It’s rare that it takes me three weeks to finish a book. Usually, it’s more like three days. My latest read, however, almost completely stalled my reading progress, which is a shame because I was so excited about this book when I started it. This book is Chime by Franny Billingsley. (If you’ve been following the controversy surrounding this year’s National Book Award, this book might seem familiar to you.) The cover is beautiful, nearly every review was positive, and the synopsis I read before diving into this book promised an interesting, engaging read. Well, that might have been true for some readers, but this book just didn’t do it for me.
In Chime, we meet Briony Larkin. Briony is not an average girl. She spends her days taking care of her twin sister Rose, avoiding her father, and hating herself. Why does she hate herself, you ask? Well, Briony is a witch, and she can feel nothing but hatred for herself. She cannot cry, she cannot love, and she cannot feel remorse. She knows she’s a wicked girl, and only bad things will befall her and those around her. After all, Briony’s jealousy injured Rose and killed their stepmother, right?
When a young man, Eldric, arrives in the small village of Swampsea, Briony notices a change in herself. She begins to feel more than just self-hatred. She’s becoming adventurous, she’s laughing, and she’s having strong feelings for this boy-man. She’s venturing into the swamp that she’s always been afraid of (and drawn to). She’s longing to tell someone the truth about herself. But what will Eldric do if he learns the truth about Briony? Will he announce to the town that she’s a witch? Will he watch Briony hang? Will he keep her secret?
Join Briony, Eldric, and a host of other colorful characters on a journey through the mysterious mires of Swampsea. What will they discover? What secrets will they unearth? In the end, all truth will be revealed when you read Chime by Franny Billingsley.
Like I mentioned above, this book was not a favorite of mine. The dialog was as hard to wade through as the swamp-filled setting. On a more positive note, I thought the ending of the book was pretty good, and I like that this book serves as a stand-alone title (no trilogy in the works that I’m aware of). If you decide to give Chime a try, let me know what you think of it. Maybe I missed something that you didn’t.
If you’d like more information about Chime and author Franny Billingsley, visit http://www.frannybillingsley.com/. I was just browsing this site, and I discovered that Ms. Billingsley wrote a favorite picture book, Big Bad Bunny. Cool.