What I knew about it was that it was a dark fairytale – and after my encounter with Black Sun Rising I was a bit afraid. But it had a pretty cover, and was Young Adult so it thought it would be okay, and quite quick to read. And it was. And quite nice as well.
Tithe is the story of Kaye, a sixteen-year old whose life has never been normal. As a child she could see and talk to faeries (even if everyone else though it was her imaginary friends). As a teenager she followed her mother in the rockstar lifestyle, spending most of her time in bars or helping her mother sober up, and very little in school.
It all changes when she returns to her childhood house, to live with her grandmother. She tries to reconnect with her faery friends, only to discover much has changed. Of course she will then enter a world of peril and treason, and learn things about herself that she could never have imagined.
The first aspect that I'll like to point out about Tithe is that it is Urban Fantasy. Which I normally don't like. Going from “our” world into a new, fantastical (and where physics don't usually apply) world doesn't convince me much. But here it didn't bother me much. The faery world was not a easier world where everyone was super powerful and throwing giant balls of fire around. It was pretty much a different country with different rules and weirder habitants. The transition between New Jersey and the Otherworld was very well done.
But what I really liked about Tithe were all the myths (mostly Celtic) that were woven in the story. That piece of familiar plot was very nice, even if it took dark twists. These twists give some sobriety to the story – it is not all easy, and bad things happen. That is always good in a story, and is great for character development (or, like Calvin's father would say, it builds character).
The story is pretty much focused on Kaye, and I liked her as character. She fitted well in the world of faeries, and was really weird in her own world. Yet she was able to make friends on both places, without changing who she was (well, kind of, but saying why would be spoiler-ish). And the other characters are also quite good – especially Roiben, the romantic partner and not-quite-hero. Also, I had a feeling throughout the book that I didn't know for sure who was friend and who was foe, and I quite enjoyed that.
Tithe is a nice story, easy to read and like. There are two more books on the series that I want to check out – as well as other books by Holly Black.
Other Reviews: Fyrefly’s Book Blog | Libri Touches | Red House Books