Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

Pages: 320
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: March 17, 2011
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Briony feels responsible for every bad thing in her life; after all, she feels she is a witch and knows that in her town it is a serious crime punishable by hanging.   Not only is Briony a witch, but she also has the second sight which means she can see the Old Ones that live in the swamp by her house.   Then Eldric arrives and her world is immediately turned upside down as he gives her attention and is an attractive "bad boy" type. Briony then starts to question herself; perhaps she can love and be happy despite her self-loathing?  Franny Billingsley's Chime is a captivating tale that is one of the most unique stories I've read in a long time.

Briony has a sister, Rose that I believe to a bit "different"; however, I was captivated by her character the most.  Rose is socially inept and would often made the most interesting observations about people. She would interject into the conversation with an honest remark that was wildly inappropriate; I couldn't help but smile. At times, Rose made me laugh out loud, but other times I was thinking..... "That girl is spot on!"  Rose was a complex and, no doubt about it, original character.  In addition, Briony was also complex in her own right and what broke my heart was the fact that she couldn't let go of the guilt she felt surrounding the many upsetting events in her life, such as her stepmother's mysterious death. She blamed herself because she is a witch, but as the story unfolds we learn there's more to this situation than meets the eye.  

Billingsley is such an incredible writer.  Seriously. Her writing style was so extraordinary and lyrical.  In Chime she coined new words and played with the wording; I found it to be unconventional considering Chime is young adult literature.  At first, it was hard to get used to her style and I found myself a bit turned off during the first half of the novel, but then I became immersed in Briony's world and was hooked, because the second half of the novel is outstanding.  I was blown away by many complex plot twists. I was glad I kept with it.

Billingsley includes interesting characters and myths that were very unique, such as The Bogey Mun, Chime Chid, and Muckey Face. At first, I was kind of thinking...."What the.... ??", but then I kept an open mind and I'm glad I did.  Also, the setting was also extremely fascinating. It was in a turn of the century English town called Swampsea filled with bogs, scary swamps, and supernatural Old Ones. Talk about spooky! In sum, Billingsley does a brilliant job creating a unique setting and characters.

If you are sick of the usual paranormal story line and want a change, you must pick up Chime.  It's the most unique paranormal/historical fiction that I've read in a long time. Billingsley is an author that I'm going to watch out for!

*Buy Chime

*Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for sending me this ARC for review.


  1. Excellent review! This does sound like a different and creative book. I am not sure if I would enjoy the made up words but I'm willing to give the book a try.

    Your description of the book and writing style reminds me a little bit of A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce. I look forward to reading Chime. Thanks for your review!

  2. Great review! I am really looking forward to reading this one. Hopefully I get to it soon!

  3. I got this one as a surprise review book the other day (yay!) and apart from the witchy aspect, I hadn't read much about it. It does sound a little bit different, so I'll be sure to keep an open mind when I'm reading!

    Thanks for the great review!

  4. Ohhhh love that this one stands out as unique among all the paranormal books out there! Can't wait to read this Christina, so glad to see you enjoyed it:) I think the setting will be very interesting, and I'm intrigued now by what you said about her writing style.

  5. I'm so happy this is "different" paranormal! I'll for sure have to read this one. Great review!

  6. i def. need a change from the usual paranormal ya. thanks for the great review, i'll give this one a try.

  7. Great review! When I'm tired of reading the usual paranormal story line I'm so going to get a copy of this book! It just sounds really good. ;)

  8. Oh I'm so glad you said that this is good for readers sick of the usual paranormal story--that's me. I'm in such a funk Christina! But I requested Chime so now I'm super excited to get it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. Ooh, nice review! I'm so glad I got this one for my birthday now! :D

  10. This sounds fab. Great review! I do love the cover too for some reason. Perhaps it's the steampunky feel.


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