The Scoop: (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.
Chime is a unique, charming tale. They prose isn't typically what you would find in a paranormal YA. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I would put Chime entirely in that genre, with its dashes of steampunk, historical fiction and magical realism influences.
It took me a hot minute to get into because of the writing style, but once I did I was hooked. Briony is depressed and self-loathing, yet charming, hilarious and loving at the same time. She is a well-written, complex character, whose sense of duty and guilt keeps her in a perpetual state of mental anguish.
|Briony, stop beating yourself up! Maybe you need one of these...|
Briony's love interest, Eldric, is one of the best written male protagonists I have seen in a long time. He's charming, funny, patient, intelligent and thoughtful. Their relationship is slowly developed and by the end, I was as in love with him as Briony (instead of scowling and annoyed as I can sometimes get over typical YA males/stalkers).
Magical elements come into play via the town's swamp and its cast of characters such as: The Boogey Mun, witches, the Chime Child, Dead Hand, Mucky Face Brownie, Bleeding Hearts and many more.
|Bleeding Heart plant. Now imagine them whispering and singing to you about cute boys.|
The mysteries of Chime were easy enough to figure out, but revealed in a calculated way that I enjoyed. Instead of being frustrated that the characters haven't figured out the secrets yet, I was anxious to see how everything turned out.
In Chime, Billingsley has produced an amazing little gem of a novel and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.