Tithe by Holly Black

Title: Tithe
Author: Holly Black
Series: A Modern Faerie Tale #1
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Pages: 331 Pages
Genre: Speculative Fiction - Fantasy
Overall Rating:

Synopsis (from the book cover):
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.
First Sentence: Kaye took another drag on her cigarette and dropped it into her mother’s beer bottle. She figured that would be a good test for how drunk Ellen was—see if she would swallow a butt whole.

My Review: Kaye is a strong-willed, foul-mouthed, school dropout who lives like a nomad with her musician mother, Ellen. At the age of 16, she has start smoking and drinking excessively but the oddest thing is – her mother doesn’t seem to care. When her mother’s boyfriend suddenly turns homicidal, Kaye and her mother return to her grandmother’s house in New Jersey. Here begins a chain of event, which starts off with her rescuing an injured black knight named Roiben that happens to be the knight of Unseelie Court, to meeting her solitary fey friends from her childhood. The fey tell Kaye the truth about herself and also the plot they are planning to let solitary fey be free for the next seven more years. What kind of truth that the fey tell Kaye about? And what kind of danger that comes with the plot they are planning?

Tithe, the first installment of A Modern Faery Tale series, chronicles the world of dark fey as well as the dark side of human’s world and behaviours. The setting of the faerie’s world that Black created in this book is very interesting and couple with her in depth explanation on faerie’s superstitious making some parts of this book delicious to read. However, despite of these couple of positive parts, I found that the weaknesses far exceed the strengths of this book since I cannot really name any other portions in it that  totally grabbed my interest and making it a memorable read.

In her attempt to create something unique, I find it quite hard to follow and enjoy Black’s writing in Tithe. Some passages seem to be disconnected from one another making it harder to understand what the author trying to convey. Other than that, I’m also not too fond of the characters as I feel like they are underdeveloped, impossible to relate to and even harder to have any kind of emotions toward them at any given moment. The foul language used in this book also annoys me since it is used excessively and repetitively. Besides that, the underage drinking, chain-smoking and some other obnoxious behaviours without any remorse feelings truly left me speechless and rather unsettling. Suffice to say that I did not entirely enjoying myself with this book. To me, it does not feel like it lives up to the hype – at all.

Final Verdict:  Not something I would recommend unless you’re up to something really dark and not the kind who squirm when reading foul languages.

If you've read this book, I'd really love to hear what you think of it and if you've reviewed it as well, don't forget to include the link to your review in your comment. 


  1. Great review! I love the cover and even though it sounds darker than I usually read, I'm intrigued!

  2. I agree, great review! And thanks for stopping by TSN, I haven't seen you in a while either! :)

    Anyways, back on topic, I read Tithe in 6th grade and it was definitely... interesting. Unique. Original. Holly Black is something else, hehe.

  3. I recently purchased this book, I haven't read it yet though. Thanks for the review!

  4. I have to agree with your review, I also found this book a little disturbing, although I can admit that it is good ... just not for the squeamish, lol ... here's my review: http://paranormal-obsession.blogspot.com/2009/10/tithe-modern-faerie-tale.html

    Happy Sunday xx

  5. Wow..That's is disturbing.Sometime a little difference might be ok. Thanks for the review =)

  6. Awesome review, and it echos some of my feelings when I read it (what I remember of it anyway). The characters' lives seemed a little superficial, I remember (kids from the slums, sort of thing).

    So yes, great review. =)

  7. Unfortunately it might be my cup of tea.