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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 10 February 2004
I think the most wonderful thing about this book is the picture that Holly Black paints in your mind's eye. It's so easy to see the faries and their queens, their courts and the magic that Kaye comes into contact with, but it is also easy to see the rotting seaside town, the old house of Kaye's grandmother, and everything about the teenagers that make up this novel. The teens are perfectly portrayed; their speech, their mannerisms, their dress sense, references to sex and eating disorders, and girly fall-outs over guys. There are raves and parties, not least at the beginning with Kaye's rockstar mother. And then, through all the beauty and realism of the decaying world around Kaye, we are dragged into the world of the faries...but, again, for all it's beauty, it's just another grim world.
It's a fantastic read that works so well, and is a marvellous read.
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on 4 October 2002
I finished reading Tithe at 12:07 a.m. and I loved it. Tithe was one of those books that I just couldn't put down. I started reading at about 6p.m. on Wednesday and didn't stop until 2:30 a.m. and yesterday I took the book everywhere with me so that I could take every available opportunity to read.
Tithe is so beautifully written and fantastically vivid. The story flows so smoothly, there was never a dull moment. I often find with books that towards the middle I get a little bored and start reading something else for a while, this didn't happen with Tithe.
Just to illustrate how much I enjoyed the book, I'm a BIG Star Wars fan. I have read every Star Wars book, which has been published since 1996, as soon as I could get my hands on a copy. Normally all other books get put on hold for Star Wars. The new Star Wars book arrived in the same package as Tithe. I haven't read a single page of the Star Wars book yet; I was far too engrossed in Tithe.
The only problem I have with Tithe is that I didn't really want it to end. I want to know more. I want to know what happens to Kaye and Roiben. I want to know more about Kaye's childhood with Spike, Lutie and Gristle (especially Gristle). I hope that the story of Kaye and Roiben will continue.
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on 14 January 2015
I recently read a short story by Holly Black that blew me away, so I was really looking forward to reading one of her full length books. I enjoyed this and read through it quickly, but I was a bit underwhelmed.

There are two main things that separate this story of a girl dragged into an ancient conflict between two warring fairy courts from the average teen paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

First, the realistic bits and the female lead are very gritty - there's trailer parks and shoplifting and smoking and swearing. Our heroine is a high school dropout. From what I've seen in reviews, lots of readers are either offended by this or love its edginess. I was fairly ambivalent, but I appreciated the fact that the author had gone for a slightly unusual setting and characters.

Second, in a similar vein, the world of Faerie is incredibly dark (particularly for a YA book though even for an adult book) with all sorts of tortures and cruelties and depravities. I thought this bit was well done, with a real sense of both magic and danger created.

Beyond that though, the book felt a bit "same old same old" with a human girl who turns out to be special and a dark-but-sexy non-human love interest. Don't get me wrong, I love that sort of plot, and I still think authors can do new and interesting things with it, but here, there was nothing that really captured my imagination. For me, this type of book stands or fails on the strength of the love interest, and though Roiben-the-hot-Faerie had an interesting back story and internal conflict, he just didn't leave me besotted and swooning. Equally, I just couldn't quite understand the relationship that developed.

I liked some of the plotting and politicking, but some parts of the plot didn't quite work for me. In particular, it seemed a little inconsistent about what Kaye knew at any given time and a little all over the place in terms of some supporting characters' motivations and loyalties. The idea that Kaye had seen fairies since she was little rather than discovering their existence as a teenager was an interesting one, but it sometimes almost made me feel like I was missing a first volume, or at least a prologue, and sometimes made her a bit too blase about the whole thing.

Overall then, I wasn't wowwed, but this was still a fun read with a dark and gritty edge, and I'm giving the sequel a chance.
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on 3 January 2005
I discovered this book when I was a freshman in high school. I checked it out at the same time as I checked out Francesca Lia Block's I Was A Teenage Fairy, also a book and author I would recommend highly.
Not only did I love the seamless flow of the story and the author's easy diction, I adored the similes that run rampant in this book. My personal favorite is when Kaye says, at sunset, that the sun looks like it slit its wrists and is bleeding orange all over the ocean. I mean, wow. A writer myself, I have a healthy respect for good description.
Though Black uses the same simile format throughout the novel, the images she draws have stuck with me. As a senior, after checking out the book numerous times over the years, I finally bought it and reread it (again), not putting it down until it was complete... at 4 o'clock in the morning. :-P
I have long been a fan of urban fantasy, but this is the best example I have come across. It has drugs, rock and roll, a pleasantly evil Faerie Queen, and a tall, handsome, mysterious stranger (Roiben of the White Hair... just read the book, you'll understand and be as jealous of Kaye as I am)... all in all, an amazing read that will grab you when you're not expecting it and leave you hungry for more at the end. (Don't worry, a sequal comes out this summer and I can't wait!)
I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes quality writing and an interesting twist on an antient tradition amongst the fey. The only way to truly appreciate the magic and beauty of this amazing book is to read it for yourself, so go to a library and check it out, you silly, silly mortals!
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Watch out Laurel K Hamilton, there's a new faerie on the block. Readers familiar with the tales of Meredith Gentry will love this new offering from Holly Black. I read this book today in its entirety, it was that good. Kaye Fierch is a teenaged girl who discovers that she is a changeling; a pixie switched with a human baby at birth, and emired in a plot to control the faerie court. Black deals skillfully with the heroine's angst at being brought up a human and a teenager at that and then dicovering that she is an immortal being with magical powers. Kaye never fails to evoke the reader's sympathy, she is a fully fleshed out character about whom you can really care and the author successfully portrays the depravity of the Unseelie Court without resorting to the colourful prose of Ms Hamilton which I sometimes find a little too near to the mark for the genre. I can't wait for the next one Ms Black.
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on 27 March 2016
You would be better served reading Melissa Marr's books, Carrie Jones books and Kelley Armstrongs Omen series over this nonsense. I'm going to keep this short because my previous lengthy one clearly did not make the cut. So-

