Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Dial (March 17, 2011)
Random House Audio/Listening Library
Preloaded Digital Audio Player
Publisher: Playaway (March 2011)
Buy the Book: Hardcover, Playaway
Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.
Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.
I actually bought this book (the hardcover) awhile ago, but I've had so many books that I need to read, I was afraid I would never get to it, so when I saw it at the library on Playaway, I decided to grab it. If you've never heard of Playaways before, they're really fantastic. They're like book iPods. They come with headphones and a strap that you can put around your neck, so you can just walk around and listen to it. Awesome. Anyway, I wasn't sure at first if I liked the reader for Chime, but now I think she was perfect for it. Chime has a kind of old-timey, dark, fairytale feel to it, and I think Susan Duerden was just right. With her British accent, and kind-of classic fairy-tale voice, she gave the book an innocent yet creepy (is that possible?) feel. And she was good with the male voices as well, which I think it difficult for a woman reader. At first I switched back and forth between reading the book, and listening to the audio, but in the end I stayed awake until 5:00 in the MORNING listening to this audio.
Well, obviously, if I stayed up until 5:00 am listening to this, that means I liked it. Yeah....I liked it a lot. I don't know that this book is for everyone, though. When I first started reading it, I thought it was just weird. Well, it WAS just weird. That feeling never changed. But it was also really amazing. I loved the writing! It was so lyrical and fantastical and fairytale-ish. I was so absorbed in this story. I've never read anything like it before. The closest I could get to it would be, maybe The Near Witch, but this one was just more....bizarre, but in a good way, kind of Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton style). There were passages that were like children's rhymes, but it never seemed like a child's book.
There are so many things that I just found fascinating about Chime. I adored Briony, even if she did hate herself. I know that bothered some people, but I think it really goes to show how far people will go to protect the people they love. I thought she was a completely intriguing person. I loved how she knew what she liked about herself, and wasn't afraid to say it. She knew she was clever and pretty, so she came out and told people. There are so many more facets to her character that I could go on and on about, but I don't want to give anything away.
Those who love romantic tension, won't be disappointed in this one either. The tension between Briony and Eldric was intense! I didn't know what on earth was going on between them. Does he like her? Does he think she's just a kid? It was making me crazy! And I loved it! Eldric was such a gentleman. I completely fell for him.
The world that Franny created was amazing. The witches, and Brownies, the Boggy Mon, the Chime Child, and all the "Old Ones" made this such a mystical story. Add the mystery of what really happened to Briony, and all the other little puzzles that were slowly put together, and I think this was one of the most brilliantly written books I've ever read. Does this mean that everyone will like it? I don't think so. I think it's one of those books you'll either love or hate. I just so happen to love it.
For more details, check out Chime on Parental Book Reviews.
- Sexual Content: Mild
- Profanity: Mild*
- Violence: Moderate
- Other Notables: Some drinking, but not illegally.