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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chime
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...
Published on March 21, 2011 by Adriana

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too high brow for me
Shaking my Magic 8 Ball here...Will Chime win any literary awards? "Without a doubt." Will YA readers flock to Chime? "Don't count on it."

Some books are meant to be appreciated as much as they are to be enjoyed. There aren't many YA books of literary quality. Of the books I've read in the past year, only Jellicoe Road; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; and...
Published on August 12, 2011 by Alison


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chime, March 21, 2011
By 
This review is from: Chime (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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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Gorgeous!!, March 17, 2011
This review is from: Chime (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. I won't say that I have read lots of Fantasy, but I will say I have read my fair share and the world in Chime is one of my all time favorites. It left me dying for more!

I'm going to stop now because I could probably continue gushing for a long time to come. I just want to say that you must read this book! I hope you love it half as much as I did. (That would still be a lot!) I will definitely be reading Billingsley's past books and devouring anything that she writes in the future.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The characters are vividly wonderful, the plot is not, April 11, 2011
This review is from: Chime (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. Part of this had to do with the style of writing - lots and lots of dialogue and internal thoughts, very, very little on the setting or actions. I liked Briony's voice a lot, and I liked the wittiness of her thoughts, but the lack of concrete description of the setting made the book, for me, lack an anchor. You get a line here and there about the peeling wall paper, and the golden rye fields, and the blue and white painted sheets in the garden party, like little minnows of description that flash by before you can catch hold of them. In the book Briony talks about the hollow bird bones of her hand, and I feel that image aptly describes the book itself. It was all voice, without the solidity of plot to focus and bolster it except with a few feather light touches.

What surprises and twists there were I found predictable. I figured them out very early on. However, the joy in this case is not in being surprised, but in watching Briony discover what you already know.

I hope my review does not seem wholly negative. The problem is that there's only so much praise you can give before you start to babble, or give things away. It's easier to come up with concrete reasons of what you didn't like than what you liked. You should read this book. It's worth it. Getting to know Briony, and Eldric, and Rose, is worth it. What you ultimately should be considering is whether you should buy this or check this out from the library. If you are unsure, check this out from the library. Spending more time in a library is never, ever a bad thing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too high brow for me, August 12, 2011
This review is from: Chime (Hardcover)
Shaking my Magic 8 Ball here...Will Chime win any literary awards? "Without a doubt." Will YA readers flock to Chime? "Don't count on it."

Some books are meant to be appreciated as much as they are to be enjoyed. There aren't many YA books of literary quality. Of the books I've read in the past year, only Jellicoe Road; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; and Revolution come to mind. Literary books take work to read. You can't just be immersed in the plot. You have to think while you're reading to absorb the careful meaning the author places in the prose. While more difficult, this can transform a book from interesting to extraordinary. I enjoyed Chime once I got used to it, but it never made that leap from a well-written book to something that made an indelible mark in my mind like Jellicoe Road and Revolution.

Briony, our narrator, is one of the most miserable characters you'll find. Convinced that she's an evil witch who hurts everyone around her, she despises herself. She holds everyone back, so she can't hurt them. Eldric, the new lion-boy, refuses to stay away. He brings light into her life and that scares her. Pretty soon, she has to decide not only if she'll open herself to Eldric, but if she's willing to brave the witch-hating townspeople to save her village and sister from the evil swamp spirits.

The plot sounds crazy, but it Briony's world really is fascinating. There's just a hint of fantasy and the rest reads like a historical novel. It took me a long time to understand what was going on, but once I did, the plot flowed pretty smoothly.

The characters and writing is much more important than the plot for Chime. The prose is beautiful. The author clearly put great thought into every sentence she wrote. It reads like poetry. Chime is basically written in a stream of consciousness mode. The book shows every thought that's going through Briony's head. Like anyone else, Briony's thoughts often veer into tangents that seemingly have nothing to do with the current situation, but are somehow linked in her mind. It makes the book confusing and choppy, but so insightful.

Briony is a fascinating character. Her self-hatred colors all her thoughts, making her an unreliable narrator. At the same time, she carefully observes life around her. Her comments about her father, deceased stepmother, sister, the village-people, Eldric, and even about nature were very different than the way most people think. It was like putting on a pair of glasses with too high of a prescription. Everything you see is sharpened yet distorted. I also loved her sister Rose. Rose is mentally disabled in some way. Despite her limitations or perhaps because of them, she sees people clearly. Her simple statements were often more insightful and accurate than Briony's.

Chime is a beautiful book with well-developed characters, a complex plot, and incredible prose. It is one of those books that can be read over and over just to contemplate the wording. While I appreciated the literary quality, Chime just never made the leap from being appreciated to being loved.

Rating: 3.5 / 5
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wasn't expecting this book to be so good!, June 13, 2013
This review is from: Chime (Hardcover)
I ordered this book for my library based on a few reviews, not really expecting much out of it. I opened it this morning hoping for a quick, easy to walk away from read, but I finished it tonight. I loved every minute of it. I thought it was really well written. Briony comes across as an unreliable narrator, which I loved, because it kept me guessing as to where the story was going all the way through. You sense that the information she shares isn't necessarily always the truth, but it's hard to find the truth through her own web of confusion. The character development is excellent, with a variety of well-constructed, complex characters. I couldn't wait to recommend this book to my friends!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snickleways!, January 23, 2012
This review is from: Chime (Hardcover)
"Let's review the rules, Briony: What, above all, mustn't you forget?
You mustn't forget to hate yourself."

