Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: Chime

Checked this out from the library since I had heard some good things about it a couple of years back, although I could've sworn this was a book about vampires since I had previously come across it at one of my libraries and remembered it being about vampires. Normally when this happens it means I've confused one book for another, really trying to figure out what book I confused with this one, anyone know of any books with similar covers that do involve vampires?

Chime by Franny Billingsley

I haven't talked about book covers in a while, mainly because a lot of times I just don't have anything to say, but I really don't like this one because of what Briony is wearing. I already had a hard time pinning down which century this story took place in (I believe it's early 20th but it could've been early 19th) and having her in 21st century-esque clothes just didn't work for me, wish they had put more thought into the model's costume.

Summary: Briony has felt lost and, even though she won't admit it, ever since her step-mother died, ever since her father distanced himself from her and her twin sister Rose, ever since she accidentally hurt Rose as a child. But then things begin to change around her, from the arrival of the new boy Eldric in her swamp town to her beginning to reach out to the magical world around her in a way that she hasn't done in years.

The Good: There was some interesting magic in the background of the story which seemed a bit different from what you normally find in low-fantasy these days and I would have liked it to have been expanded upon more (I felt like I was reading the companion novel to another book where all the world-building had already been done) but I can understand why the book didn't do so. Rose also ended up being a much more fleshed out character than I initially expected her to be and something like that always makes me happy.

The Bad: Briony is a character who doesn't think very highly of herself and that's okay, what's not okay for me is just how often she falls into this martyr-like, self-sacrifice way of thinking since it takes her about 90% of the book, maybe 95% of the book to grow out of it. I found it annoying, others may find it less so, but the fact that takes her so long to start changing should, well, tell you how long it takes her to change in the book. One, you really can't have your character grow and change only that close to the end, she does change some throughout the rest of the book but not a lot. Two, her change comes as the result of some events related to the plot which are supposed to be a great surprise but, well, not only does the title of the book give away one of them but I had guessed the second twist just because I've done a lot of reading and know when I'm supposed to be suspicious of certain characters and events. This goes back to what I've said in other reviews, plot twists are fine, just don't drag them out way past when the reader has figured them out or they become annoying instead. As I mentioned earlier, I also had a very hard time figuring out when this story was set (which is a bad sign since that never happens to me), found the romance a bit hard to follow (although that's rather normal for me), and just overall wasn't very interested in the story.

So, two out of five stars from me, for anyone whose curious for a book (or anything really) to get below stars means that there are problems with that actual presentation itself, like grammatical errors or horrible plot inconsistencies. Chime didn't have that so it gets a two but I can't see myself ever rereading this, recommending it, or really trying out Billingsley's other works unless they get glowing reviews (which weirdly enough it appears this book did, very strange).