Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale
By: Holly Black
By: Holly Black
Overall Rating: 4/5
Tithe is about a teenage girl named Kaye Fierch, who has an alcoholic mother that plays in various bands around the country. The book starts out in Philadelphia, where Kaye's mother and her band is playing in a club. Lloyd, her mother's boyfriend and whose house they're living in, is enchanted by a knight of the Unseelie Court, Nephamael into attempting to kill Kaye's mother. Fortunately, Kaye sees just in time and stops Lloyd from stabbing her mom. Now having no where to live, they go back to New Jersey to stay with Kaye's grandmother, where Kaye had moved away from ten years ago. Once in New Jersey, Kaye meets up with her old friends in an abandoned warehouse. However, she unknowingly enchants her best friend Janet's boyfriend, Kenny. After a shock, Kaye runs away from the warehouse and sees a faery named Roiben, as she learns, wounded. She saves Roiben, granting herself three questions, and catching the attention of the Faery Unseelie Queen, whom Roiben works under. Kaye also finds two of her old "imaginary" faery friends named Spike and Lutie, whom she never saw after she moved away. They tell her that Roiben killed her other faery friend, Gristle. Shocked, Kaye tricks Roiben into telling her his real name, knowing the fey keep their true names a secret. The story continues as Kaye learns she isn't human, but a changeling; a replacement for a human child. Even worse, she has become involved in a dangerous faery ritual.
Tithe isn't your typical happily-ever-after fantasy novel, it is more of a dark and gritty tale. I looked at this book for quite awhile before I finally bought and read it. I don't know why I was having doubts now, I enjoyed it a lot. The only reason why it isn't a five is because some of the main characters could be a bit more developed, take Nicnevin and Silarial for example. We don't know much about their "sisterhood" at all. However, the names of the faery were the most creative I've heard of; Nephamael, Nicnevin, Silarial. Kaye's conflicted feelings for Roiben after finding out he killed Gristle was a great touch, it showed Kaye isn't an epic hero and more of a common person with heroic traits; someone we can all relate to. I would recommend this book to teenagers or even adults who enjoy this type of dark fantasy.