by Franny Billingsley
Published March 17th 2011 by Dial
Rating: 4/5 stars
Add Chime on GOODREADS
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.
This novel is an exquisitely written and wonderfully constructed story with a chilling atmosphere, an original premise, a fantastic setting and a self-destructive and achingly realistic protagonist and a very believable and like-able love interest
Don’t let the cover fool you, it’s not a paranormal romance, nor is it about a goth girl playing Victorian dress-up…it simply does not do justice the sheer poetic loveliness of the novel. Chime feels like a retelling without being based on a fairytale: the whole timbre of the book is tale as old as time, but set in 1910s England. The closest comp titles I can think of are Juliet Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing, Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch Three Times and Elizabeth Bunce’s A Curse Dark As Gold. All of those books I love passionately, and I can happily add Chime to that list.
Ultimately, Chime is a novel about the facets of a person, about self-loathing, about love, about art. About monsters, too, and the shape they come in—and about mothers and manipulation and morality. It has beautiful moments, moments where you stop breathing, moments where you sit back and gaze at the pretty words, moments where a sigh is practically written into the page.
I definitely recommend Chime.