Okay, for today's installment of the Bookanistas I bring you magic. Intrigue! Guilt. And romance.
Combine all of those together with a heavy helping of oh-my-heck-I-will-never-write-this-well, and you've got CHIME by Franny Billingsley.
I seriously considered quitting while reading CHIME. The writing is exquisite, with characters and a story to match.
About CHIME: 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.
I could say so much here, but one line in that blurb says it all: "Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin."
I mean, seriously! That's brilliant--and exactly the kind of emotional read I enjoy.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the secondary characters in the book. Briony's sister, in particular, is well-drawn, and I loved every scene with her in it. And Eldric is just plain perfect. Briony's Stepmother isn't even alive in the book, and yet I felt like I knew her from the first time Briony spoke of her.
CHIME is one of my new favorite books. It's one I could read again and again, just so I could try to figure out how to use words the way Franny Billingsley does.
What books do you read and wonder if you'll ever write that well?
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