I remember back when Tithe by Holly Black was making the rounds at my school. I was mildly curious, but never checked it out of the library because it was never on the shelf- being popular among the gay boy clique. When I was offered the chance to review the audio of Tithe, I jumped at it, because I love audiobooks and the idea of finally being in on a trend.
Kaye Fierch moves from city to city with her mother, Ellen Fierch. She never sets down roots and her academic record is a mess. After being mysteriously attacked, the Fierches head to Ellen’s hometown in New Jersey. FYI, Ellen is kind of a space cadet. So, Kaye doesn’t go into school and instead works so she can earn money for her family, since Ellen has these delusions about being in a band and a rock star and is clearly not stable enough to provide for her kid. In Jersey, Kaye ends up hanging out with a rag tag crew and eventually becomes entangled with the fey, discovering she is one as well.
Of course there is a romance, as Kaye ends up falling for one of the fairies – Rath Roiben Rye. So, Kaye goes through all this danger to save Rath and ends up on the wrong side of the one of those Seelie courts.
I can see the appeal of Tithe. It’s not sanitized. It’s dark. Kaye’s home life is absolutely not Leave It To Beaver perfect. None of the characters are perfect. And I suppose some kids from my rural high school could relate to that. Further, Tithe is actually quite sexy, with kissing scenes and drunkenness and I think third base. There’s a lot of action. Tithe is well paced. The imagery isn’t so bad either, especially of this broken carosel horse, I loved the way Black described it. I can totally see why Holly Black’s book was never on the shelves.
ALSO, there is a gay character named Cornelius Stone, who is one of Kaye’s best friends. (LOL, they use dial up internet at one point to do research, remember those days?). Cornelius is not stock, he’s not a stereotype and he is well developed. It’s nice to see a gay character not get the shaft, especially in retro YA.
The narrator of the audiobook is Kate Rudd. Rudd’s narration is staccato at first, her words are very clipped. However, I got used to it and though her voice worked quite well for the story. She changed her voice for each of the characters and gave the fairies interesting accents. I found it easy to differentiate the characters. The sound is quite high quality. The audiobooks is 7 hours and 26 minutes long and produced by Brilliance Audio.
Disclosure: Received for review.
Other Reviews of Tithe by Holly Black:
Purchase the Tithe audiobook here.