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Tithe : a modern faerie tale
Book
2002
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 8^-12. With a hard-drinking rock singer for a mother and a band of faeries as childhood friends, 16-year-old Kaye's life has always been unconventional. But when she rescues a gorgeous knight, Roiben, from mysterious attackers, Kaye is thrown into a terrifying, otherworldly war between two faerie kingdoms. In this wildly imagined debut, Black tells a gothic fantasy that contrasts the faeire world's seductive horror against the gritty world of contemporary, industrial New Jersey. Black includes plenty of mysteries and some mature, sexy innuendo to keep the plot flying along: Is Kaye human? Which court is really in power? Who can be trusted? Does Roiben love Kaye, or is he under another's spell? What's become of Corny, Kaye's gay friend who has fallen for an abusive knight? But it's the riveting descriptions of the faerie world--a bacchanalian hell described in remarkable detail--that will most capture readers. Dark, edgy, beautifully written, and compulsively readable, this is sure to be a word-of-mouth hit with teens, even a few usually unmoved by magic and monsters. --Gillian Engberg

  Kirkus Review

Debauchery, despair, deceit, and grisly death-what more could you ask from a fairy tale? Sixteen-year-old Kaye has always felt like a freak; partly because she's spent half her life in seedy bars while her mother vainly pursued rock-star fame, but also from her memories of childhood fairy companions. Still, she's not prepared for what happens after she rescues Roiben, the gravely wounded and impossibly gorgeous elven knight. Her friendly sprites return to warn her that Roiben serves the Unseelie Court, the darker aspect of Faerie, and that she has been designated the mortal sacrifice in the ritual Tithe that binds the independent fey to their cruel and depraved rule. But what if that sacrifice weren't . . . quite . . . mortal? Black's stunning debut cleverly twists the Tam Lin tale. Though Kaye's home life seems almost comically sordid, when the action moves to the various Faerie Courts and their allies, their intrigues make an intricate tapestry, woven of dark threads of obsession, degradation, and horror, yet graced with bewitching beauty and a surprisingly tender romance. Once she drops her angst-ridden attitude, Kaye is a clever, courageous heroine with an appealingly wry voice, and Roiben is a gloriously damaged and darkly noble tragic hero. While most of the supporting cast has little to do beyond playing villains or victims, Black has an eye for the telling detail that brings the most minor character to life. A labyrinthine plot with Goth sensibility makes this a luscious treat for fans of urban fantasy and romantic horror. (Fiction. YA)
Summary
Welcome to<br> the realm of<br> very scary<br> faeries! <br> 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 the sixteen-year-old 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.<br> Newcomer Holly Black's enormously powerful voice weaves teen angst, riveting romance, and capriciously diabolical faerie folk into an enthralling, engaging, altogether original reading experience.
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