Review: Tithe by Holly Black

titheAuthor: Holly Black

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 331

Rating: 2/5

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.

This book…

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At the beginning of reading Tithe, the weaknesses far outweigh the strengths. Kaye, her mother, and her friends are neither likable nor identifiable—Kaye’s mother is a struggling rock vocalist, Kaye is a high school drop out, Janet is a superficial teenager, Corny is an unattractive gas station attendant; everyone drinks too much and smokes too much. Maybe I just lived a sheltered life, but wouldn’t have identified with any of these characters as a young adult. They are not likable, nor are their flaws realistic—instead, they are exaggerated and simplistic. Along with difficult characterization, the writing style is inconsistent and immature, replete with adverbs, repeated gestures, and dull dialog and episodes. This is clearly a first novel, and accordingly it feels unfinished and unpolished. The book would have benefited from a rewrite, to tighten the language and unify the style.

Unfortunately, this world of Faerie is not very likable or easy to read. First and foremost, I found the book difficult to read due to the writing style and lack of editing. The writing is unclear in many places, with disjointed sentences and weak dialogue. Transitions between scenes were abrupt, and it was sometimes difficult to gain a coherent understanding of what was happening. Though some settings were described well, the characters were not. Character development was limited, and the relationships between characters seemed weak and unimportant. As described, the love connection also didn’t seem believable.

Overall, I didn`t like this book but whenever I became too frustrated, another new aspect would shine: a banquet scene in a faery court, a new plot development, some measure of character growth. So while I can’t rate this book very highly on account of its many faults, I do recommend it. Less critical readers may not find it so frustrating as I did; no matter the reader, the magic and imagination make this a book worth reading. There is great potential here, and where it is realized, Tithe is a truly enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more of Black’s published work—I expect that as she matured as a writer, her books became more readable and less frustrating

 

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2 thoughts on “Review: Tithe by Holly Black

  1. I actually liked Tithe. I thought it was raw and a bit unpolished, but that that added to the dark grittiness of the Faerie world. I agree with you on the characters, though. I didn’t like Corny or Janet. In any case, Black’s White Cat is much better. The characters are much more fleshed out, and the plot is awesome, and it reads so smoothly. I would definitely recommend you give it a try.

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