Release Date: March23, 2004
Read it in: 1 week (it was a busy week!)
Oh man, I loved this book! Despite my past attempts at reading books about fairies, this one knocked my socks right off. Tithe was dark, mysterious, imaginative and edgy. Yes, it deals with some difficult issues like alcoholic parents, sexual abuse, and blood sacrifice, (yeah, that's right) but it also has a beautiful and enchanting side to it-- and both of these sides fit together really well throughout the story.
Tithe was definitely a page-turner, not simply because there is a lot of drama, action and suspense going on from beginning to end; but also because the author actually took the time to give you the story background that you need in order to understand what's going on. Let me just say that-- from the perspective of someone who doesn't know much about faery lore and was beyond lost when reading Wicked Lovely-- I practically shouted "Hallajulah!" when Tithe gave me understandable explanations and plot depth-- I wasn't left wondering what on earth was happening, and was thus able to fully engage in the story. This-- added to the great deal that was invested in character development-- made reading this book very enjoyable.
The descriptive language that Holly Black uses is just breathtaking-- I was really impressed by how she uses words to paint very imaginative worlds and characters. In fact, she can describe a scene out of fairyland just as beautifully as she can describe a scene from a run-down trailer park-- now that takes some talent! Likewise, the characters were fantastic. Kaye was an amazing female protag-- Holly Black knew just how to flesh out her character into a believable, three-dimensional person. Kaye is a girl you can absolutely relate to, because she is far from perfect (I hate flawless, cookie-cutter characters!) and she has been through hell and back-- her tough grittiness makes her appealing as a character because it boldly stands out against all those other wishy-washy, bland, wimpy chicks we seem to see a lot of in today's novels. (Also, she is described as an "Asian blond," and that is totally hott.) Honestly, it takes a lot for me to become truly invested in a main character, but in this case, I was hooked.
My only caveat with this book was that I thought the dialogue in faery-world was at times a little forced (I don't like it when modern books use phrases like "verily I say" or whatever, it just sounds kind of cheesy/contrived to me). But really, that was my one and only little complaint-- and the rest of the dialog flows wonderfully and is very realistic (Side note: There are loads of F-bombs, just so you know, and I am super-happy I'm not the librarian who's gotten this one shaken in their face by some P.O.-ed parent lol). All in all, I give Tithe a high rating and cannot wait to read the next two books in this series!