has the qualities of an autistic learner. I can, in all honesty, say that these are two of the most brilliantly written characters that I've ever read.
Briony is nothing if not unabashedly honest. She has such a strong and unintentionally witty voice. Her internal conversations, in which she refers to herself in the third person were fascinating. She was always reminding herself that she was not "allowed" to feel normal things because she was not a normal girl. Rose, her twin, was also a favorite character of mine. It was so interesting to see an author write about a character with a learning disability and still make her lively, playful, innocent, and interesting. Like her sister, she was too honest and she took everything literally which made for some very funny conversations between the sisters. The third most interesting character in the mix was Elric, Briony's eventual love interest. She referred to him as the boy-man which was perfect for him. He was adult and worldly enough to be part-man, but mischievous enough to be part-boy.
The setting of the book was like a character in itself. The swampsea was a place of mystery and magic where witches go to do "witchy" things. In the swamp, you will meet the Old Ones and creatures capable of manipulating the elements. One would have to be VERY careful when traversing the swamp because if not, it will gobble you up.
This is not a light read. You cannot just flit through this book. You need to sit down and spend time with it. Let your mind sift through and absorb all the deliciously creepy details.
I don't know if I'm doing this book justice with this review, but the best way for me to describe this book is by saying it's like one of those 1,000-piece puzzles. It's chock full of interesting bits that don't make much sense at first, but once you finish, you have a beautifully crafted masterpiece that was worth the time it took to put it all together.
This was my first Franny Billingsley novel but it won't be my last now that I know what a genius she is! I am Isalys and I am a new Franny Fangirl !
Kissing. References to sex. Attempted sexual assault.