Blurb from Goodreads:
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.
My rating: 4.5/5 Stars – Almost perfect. I highly recommend it.
Chime starts off with a bang and then slowly draws you in with its lyrical, hauntingly beautiful writing and mysterious characters. The protagonist Briony isn’t particularly sympathetic at first, but as the story unfolds, so does the depths of her emotional and psychological trauma. I eventually came to love Briony and her rocky relationships with Rose, Eldric, and her father. Briony’s story is as raw and painful as it is insightful, especially in regard to abuse, guilt, self-loathing, love, fear, and memory. The romance develops organically – no insta-love here – and is far from sweetness and light, even at the end.
But perhaps what I loved best about this novel is the world Billingsley so deftly crafts. The Swampsea is a such a vivid setting – creepy, perilous, magical, and lovely, all at once. My only criticism is that the big mystery isn’t really a big mystery at all; most readers will have guessed the ultimate revelation early on. However, I still enjoyed this book immensely, savoring every description, every poignant moment. Both chilling and heart-wrenching, Chime is an excellent romantic young adult fantasy. I highly recommend it.
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