April 25, 2011
Billingsley, F. (2011). Chime. New York, NY: Dial Books.
Briony is a witch. She killed her stepmother. She drove her twin sister crazy. She thinks she deserves to hang for her evil. But when Eldric, an older boy, arrives from London she begins to relish being bad. Billingsley creates a heroine that is wholly unique, and maybe darker than she lets on. The voice is consistent, but, at times, annoying. “My heart rings itself out. I am drowing in heart juice” (p. 335) Some may find this endearing. Like I said, it is consistent and true to Briony. On the other hand, it often feels forced, like Billingsley is trying to show the reader how clever she is. Maybe she is clever though. Chime is rarely predictable, filled with magic, suspense, and romance that many teens will fall in love with.
I picked this book up after some Twitter friends were all a-buzz over it. I disagree with them that it is the bee’s knees. But that isn’t to say it is a bad book. It just wasn’t for me. The first chapter is maybe one of the best first chapters I have read . . . ever. It just never lives up to that hype. And, well, I just grew tired of Briony. I didn’t want to keep picking this up, and it was a chore to finish it.
I started to think this is one of those books that will be popular with librarians and teachers, but will find a limited audience with teens. I could be wrong, I know many teens who have this one on their radar. However, who cares if it is a book just for librarians and teachers? People act like that is a bad thing. Librarians and teachers are patrons too. For that matter, they are readers. Go librarians!
Speaking of people who liked this book, here is a review from Wicked Awesome Books . . . just to have a more balanced view for you.
Similar Titles (Read-A-Likes): We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (this recommendation came from Bookshelves of Doom on Twitter), Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Rebel Angels by Libba Bray, Greenwitch by Susan Cooper