Published by Penguin, Speak on March 17th 2011
Genres: fantasy, paranormal, romance, young adult
Briony knows she is a witch. She knows that she is guilty of hurting her beloved stepmother. She also knows that, now her stepmother is dead, she must look after her beautiful but complicated twin sister, Rose. Then the energetic, electric, golden-haired Eldric arrives in her home town of Swampsea, and everything that Briony thinks she knows about herself and her life is turned magically, dizzyingly, upside down.
Lyn recommended Chime to me, and it’d be on my list to get for quite some time. Fun fact: the author’s name (Billingsley) is actually a family name for me on my mom’s side, her sister’s, in marriage, so that was one of the many reasons I was kind of interested in it from the start. It’s weird how an author’s name alone can just get your attention, but it had. Haha. Though to be clear, I don’t know the author at all and had really never heard of her until this book.
It’s no secret I love fantasy and folklore type reads. Especially anything to do with fairies, witches, magic, or anything of the like. This was certainly in my ballpark. From the moment I started the story, I was mesmerized by the world-building Billingsley had created for the reader, and the hook of the character, Briony, immediately.
But my biggest problem was it was slow. There were long periods and passages were it felt like I was reading chunks of background or backstory, and I get that it did help to better explain some things, but it just lagged at times. I also couldn’t exactly figure out a good time period for the story. Sometimes it got too repetitive in areas to “emphasize” the description or the feeling and I found it completely unnecessary. For instance: I probably got really tired of seeing the word “wolfgirl” by the time I was a hundred pages in.
The dialogue and bits of (beautiful) description showed it was definitely an older time period, but it would have been good to have a more set date somewhere–unless I just missed it.
What I really loved were the utterly fantastic descriptions and world-building. It was such a fascinating story all around, probably one of the most unique reads I’d picked up in a long time! I also liked that it didn’t have to be packed with never-ending action to hold my attention because the characters demanded it. Briony was a no-nonsense kind of girl, loyal, and strong as hell. She cared deeply for her sister and I looooved seeing this relationship throughout the read between her and Rose. The budding romance between her and Eldric was pretty adorable too. I liked that he totally let her be her and didn’t try to be all macho. And it was a slow burn and cute building friendship through the book. They had their bumps along the way. But the ending… AWWW. And that’s all I’ll say on that.
“In a proper story, antagonistic sparks would fly between Eldric and me, sparks that would sweeten the inevitable kiss on page 324.” (pg. 21)
Sidenote: No big kiss on page 324, so the author didn’t put in some kind of early spoiler for the reader. LOL. But I did like that anyway. Needless to say, I liked Briony’s voice. She was great.
Though Chime was a bit slow reading at times, it was enjoyable with a surprising ending. I’m glad for this recommendation!