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Tithe by Holly Black

#43 of 200

Original Language: English
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Country: USA
Publication Date: 2002
ISBN: 0689849249
Page Count: 320
Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries! Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.
From the author of the popular children's series The Spiderwick Chronicals comes a new adventure aimed at older readers. Tithe is the first of Holly Blacks Modern Faerie Tale series and starts off with a bang. The battle between Seelie and Unseelie enters modern New Jersey, when Kaye discovers long hidden truths about her past. When old friends ask Kaye for help, she opens up the mortal world to the influences of Faerie.

Tithe is an easily read young adult novel with an easily recognised formula. I keep seeing positive, and raving reviews, but for me, Tithe just didn't cut it. As a character Kaye was too convenient, her drunken absentee musician Mother and her penchant for hanging around the nastier side of town were too written. When I read a book, I want the character to flow off the pages and stand alone from the story. Kaye failed to do that, she was written for Tithe and is a pale character without its adventures.

The basic plotline for Tithe was an intriguing one, and I have rarely seen anything that discusses the solitary Fey. The idea of a sacrifice to control them sparks interesting ideas, but the way it unrolls in Tithe is too rushed and it leaves too many questions unanswered. Without giving away the entire story, who put the glamour on Kaye? Why is the sacrificed required to be a human? Are all solitary fey as malicious as they are made out to be?

Even the romance, and yet another love triangle, is forced. As a romantic interest Roiben is bland, boring and predictable. The sexy bad boy who falls for the vulnerable and uninitiated girl, and the requisite second guy who never had a shot but is present to cause tension in the heroine's everyday life. Everything seemed too formulaic for a young adult novel, and I'm sick of reading the same thing over and over again.

Considering there are two further Modern Fairie Tale books, it is possible the answers lie in future adventures. Unfortunately I was so unimpressed by Tithe that it will be some time before I pick up another Holly Black book. I think my disinterest comes, in part, from having read so many well written, easily flowing and imaginative novels based around the Fairie of late. In comparison to the Iron Witch, Wondrous Strange and even Eyes Like Stars, the Fey of Tithe were shallow imitations. My expectations were too high and Tithe failed to achieve them.

I intend to one day reread Tithe and perhaps time and distance will soften my feelings towards it. For now, however, Tithe has not impressed me.
Raiding Bookshelves Rating
Judging by the Cover: This was my preferred cover for Tithe. The wings are very symbolic of Kaye's adventure and the first real sign that she isn't imagining everything that happened to her.

A Note from Raiding Bookshelves: This is the first really negative review that I've written. My reviews of the Need series weren't very positive either, but even then I felt a little guilty posting it. However, my policy for reviews is to say what I think. If I were talking to a friend about Tithe I would have said the exact same thing, and that is the honesty I want to bring to Raiding Bookshelves. If someone has a problem with my review please contact me, and I will deal with it accordingly.
Thank you.
Alex.

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