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Chime by Franny Billingsley


by Franny Billingsley

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79011211,626 (3.92)45
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The story was interesting & the writing beautiful, almost lyrical at times. I really enjoyed it. ( )
  michele.juza | Feb 25, 2015 |
Like poetry! So many lines I just wanted to stop and copy down. A wonderful, distinctive voice.

This wasn't a perfect match for me as a reader, but I can see why it has so many fans.
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Briony Larkin is a witch -- she says so from the beginning -- and this story is her confession. I probably ought to warn you, though, that Briony is not the most reliable narrator in the world, so you might want to look and listen carefully to the rest of her story, and draw your own conclusions.

I'd further summarize the plot, but I've probably already given too much away. To me, this book read like a puzzle. I managed to put some pieces together well before the end, while others were a surprise to me. There's one place where I thought the author broke her own rules for the world of the story, but to say more about that would be to give away one of the book's big secrets, so I won't. All in all, though, I thought this was a well-written story with good world-building and an interesting main character. I didn't exactly like Briony, but I was fascinated to see what she would do next. I'd say I connected with this book on an intellectual level rather than an emotional one. I'd recommend it, especially if you like creepy, atmospheric fantasy. ( )
  foggidawn | Dec 1, 2014 |
[This is an old review that I realized I'd never posted. My rating is from back when I had to do Goodreads rating rounding. Maybe I'd have given it 2.5-stars if I could have? I have no idea.]

Chime is a mix of fantasy and historical-ish fiction. The description interested me, and I liked the audio sample.

The story: Briony seems like a model preacher's daughter. After her stepmother hurt her spine, Briony stayed with her to care for her rather than going off to get an education. Because her father had selfishly left them all to go do other things, Briony was the only one there to take care of her stepmother and her twin sister Rose, who was never the same after a head injury some time earlier. However, Briony has a terrible secret: she's a witch, and she's the reason Rose hurt her head and stepmother damaged her spine and eventually killed herself. Briony knows it's her duty to hate herself and devote herself only to taking care of her sister, but then Eldric arrives. Eldric seems determined to be her friend, and Briony finds herself wanting to tell him things she should never tell anyone.

What to say about this book... I suppose I'll start by giving an overview of my listening experience:

Discs 1-2: Briony's “voice” is very different and interesting. It's a little melodramatic and takes some getting used to, but I think I like it.

Discs 3-6: Ok, there is such a thing as being overly lyrical. Get on with the story, please. Please.

Disc 7: I still feel frustrated with Briony's “voice,” but at least things are finally happening.

Disc 8: ...This ending is pretty good. ::sniffling back some tears:: Except for one action on Eldric's part, which kind of ruined the romantic storyline for me.

What this all means is that, no matter which Goodreads rating I choose, it won't feel quite right. Discs 1-2 were decent, and Disc 8 was really, really good, but most of the stuff between was so much of a slog that I had to fight to stay interested and continue listening.

I have a feeling that many, if not most, reviews of this book include the word “lyrical.” Briony's POV was...different. Why say things with mere words when you can say them with word pictures? For example, people did not blush – instead, blood boiled to their faces. “Shoulder blades” were “shoulder wings.” And, early on, when Briony wished for her sister to scream so she could find her: “Go on! Jab your screams into my ear squish!”

This sort of thing only ever stopped during dialogue, and this was not a dialogue-heavy book. I liked it, at first, but it became extremely frustrating as the book progressed. I felt like Briony's overly-lyrical way of thinking slowed down the story. Even worse, this style made the book's few (but important) action scenes very confusing.

I spent much of the book suspecting that Briony's version of events was not correct – certain details didn't quite add up or make sense. My suspicions were later confirmed, although I didn't manage to guess everything. Even though some of the big reveals were pretty obvious, the final disc was still really good. Some of the things that frustrated me earlier in the book turned out to be more important than I realized, so I guess they were necessary, but... As much as I liked that final disc, I'm not sure all the slogging I did up to that point was really worth it. I enjoyed how all the pieces of Briony finally came together and how the truth was revealed, but the level of frustration I felt up to that point means that I doubt I'll ever reread/re-listen to this book again.

Although I thought Susan Duerden did a good job reading this, I can't shake the feeling that I might have enjoyed this book more if I had read it rather than listened to it. I could have skimmed some of the passages faster than Duerden was able to read them, and maybe I wouldn't have felt quite as frustrated.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 17, 2014 |
I am such a fan of this author. I loved her other two books for middle graders, so I was very excited to get hold of her most recent. And there is a lot to like. It is well written, the main character is believable and vibrant, and the author has created an interesting supernatural world in the swamp that the main character lives near. I found it a little difficult to situate the human part of her world in time -- the reference to women smoking cigarettes made me think it might be 1920s, but everything else sound more like 1890s. But my least favorite part of the book is the extremely heavy aura of angst and self loathing that overpowers the narrative. For me, though, you can put this down to my preference for middle grade over YA. The teen audience may love it. ( )
  Inky_Fingers | Sep 1, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Franny Billingsleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duerden, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Richard, for always
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I've confessed to everything and I'd like to be hanged. Now, if you please.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
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In the early twentieth century in Swampsea, seventeen-year-old Briony, who can see the spirits that haunt the marshes around their town, feels responsible for her twin sister's horrible injury until a young man enters their lives and exposes secrets that even Briony does not know about.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

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