Tithe by Holly Black
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Modern Faerie Tales #1
Release Date: March 23, 2004
Dates Read: October 24-27, 2011 (3rd time)
Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms — a struggle that could very well mean her death.
After returning home from a tour with her mother’s rock band, sixteen-year-old Kaye, who has been visited by faeries since childhood, discovers that she herself is a magical faerie creature with a special destiny.
I have a special place in my heart for this book. If I remember correctly, this book initiated my long-lasting love affair with urban fantasy. I almost certain that this was the first book I had ever read in the genre. I remember seeing and being interested in the cover (the original one, with the butterfly) in the young adult section of the bookstore before, but I didn’t end up buying it at the time. Shortly thereafter, I noticed one of my best friends reading the book, and she recommended I read it the very instant she was done. I’m glad I did.
This novel is a gritty, dark look into the world of faeries in a modern, urban setting. Kaye is not what you would call the traditional teen protagonist, but it is somewhat refreshing to show a heroine with a dark past. I also really liked the characters of Roiben (the conflicted love interest) and Corny (Kaye’s friend’s gay brother with whom she develops a special relationship). I enjoy Holly Black’s style and I think that she is a fantastic world-builder. There are a couple plot gaps and some lacking character development, but it didn’t detract from the book for me.
If you are someone that expects a cookie-cutter protagonist and happy endings, then no, I wouldn’t recommend this book to you. However, if you like urban fantasy (or think you might like it), like a good, dark tale, and want an easy, enjoyable read, then I definitely recommend you check it out.