Saturday, September 11, 2010
Fresh New Voice of YA- Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Plain Kate by Erin Bow
"Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden charms are so fine that some even call her "witch-blade" -- a dangerous nickname in a town where witches are hunted and burned in the square.
For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate's father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.
Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he'll give Kate the means to escape the town that seems set to burn her, and what's more, he'll grant her heart's wish. It's a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes that she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed."- summary from Amazon
This was such a wonderful, refreshing book to read, as it has some elements of paranormal but takes place in a more rural, historical setting. What it reminded me most of was Tamora Pierce and the stuff she writes, and that's a good thing. Maybe I just haven't been reading the right books but it seems like there's very few out there that take place in a world like this- a rural setting with elements of magic.
The other similarity was the strong heroine. Plain Kate is a great character that gets swept up in this whole adventure and has to mainly rely on herself. She's a character that grows up fast and has to deal with a lot of things. I really felt for her and it was so nice to see her gather her strength and stand up for herself toward the end of the novel.
My favorite part of the whole book though was the talking cat Taggle. I love seeing cats in books, and it was so awesome to see one that talked! He was such a cat, but also more than one. His character becomes pretty developed over the course of the novel. Taggle was so funny and sweet and I loved any scene that included him.
The ending was very fast-paced and contained quite a few twists and turns, and surprised me on several accounts. I could hardly turn the pages fast enough. The actual end of the book was bittersweet because I didn't want to let these characters go but it left them in such a good place and I can see more adventures happening. A sequel certainly isn't needed, but I'm definitely not opposed to one.
Overall, a really original, fresh voice (hence why she's being featured here!) with a great story to tell. Definitely a book to pick up!
FTC: Received book at BEA (signed!). Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.