Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Plain Kate
Written by Erin Bow
Available Now!!
Published by Scholastic

I first heard about Plain Kate through some of the lucky bloggers that received arc copies at BEA.  I thought that the summary sounded really interesting and I couldn't wait until its release.  This book was totally worth the wait!

Summary from Goodreads:

"The drizzle had broken into patches as they walked. As Drina scooped up the pale sand, Kate found herself standing in the smudge of shadow cast by the deadfall. She had never before noticed the way shadows gave things weight, made them look heavy and real and connected to the ground. Without hers...

She edged into the light.

Her shadow looked strange and thinned. It seemed not cast against the ground, but floating above it, like a fog. What Linay had said was true: No one would notice this, at first. It was just an uneasy little change, like the half-felt movement of a boat that slowly induces a great sickness."

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 talismans are so fine that some even call her “witch-blade”: a dangerous nickname in a country 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 angry town, 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 she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.

My Thoughts:
This book was SO original!  I've read more ya books than I can remember and this book is truly unlike any book I've read before.  Erin Bow's writing style is simple but elegant, to the point, not overly descriptive, yet vivid in that you could picture the story unfolding in your head.  I felt totally transported into Plain Kate's world.  I think one of the strongest facets of the book was the phenomenal job the author did at creating atmosphere.  I became so immersed within the pages that I fully expected to look out the window and see fog rolling in and gray, rainy skies!  The characters were interesting, especially Taggle.  I never thought that I would say that my favorite character from a book would be a cat, but I am actually saying that!  I really enjoyed the way that the author brought Taggle's character to life.  Taggle embodies the characteristics of the most egocentric, self-centered, yet loyal and caring creature EVER, but arn't all cats like that?!  I don't want to say any more about Taggle because I don't want to give anything away- but if you read this book you will love him too!  As for Plain Kate, well she didn't really seem that plain to me.  I liked how she was so self-reliant and independent.  She was definitely dealt a pretty crappy hand in life, but she never really complained about it.  The magical aspects of the story were fun.  I would have liked to have learned more about the magic but overall I was satisfied.  I have to say that it was refreshing to read a stand alone novel.  It seems like EVERY book I've read of late is part of a series.  It was really nice to read a book and have full closure at the end- and the ending was really good!  It didn't wrap everything in a perfect little package, but it satisified all of the major plot points.  Overall, this book was fantastic!  It flows like an old-fashioned folktale.  It is definitely not an action-packed thriller, but will really appeal to readers that love a good story.  Kudos Erin Bow!

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