Review: Tithe by Holly Black (Modern Faerie Tales #1)


Tithe by Holly Black // VBC ReviewTithe (Modern Faerie Tales #1)
Holly Black
Published:  Oct. 1, 2002 (Margaret K. McElderry)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Jannelle

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Kaye has lived her entire life traveling from city to city, based on the whim of her mother and her singular focus on her music career. After an unfortunate incident, Kaye and her mother are forced to take a somewhat forced vacation to visit Kaye’s grandmother. While she hasn’t been back there in years, there are two sets of friends she has waiting for her—the group that hangs out with her friend, Janet, and the faeries.

What Kaye wasn’t expecting when she went back to her childhood home was that these faeries are in fact, real, and that they would need her help to sort out some faerie politics which end up with Kaye in the middle of an all too real power struggle between the Seelie and Unseelie faerie courts.

Kaye wasn’t exactly brought up under the best circumstances and spends most of her free time at bars/clubs where her mother’s band is performing. This means that she’s smoking, drinking, cursing and partaking in other things that one normally would not like to associate with a sixteen year old.

Roiben, our hero and Kaye’s love interest, is also an apparent contrast to Kaye’s shady upbringing. They are complete opposites and yet the chemistry is there between them. Nothing feels forced or strained, and I liked that nothing was pushed to happen between the two of them, romantically speaking. Anything that did occur felt natural and inevitable.

I sincerely loved Tithe. Holly Black did a wonderful job at providing a dark and edgy contrast to a world usually associated with whimsical and fantastical creatures. These aren’t the type of faeries you find in Disney movies and Kaye’s life isn’t ideal, either. Our heroine is full of flaws and is in the process of trying to decipher who she is while dealing with life-altering decisions that will not just affect her but an entire world, as well. I find that with most YA novels, the female protagonists are full of so much angst that it interferes with the reading. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. Kaye is independent and though at times, quirky, not apologetic about it and pretty sure of herself while still aware of her imperfections. While the underage drinking and whatnot may not seem appropriate for some readers, it didn’t bother me or feel in any way unnecessary.

The plot was pretty fast-paced, but not overwhelming; I liked that there was constant movement. Anything pertaining to world building or plot and character development was briefly (but thoroughly) touched upon and easily understood. Honestly, Tithe was an easy read. If you’re into Faerie tales and are looking for one with a deviant twist, Tithe is the book for you.

Sexual content: kissing

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