Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

Chime by Franny Billingsley is one of those books I discovered on Goodreads and immediately knew I’d love based on the synopsis (and the gorgeous cover). Briony has a guilty secret – she is a witch. A witch who has destroyed her family: she blames herself for her sister’s mental disability, her home being victim to both fire and flood and the death of her stepmother. She only feels at home in the swamp, but before her stepmother died she warned Briony that the swamp only made her powers worse. Then handsome Eldric moves into town and makes Briony question everything.

Well, I was so right: I did love this book! I fell in love with it from the first sentence and remained enchanted through the whole story. Briony is one of a kind – her narration was at times angry, sad, eerie, hopeful, scary…but always bewitching. Always interesting. There is no way to see the world through her eyes and not feel drawn to her and wonder about the things she believed she has done. I knew early on that things were not as they seemed – certainly not exactly how Briony saw them – but I definitely did not expect things to unfold the way they did.

Eldric is a great character too – I absolutely adored the different ways Briony described him. The descriptive language she uses is very original…but very Briony. I don’t remember the last time an author was able to so successfully create someone so complex and layered (not to mention quirky and oddball) and keep the characterization so consistent. Her voice is very distinctive – the blend of wit and irony kept me constantly entertained:

In a proper story, antagonistic sparks would fly between Eldric and me, sparks that would sweeten the inevitable kiss on page 324. But life doesn’t work that way. I didn’t hate Eldric, which, for me, is about as good as things get.

I also loved her descriptions of the other characters:

Father’s silence is not merely the absence of sound. It’s a creature with a life of its own. It chokes you. It pinches you small as a grain of rice. It twists your gut like a worm.


Silence clawed at my throat. It left a taste of burnt matches.


No, our family doesn’t talk much.

She spoke in a dark-river sort of voice, as though her throat were filled with dusk. She was staying in a village not twenty miles off, but her dusky voice made it sound like an island of spicy winds and bursting pineapples. Just the place to be marooned.

I really cannot recommend reading this book enough – a constantly compelling fantasy plot, an intriguing and malevolent swamp setting and a set of the most quirky and captivating characters you’ll ever come across.

Check out the book on Goodreads / Amazon

Also…just in case I haven’t convinced you yet, here I am reading the first chapter:

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Stephanie (PoetrytoProse.com) July 12, 2011, 5:17 am

    You definitely convinced me! I have kept going back and forth on this one, but the quotes and your reading have made the decision final: I'll get this when I do my next book purchase! Great, great review! 😀

    Reply
  • Scarlett July 12, 2011, 7:58 am

    I TOTALLY agree! The prose in this was just breathtaking. It wasn't trying too hard to be creative, it just was, and it was lyrical and made such beautiful sense. This is one that I enjoyed thoroughly and am so glad you liked it as well! (and thanks so much for sending me the link to the netgalley page for girl of fire and thorns. I have difficulty with finding things sometimes!)

    Reply
  • Em July 12, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I still need to get to this one. It's so hard having such a big TBR (though better than having a small one). Glad you liked this so much!

    Reply
  • We Heart YA July 12, 2011, 12:53 pm

    Our group member Sarah just finished Chime. And then she finished it again! That's right, she loved it so much, she read it twice in one weekend. And when she described it to us, her words were very much like yours. Great review!! The rest of us can't wait to read the book too.

    Reply
  • Ashley @ Book Labyrinth July 12, 2011, 7:54 pm

    Ooooh I've heard such great things about this one. I totally want to read it ASAP!

    Reply
  • Ashley July 17, 2011, 12:05 pm

    You know… This is one that I hadn’t really been interested in, one that I kept passing over. But your review makes it sound Awesome, so I think I’m going to have to try and track down a copy!! 🙂 Awesome review!
    Ashley recently posted..Interview with Susan Niz, author of Kara, LostMy Profile

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  • Tangled Up Jess July 19, 2011, 7:06 pm

    Love your review and love the first chapter! I’ve seen this around but I never really had any interest in reading it–until you convinced me otherwise! 🙂
    Tangled Up Jess recently posted..Review: The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie LettsMy Profile

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  • Sherry Soule August 12, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts and opinions about the book. It sounds like a great read!!

    ~Sherry

    Sherry Soule Official Website

    Author of the Spellbound Series

    Reply

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