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Chime Hardcover – March 17, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Since her stepmother's recent death, 17-year-old Briony Larkin knows that if she can keep two secrets--that she is a witch and that she is responsible for the accident that left Rose, her identical twin, mentally compromised--and remember to hate herself always, no other harm will befall her family in their Swampsea parsonage at the beginning of the twentieth century. The arrival of Mr. Clayborne, a city engineer, and his university-dropout son, Eldric, makes Briony's task difficult. Clayborne's plan to drain the swamp has made the Old Ones unhappy, particularly the Boggy Mun, who has plagued the village's children with swamp cough in retaliation. When Rose's lingering illness turns into a cough, Briony knows that she must do whatever it takes, even revealing her secrets, to save her sister. While thwarting the advances of an arsenic-addicted suitor, Briony must also deny her feelings for Eldric, even as he helps her solve the puzzle that has become her life. Exploring the powers of guilt and redemption, Billingsley (The Folk Keeper, 1999) has crafted a dark, chilling yet stunning world. Briony's many mysteries and occasional sardonic wit make her a force to be reckoned with. Exquisite to the final word. Grades 8-12. --Angela Leeper


"Part mystery, part fantasy, this beautifully-written page turner explores guilt, mercy, and love." -Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of Tithe and Ironside

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Download an excerpt from Chime [PDF].

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; First Edition edition (March 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803735529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803735521
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,210,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Adriana on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
After the death of her step mother, Briony is left with so much guilt and believes the only way anyone else can be happy is for her to hate herself. She blames herself for the death of her step mother and her twin sister Rosy's mental illness. Briony has to keep this secret to herself because if she reveals it she will be killed, for being a witch.

Briony just broke my heart. She would deny herself many things because she believed she wasn't capable of loving anyone or bad things will happen. I really wanted her to realize she wasn't a bad person and even though she said she was jealous and didn't like her sister it was obvious how much she truly cared about Rosy. I loved Briony's character even though she didn't like herself all too well.

Rosy's character is one that will forever be young at heart. She was an interesting character. Even though she was perceived to not have an understanding of things Rosy turned out to be the most aware of what was around her than everyone else did. There were many secrets she kept to herself which I was curious to find out what they could possibly be.

The relationship with Briony and Eldric was really sweet. Eldric was someone Briony needed in her life in order to overcome all of the negative feelings she had for herself.

The ending was such a wonderful surprise. For some reason I didn't see it coming even though it was pretty much hinted at throughout the whole book.

The writing was so beautiful with a somewhat classic fairy tale feel to it, which I absolutely adored! I would highly recommend reading Chime to those who love magic, fantasy, mystery, romance, and oh so brilliant, wonderful, amazing, lovable characters.
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Format: Hardcover
Just a small warning: this review is bound to be full of praise, fangirly gushing, and positive adjectives. I will not apologize for this...

This book was absolutely gorgeous. Every word was an indulgence along the same lines as chocolate. And just like chocolate I wanted to savor it and gobble it up at the same time.
I knew from the first page that Chime was something special. Something completely different than other books I have read and that knowledge only intensified as I continued to read. The writing was completely incredible. I was a little awestruck. Franny Billingsley has a amazing gift and I hope that she continues to share it for a long time to come.

Chime is about the very wicked girl named Briony. She's so wicked because she's an Old One, a witch. This is a secret she has kept for years. Briony hates herself. She doesn't love anyone. Shes incapable of crying, and she tells you these things countless times, but you as the reader can see all the things that Briony can't. You will probably figure out the truth about her long before she does, but watching the story unravel and the puzzle pieces fit together is the beautiful thing about this book.

Briony tells you her story and her recount of the events is honest and witty. Her relationship and romance with Eldric was well developed.The banter between the two of them was fantastically done. It had me smiling many times. Rose, Briony's twin sister played a very big role in the story and I though she was a great addition to the already wonderful cast of characters.

The world in which Chime takes place is perfectly created. I saw no flaws in it whatsoever. The Swapsea and the Old Ones were unique.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm giving this book four stars rather than three stars because the characters were so vivid and real that they made the book for me. Briony especially. Her voice is so strong and so distinct that it's unbelievably refreshing to read about in a first person YA novel, where too many first person narrators blur together. Briony can be no one but Briony. She's complex, strong willed, and doesn't always make the right decisions even though she thinks they're right at the time. Eldric, her love interest, was also wonderful. He and Briony worked so well together, and I'm pleased to say that their relationship seemed real. It was based on young love rather than young lust. Their interactions, as in their formation of the Fraternitus Bad-Boyificus and their jokes and banter, felt very real.

The magic in this book is also fascinating, as is the setting (near a swamp). The whole idea of witches turning to dust once they've been hanged and and magical creatures living in the swamp was amazing.

The only quibble I have with the book is the nebulous plot. I don't think it's as developed as it could be. In fact, I think the book would be much better if it were tightened considerably. It felt too much like the characters (wonderful though they were) wandering around bumping into things. (Briony goes somewhere. She talks to Eldric. She has internal monologues. She decides to do something. She does it. She has internal monologues. She talks to Eldric. She talks to Rose. She finds all sorts of reasons why she can't act for at least a week, which then means that she will do more talking to Eldric and Rose, etc...) It wasn't that there wasn't a plot, it was that it wasn't as tight as it could be, so all the little scenes of her walking and talking and thinking lacked focus.
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