Monday, June 25, 2012

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Briony Larkin has a secret. Stepmother warned her never to tell. Or, she would surely die. But, she can no longer keep the secret because the Boggy Mun is plaguing people with the swamp cough, and Rose, her twin sister, is its next victim. Besides, Briony owes Rose her life. She's indebted to Rose for what she did to her. It was her anger that summoned the wind that made Rose fall and hit her head, never becoming "quite right" after that. That's what evil girls do.

Briony Larkin is a witch with the second sight that allows her to see the Old Ones. Briony Larkin is also dangerous. She must keep her emotions under control so that she doesn't hurt others like she did Rose and her Stepmother. But, as Eldric Clayborne - the boyman who seems to see inside her soul - and she grow closer, she's finding it harder to control her emotions.

Since this novel was a National Book Award Finalist, I really wanted to like it. In fact, the entire time that I was reading, I kept searching for things that I could gush over. Unfortunately, I didn't find any. The basic premise of this novel was intriguing, but the execution was off. For instance, the storyline was difficult to follow in a lot of places because Briony (the narrator) would go on random tangents that reminded me of reading a Faulkner novel. The only problem is that the rambling usually had nothing to do with the point that she was trying to make. Instead of being a literary device, this became so distracting and frustrating that I wanted to stop reading. In addition, for people who aren't familiar with folklore and mysticism, all of the Old Ones and their functions became confusing; it didn't help that most of their functions weren't adequately explained and

I love folklore and mysticism, and I was really disappointed in this novel. I'm not sure if I'd built it up because of the CHIME/SHINE (Myracle, 2011) debacle, but it was a tedious read. I know that there will be others who love it, who will make me second-guess my judgement, but it's not one that I would recommend to

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