Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Ninja Reviews. . .Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside by Holly Black

Holly Black is known mostly for co-writing The Spiderwick Chronicles, but I knew her first as an author of young adult books about a very dark version of our world inhabited by faeries.

The first of these books is Tithe (the cover has been re-done a number of times, which I've always found an interesting thing for a publisher to do). Kaye is 16 and has always felt like a freak. She is a blonde-haired Asian, which is strange enough, she grew up in seedy bars because of her rocker-wannabe mom, and she has vague memories of conversing with faeries when she was a little girl. When she ends up back at her Gram's house, she rescues a wounded man who is obviously not of this world. Her faerie friends from childhood reappear to warn her, but Kaye is quickly sucked into the world of faerie.

This is actually a re-telling of the Scottish legend of Tam Lin, but it is incredibly dark, very edgy, and not your typical faery story. In traditional folklore, faeries were not usually beautiful creatures who performed good deeds; They were something to be feared. Holly Black definitely uses this in her novels, and to great effect. I have read some reviews online in which readers have complained about the language and some of the contest in these books. However, it all serves to build the Kaye's character and explain what type of life she has had. If you keep in mind that she's led a really rough life around rough people, you just might come to understand her and her eventual involvement in the macabre world of the fae.

I highly suggest these books to fans of Melissa Marr. If you love her books, then you will certainly enjoy Holly Black's. Here are the two books that follow Tithe:

Valiant by Holly Black

Ironside by Holly Black

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