Monday, February 8, 2010
Black, Holly. Tithe. ISBN: 0-689-84924-9. Simon & Schuster. First Edition, 2002.
From the time Kaye was a child she has been able to see things that others can't, but not knowing exactly what these creatures were she called them her imaginary friends. These friends Lutie-Loo, Spike, and Gristle are from the land of Faerie. Kaye is also able to subconsciously bring magic to fruition by visualizing the thoughts in her head. At the age of sixteen she leads a less than picture perfect life. Her mother is an unsuccessful rock star who forces Kaye to travel from town to town and school to school. Kaye eventually drops out of high school and gets a job to support her mother, until one day her mother's boyfriend Lloyd tries to kill her after one of her performances. This event forces Kaye and her mother to move in with their less than enthusiastic grandmother. One night after going to a party with friends, kaye disrupts the balance of the Faerie world by saving the life of Roebin, an injured Faerie Knight. Kaye falls in love with Roebin and she soon becomes a player in a plot to overthrow the evil ruler of the Unseelie Faerie court. Along the way, she reunites with her old imaginary friends, discovers here true identity, and has to deal with heartbreaking tragedy.
Holly Black's urban fantasy novel Tithe plays out like a bad movie, but at least an enjoyable bad movie. Her character's are flat and uninteresting, and some, who are supposed to be important, are not really described at all. The problem with having flat characters is that you are not interested in what happens to them, even when they are drowned at the hands of a mythical creature called a Selkie. Another huge problem in the novel is the complicated plot because Black's world of Faeries has so many different rules, allegiances, and alliances that you almost have to break out a paper and pen to sort everything out.
Despite all of the flaws, I can understand why a teenage girl would find the novel appealing. It deals with unattainable love, living the life of faerie, and controlling boys minds with your magic powers. It also has some fun moments where Kaye makes a carousel horse come to life and when she discovers she was swapped for a human child at birth. The novel also introduces teen readers to the world of Faeries and mythical creatures that they might not be accustomed to, and for that reason alone it is worth while. I wouldn't recommend this book, but I think that there is a place for it for the right reader.
Kaye Fierch can see things her friends can't and she can make things happen simply by using her imagination. Her world changes forever when she falls in love with a Faeire Knight and discovers that she is a Pixie.
Holly Black is a bestselling fantasy author for teens and children. She is currently working on a graphic novel series called The Good Neighbors as well as novel about curses called The White Cat. When she isn't drinking coffee, or reading in her secret library, she enjoys playing with her cats, and writing in her journal at: http://blackholly.livejournal.com
fantasy, urban fantasy
Book Talking Ideas
How would you feel if you found out that you were not human?
How does Black's World of Faerie differ from modern perceptions?
Reading Level/Interest Age
sexual content, language, violence
Challenge defense ideas:
1. Make sure you are familiar with your library collection and the book in question.
2. Be familiar with your library collection policy.
3. If possible, speak with the person challenging the material and make sure they feel comfortable. Ask the customer what they disliked or disapproved of in the resource. If they still insist on challenging the material give them instructions on how to file a formal complaint.
4. Research professional reviews that speak to the material's merit, and get input from teen readers on why they found the book important.
Reason For Selection
Urban fantasy for teens is a genre that I am not very familiar with. I wanted to use this blog assignment as a means to force myself to become familiar with genres and materials that I am reluctant to read. While I didn't particularly enjoy this novel, I did enjoy the sequel Valiant. Another reason that I included this novel was because it is mentioned in Cole's Young Adult Literature in the 21st century, and because Holly Black just seems like such a cool author.