Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Everyone knows that witches can't cry and that they write left handed.  Briony doesn't want anyone to know she is a witch because she doesn't want to hang from the gallows, which is what happens to witches in the Swampsea.  Briony's beloved stepmother has recently died, leaving her with promises to protect her twin sister, Rose, and to keep her secret from her father.  "Stepmother was very clear.  She'd told me again and again:  Briony plus the swamp plus the Old Ones is an explosive combination." pg. 29

Briony defies her dead stepmother again and again as she hears the voices of the Old Ones and tries to find her burnt stories and piece together the events of her life.  She meets a wonderful young man named Eldric and they forge a special bond as they run wild through the swamp.  It is hard for Briony to fall in love with Eldric because she has so much self-hatred built up inside of her.  She is literally walking around wounded inside but doesn't know it.

The swamp is an interesting character as it has magical bogs, spirits, witches, ghost-children, the Quicks, the Horrors, the Hot place, a Dead Hand and the Wykes.  You must not travel into the swamps without your Bible ball to protect you because it is a fearsome place yet it draws you in to play.

Chime's narrator is a bit unreliable and confusing and the book took about 100 pages to really hook me.  That being said, Billingsley has built a strangely unique fantasy world and I adored her creative characters.  Chime is full of multiple genres and Era jumping, (What is Era jumping, you say, well here is my definition) where it seems that multiple real Era's or time periods are represented in one inventive time period in the book.  Billingsley is a master of originality and inventiveness and with a strong female lead character like Briony, who can cut her own hand for the love of her sister, she leaves readers gasping for more stories like this.

Chime leaves the reader with much to Muse upon.

If you were a color what would you be?

If you were an animal what would you be?

If you were a historical personage who would you be?

If you were a sport what would it be?

Come and play in the Swampsea with me.