Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Faeries stave off the cabin fever?

Another snow day. More snow expected today and tomorrow. You know it's bad when...

Your Chinese teacher calls for your weekly lesson and asks what's going on and you tell her that you got all the snow in the world this weekend and are getting more tonight and you haven't been to work since Thursday because of it. And she says "Oh yes, I know, I saw that on the news." WHEN YOUR CHINESE TEACHER LIVES IN SHANGHAI! Apparently, my weather woes are international news now. Aiyo!

The Good Neighbors: Kith Holly Black, illus. Ted Naifeh

In this sequel to Kin, (which I reviewed in March) the fairies are getting closer to taking over Rue's town. Rue's still searching for her mother, and her friends are being seriously weird as the fae start to encroach in many different ways on her life.

I really liked this one, much better than the first. And I think I just put my finger on what's a little weird about this series. It doesn't read like a usual one-shot graphic novel even though it's published like one. (Ok, yes, I know it's a series) but I want to compare it to works like the The Plain Janes, or Rapunzel's Revenge (which both have sequels). But, instead, it reads more like Death Note or Fables-- something that's very long-range and almost needs to be considered as a whole instead of individual volumes. Does that make sense? Either way, it requires a brain shift for me when reading, which is something I'll be sure to keep in mind in when the next volume comes out.

In general, I really like Black's work in folklore and how she brings traditional beliefs and lore into a modern setting. I think she's a master at this. She doesn't mess with her supernatural realms, and I really appreciate that. You can tell she's a serious student of this. Also, I'm still blown away by the talk she gave at the National Book Festival in 2007 and her views on urban legends as modern folklore. Good, thought provoking stuff.

Book Provided by... my local library

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale Holly Black

Kaye's always been a weird girl, but when she moves back to New Jersey and reunites with her childhood friends, she realizes that maybe it's not her fault. Kaye really is a pixie--a changeling baby left behind. A changeling who is now all grown up.

The Faerie Unseelie and Seelie courts have a fragile peace and it's time for the seventh year tithe to ensure the loyalty of the independent fay. If Kaye is offered as the tithe, she can save reveal herself to be a pixie, the tithe will be rejected and Kaye's friends will be free.

But even if you're a pixie, if you're unfamiliar with the ways of faerie, it's a dangerous game.

Holly Black writes a wonderful, modern retelling of "Tam Lin" and showcases her vast knowledge of faerie legend of lore while weaving a tale entirely her own and impossible to put down. Not only do I know want to pick up Valiant and Ironside, but I also want to go reread Pamela Dean's Tam Lin.

So, I read this book two years ago. Luckily, when I went back to my reading notes, I saw that I had actually written out an entire review! Yay! But, back for Weekly Geeks #12, Suey from It's All About Books asked:

Did you think Tithe by Holly Black was dark? Would you recommend it to the YA crowd it's intended for?

Eh... darkish? I mean it's not light and fluffy, but I'm not sure I'd jump straight to dark. If you said it was dark, I wouldn't argue with you, but I don't think that's an adjective I'd use. (How was that for having an opinion? Sorry.) I would definitely recommend it to the YA crowd! It's a great YA book, especially for the middle/older sides of YA. While I wouldn't have an issue with younger YAs (12-14ish) reading it (I would have *loved* it when I was that age) I also wouldn't put it on list of recommended reading for that age group.

When Weekly Geeks repeated that topic a year later, I still hadn't reviewed it, so I got more questions.

Trisha from eclectic/eccentric asks:

Tithe is touted as a modern day fairy tale. Do you think this is an apt description? Why or why not?

Yes. Not happily ever after Grimm type fairy tales, but a modern story about faeries, yes. I loved the idea of what it would like to discover you were a changeling baby and how that would affect your life when you still had to deal with crap like high school. The faerie court politics are classic and seen in more stories that cover the faerie court, but in this one, it sometimes spills over into the local diner...

Darren from Bart's Bookshelf

What did you think of the fey lore developed in Tithe?

I liked it, because it was firmly grounded in the lore that already exists. Black didn't make up her own worlds and traditions, she grounded her story in the current lore, which I really respect, because she still made the story completely her own. Also, I sometimes get frustrated when authors take a folklore that we already have in our cannon and mess with it for their own means.

Eva from A Striped Armchair asks:

Some readers I know think Tithe was too dark...what do you think?

Well, I answered this one above. Darkish... definitely not too dark!

Book Provided By... my local library

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Glad to find someone else enjoying The Good Neighbours series. I adore the artwork and know what you mean about it coming across as a long range story rather than a stand alone graphic novel. I can't wait for the next one to come out.