This was a dull hard slog of a book that just spins it's wheels unnecessarily. The characters were uninteresting and equally annoying. The lead character Kaye was in dire need of a boot up the rear as well as a brain transplant. The so called 'romance' makes no sense when there is about as much passion between Kaye and Roibin as two single cell's in a petri dish. Why does Roibin like Kaye? Hell if I know. Why does Kaye like Roibin? Because he's really, really, pretty and she wants to ride him all night long. I wish I was kidding. Thankfully Roibin is about as passionate as an ice cube---unless you are his queen/mistress then the goo goo eyes come into play, which ticks Kaye off. There is no emotional build between these two and their so called romance isn't convincing at all. Even the moments concerning the fae are glossed over fairly quickly to return to Kayes creepy obsession with Roibin.

Multiple times Kaye abandons her friend in the company of the most dangerous creatures to save her own hide and betrays her friend Janet multiple times by, "Seeing where this is going" with her boyfriend/not boyfriend Kenny. The 'shock reveal's are easily spotted from the introduction of certain characters and comments made by Kaye. This book has all the subtlety of a ten car pileup. The motivations of the characters is also baffling. Why do the Unseelie insist on their tithe? What does it achieve? It just isn't a good book, a good story and is devoid of even good characters. Failing all three, what does this book have? Very little if I'm being honest.
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on 19 July 2012
This book was very hard to review and rate. 3/4 of the book I loved. Though many people found it hard to relate to Kaye, I really enjoyed her character, and I really liked Roiban and Corny. But some characters didn't work too well for me, like Spike and Kenny. Though I thought Lutie was cute.

I loved the idea of the story and would have liked more detail, especially after the first 1/4 of the book, which I enjoyed far more than the first few chapters. I found it could have benefited from a few warnings before changing character POV as suddenly as it did. I found myself having to re-read the paragraph to figure out where it had changed. Having said that, I did like the scene settings, the descriptions and the situations. I didn't mind the lanaguage as many young adults today can be rather potty-mouthed and out spoken. Holly Black has set a scene of quite a poor area, so groups of children drinking, squabbling, swearing and smoking is not far fetched, though I was glad to see the swearing settled down towards the end of the book.

Would I read this book again? No, I don't think so. Will I read the other books in the series? Yes, eventually. I enjoyed it, though maybe I did not quite fall in love with it. For me it was easy-reading and likable.
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on 7 June 2008
I have to say that I didn't really enjoy this book. I sometimes felt that the plot jumped or skipped over parts which I felt were important. It left me at times feeling a little bit disorientated.

There were moments of acute realism combined with faerie images and this was what originally attracted my interest in this book. The author's idea of realism obviously includes profanity, yet I felt she overdid it. There was a time when it was necessary to have your characters swear alot if they were to be portrayed as streetwise or worldly (or trying to be)but I think many writers now realise that only a small amount of profanity does the job, or works even better (what with it being more noticable).

Some of the images the author uses work - and sound great - but there is so many of them (in replace of a fantastic plot) that their effect is somewhat diluted. For me, a great book should sound effortless and this just appeared too 'trying too hard'.
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on 29 June 2006
If you want a fluffy faerie romance where everyone is sugary-nice and from a respectable background, where the goodies are good and the baddies are evil, and teens never ever say the f-word - this book won't be for you. Kaye's a messed-up kid who's had a tough life and often does stupid things, and the faerie world she stumbles into is harsh and cruel and violently capricious. But it's also weirdly beautiful and compelling, and so is Roiben, the faerie knight who Kaye gets tangled up with.

Holly has a fabulous sense of language, and there's some really interesting imagery in the book. The plot skips around some and it's a bit sloppy in parts, but this is her first YA novel, and if she's this good now, she can only get better. Looking forward to the sequel.
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on 25 March 2003
I bought Tithe yesterday at about 5.30 and finished it this morning at about 10. Its brilliant; very well written so that you feel sympathetic towards the characters and surprisingly realistic for a fairy tale!
Its nice to see some of the old myths being tied together (evil faeries, redcaps, the Gentry etc) and its also good because for once the heroine isn't a perfect child with a loving boyfriend and no vices at all.
I only found two probems with this book; firstly that it was not gritty enough for adult readers but yet seemed a bit too explicit for young adults (but hey, maybe I'm just too old now), and secondly that I was so eager to find out what happened I kept realising I'd missed out paragraphs. So now instead of continuing with my dissertation, I'm going to read it again! And keep an eye out for anything else Holly Black writes!
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