Book Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley
The week after the sick-week, I tried to read it and I got only as far as the 29th page since it didn't capture me immediately and I've had half a mind to not finish it at all. But I told myself that I've had started so many books and not finishing them. So, I dedicated my Sunday morning to actually reading Chime once and for all.
To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a little weird at first since I was not used to the story-telling but as Briony unfolded her story I was swept into it and journeyed with her. I was as confused and muddled as her as she tried to find herself and learn the truth about everything and I discovered truth and love with her in the end.
I also tried to place the time period in which the story took place. I initially though that it was the late 1800s on the brink of the new century since there would've been automobiles, photographs and a queen in the United Kingdom at that time. It was on the latter half of the story when Briony herself mentioned about twentieth century witches that I pegged the right time. But the atmosphere woven in the story was not at all the early 1900s or maybe it was just because the story was set in rural England when the effects of industrialization would be late in coming.
Nevertheless, I liked the story. It was one of those why I didn't read this book before? kind of stories. The whole lot, setting, atmosphere, characters, were perhaps a little limiting and development was kind of slow, if it ever came at all. Still, I give it:
I've had Chime in my TBR pile for half a year now and I only paid it attention again when I was selecting a book for the TBR Intervention Challenge that I am co-hosting every Saturday. I had a few false starts. The week I was supposed to read it for TBRIC, I was sick and all I wanted to do was sleep and watch Ghost Whisperer reruns. I hadn't had the heart to read anything except some Victorian romance I picked up at a book sale when I was half delirious with fever.
Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.
Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.