Modern Faerie Tales: Part 1
By Christina, age 17, Louisiana
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
Holly Black is a fantasy writer who does her job well. A trilogy, unnamed to my knowledge, but consisting of the books Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, and Ironside: A Modern Faerie's Tale, have been compulsively readable since the year 2002. Telling the story of an array of both Fey and Mortal characters alike, it has drawn the line between fairy tales and faerie tales - one tells you where all the terror will end and the other tells you it's only the beginning. In Holly Black's own words, which adequately describe the series, "Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries."
Original Art by © nakushitakotoba.deviantart.com
Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale is the story of a sixteen year old pixie switched at birth for a human child - "changelings", as they call them, glamored at birth to look as human as they don't really feel. She goes by the name Kaye Fierch, and travels with one of her mother's numerous rock bands from city to city as a "modern nomad". When no choice remains but to return home to her grandmother's house in New Jersey, after what may not be such an accident, things unfold as the truth is revealed. When Roiben, a dark Unseelie knight, is thrown in by chance, Kaye soon becomes the pawn in a struggle she had more to do with than she'd ever thought. With help (or not so much) along the way from her friends Corny, Janet, Spike, and Lutie-Loo, her life is twisted into something that is completely foreign and familiar all the same.
I personally enjoy Black's writing style and sense of dark humor. Her attraction to contradiction seems to play well in both this book and the entire series, and her characters aren't sugar coated - they're true. Kaye is fierce and independent, as both a mortal and a fey, and Corny, who doesn't bother to hide his attraction to men, is troubled and real. Janet and Spike aren't main characters, but they tie into the plot, and Lutie-Loo, as indescribable as she really is, is more than likable.
Original Art by © stareclypse.deviantart.com
I have honestly found nothing I really disliked. As the only series I've ever read twice, I have come to believe that Holly Black's modern faerie tales are something I admire. The world grabs you and pulls you in, and like the Fey, it is binding, heavy with dark overtones and modern, romantic fantasy. Similar to a military meal, Tithe is everything you've ever needed in a book. Packed into yellow, pretty pages and an enchantingly lovely cover, the black words will grip, charm, and reel you in quicker than you can breathe.
"And pleasant is the faerie land but an eerie tale to tell, ay the end of seven years, we pay a tithe to Hell."
Original Art by © tsunamisilvers.deviantart.com
Recommended for ages 14 and up.
I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.
The second book, Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, will be reviewed in the May issue of the magazine.