Friday, 1 July 2011

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Plain Kate 
(Also published as Wood Angel)
Plain Kate lives in a time afraid of magic. She has a gift for carving 'lucky' wooden-charms. Known as Witch-Blade, her unusual gift attracts dangerous attention in a place where witches are burned. When her village falls on bad times, suspicion falls on Kate. Scared for her life, she seeks the help of a mysterious stranger. In exchange for her shadow, the stranger will assist her, but Kate becomes part of a terrifying plan, darker than she ever dreamed.

I read this book in the right time, and it doesn’t always happen like that. This was exactly the story I wanted to read. I wanted something fairy tale-ish, something dark, something new and fresh, something that would sweep me away, and that was what I got.

Plain Kate is like a fairy tale, it has all the right ingredients, and it draws a lot from folklore (both Russian and Gipsy). But it keeps the darkness of original fairy tales, it doesn’t sugarcoat things, it doesn’t try to make it all about rainbows and sunshine. It did surprise me a bit, as it is for young adults, and lately all the YA I’ve read is quite upbeat (even the darker ones).

I loved the story. The story of Kate and how she was looking for her shadow, and of how she tried to fit in. She is a marvellous character, strong enough to go by herself, smart enough to know when she needs help, yet still needing to learn a lot, still making mistakes.

It was not only Kate that was an amazing character. All of them were so real, even the most fantastical ones. Besides Kate, I loved Taggle and Linay, and my heart jumped at every mishap, at every twist. And speaking of twists, there are some of those, some I could see coming, some I didn’t want to see coming, some surprised me. Exactly in that order.

Another thing that really pushed my buttons were the dubious characters. Dubious in the sense that you are not quite sure if they are the good guys. It’s not even that, is more like what Kate was going through, not knowing whether to help them or fight them, I was torn between rooting for and against them.

The writing was really good, it sucked me in from the first chapter. It Sucked me in all throughout the book, until the bitter end. And bitter end is not just an expression. I was not expecting the way it ended. It has been ages since a book has made me cry as much as this one did.

I really loved this book, bittersweet (and more bitter than sweet for me) ending and all. A marvellous story.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other Reviews: Eating YA Books | Pure Imagination

This book reminds me of: Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier (LT | GR)

Book Trailer

This Book on: LibraryThing | GoodReads | BookDepository UK | Book Depository US | Amazon UK| Amazon US|


  1. Oh no! Bittersweet ending? *scared*(º.º)

  2. Yes, it is kind of an happy ending, but it could have been much happier (although it could be a lot worse as well). And then there is the thing that I simply love the bad guy, and since he is the bad guy you can guess that his is not an happy ending...

    But it's really good! Just get a big box of tissues for the last 4 or 5 chapters...

  3. You make it sound so good.
    This wasn't a boo I was particularly intersted in, but now I might just read it.