I savored this book, every piece of it. Franny Billingsley's writing is exquisite, lyrical, and haunting. Chime is a tightly wound mystery and a fascinating character study. True, the plot is a bit lacking but Franny Billingsley pulls it off. The book, in its essence, is about relationships.

Briony and the Old Ones: In the town of Swampsea, at the beginning of the twentieth century, mysterious creatures inhabit the swamp. There's the Boggy Mun, Mucky Face, the Dead Hand, and the Dark Muse. And Briony has the second sight--she can see them. They beg for her to write their stories. But she can't go in the swamp--Stepmother told her Briony plus the Swamp is a dangerous combination...

Briony and Rose: Briony thinks she caused the accident that left Rose without all her wits. Briony cares for her identical twin and would do anything to protect her, but she also (understandably) is annoyed by Rose's babble. Rose has her secrets and knows far more than it would seem.

Briony and Stepmother: Briony adored her stepmother. She also killed her. Or would have, if Stepmother had not been poisoned by arsenic. A suicide, everyone thinks. But Briony knows Stepmother would never kill herself. Stepmother, who encouraged her to learn despite her father's disapproval. Stepmother, who urged her to write stories. Stepmother, who played with Rose. Stepmother, who told Briony she was a witch.

Briony and Eldric: Eldric is the handsome, mysterious, worldly stranger who arrives in Swampsea and begins the story. His and Briony's relationship begins with a genuine friendship--they start the Fraternitus Bad-Boyificus and he teaches her to box. Eldric is witty, enjoys playing with the village children, and can fidget anything out of scraps. Briony doesn't worship his beauty or compare him to a god--it's just sweet, real, and quite funny. I laughed out loud a few times.

Briony and herself: Chime is a mystery about Briony, about who she really is. She hates herself, curses herself for hurting Rose and Stepmother, but what really happened? She can't say she's a witch or she'll be hanged but she needs her witchy powers to save Rose. Briony will have to learn to love herself again.

I loved Chime, especially its setting and I hope we will be having more tales of Swampsea.

And on a slightly random note, Chime is the second book in a row I read that featured snickleways (the first being Dark Souls by Paula Morris). In Chime, snickleways are the paths in the swamp. Isn't it such a delightful word?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too bizarre for this reader, August 12, 2011
This review is from: Chime (Hardcover)
This book received a starred review from basically every professional reviewing publication - School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus - and here I am, unable to even finish it.

While I acknowledge "Chime"'s originality and high quality of writing, I believe this is a novel that will appeal to only a very specific type of reader who is looking for some eccentric fantasy. The whole cast of characters, the world, the interactions are all what you call "quirky," but many (I) would call bizarre. The main character, Briony, is a very charismatic narrator, in a vein of "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"'s Merricat. She is funny and interesting, but at the same time infinitely odd.

To put it simply, "Chime" was not a book for me. The narrator's voice was so hard to relate to, I had to abandon the story after about 70 pages. I strongly recommend everyone to read a couple of chapters before buying this novel to see if it's a story to your taste.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just a matter of taste, cause it's not bad., March 25, 2011
This review is from: Chime (Hardcover)
Briony Larkin deals with self hatred all the time. She believes she's bad because after all her name comes from a poisonous vine. Plus, villainous creatures in the swamp refer to her as their mistress. She's been told that no one is to know of her being a witch. So when an engineer and his son come to drain the swamp that is vital to her sister's protection she must face the difficulty of revealing her secret to save her twin.

This book is difficult to review. Was it mysterious? Did it keep me guessing? Was it different? Yes, yes, and yes, however I wouldn't say I liked this book. It's odd to say, but I think it was the writing style that threw me. There were parts where Briony would randomly break into weird little poems. They were kind of nonsensical to me. I guess if you were seeing a movie you'd imagine those parts as being eerie and creepy and it would work,but reading those parts were just annoying to me. The reading flow just seemed hindered.

Another problem for me was too much action would take place in the swamp, and I would be lost as to what just happened. I guess because Briony is such an unreliable narrator and guarded, we the reader only know so much, and what we do know gets confusing.

Rose is her identical twin who seems a bit slow, but in reality is pretty smart.That is one good thing about this book though. The characters are well fleshed out and despite being confused, I felt sympathetic towards them. As the book goes on you'll probably go through three of four different scenarios of what could have happened and that was a bit fun.

Towards the end it was more exciting, but the first half just complicated the experience for me.

Overall the book was just okay to me, but all over the net the reviews are just glowing with praise. So maybe it's just not my cup of tea, maybe it will be yours. Judge for yourself peeps.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only if it was edited more!, March 2, 2012
By 
Y. Scott (Lexington, MA, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chime (Hardcover)
I have a mixed feeling. It was much better than I'd expected (because I expected it would be another silly teen romantic fantasy, which was NOT).

This novel is like a modernized fairy tale, with better character development and better writing. However, this book should be edited more. If the editor helped the author tightening up the story, it would've been a lot better.

I nearly gave 5 stars, but because of it I gave 4 stars instead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique and charming, January 11, 2012
This review is from: Chime (Hardcover)
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'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 and Bleeding Hearts and many more.

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.
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Chime
Chime by Franny Billingsley (Hardcover - March 17, 2011)
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