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Plain Kate Hardcover – September 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Witch hunts, prejudice, diabolical bargains... Plain Kate is a much darker book than you might expect based on the jaunty cover art. When you do reach the roof-walking scene, you'll recognize it immediately, but you might be surprised at the dire circumstances that surround it! Yet it's not without its share of brightness to balance it out: compassion, courage, love, heroic sacrifice, and a smattering of humor.
Plain Kate is written in the style of a fairy tale and draws heavily on Russian folklore. Erin Bow's prose, especially when describing nature or Kate's craft, is lovely and lyrical. The plot is epic in a way, since the fate of a country rests on the outcome, but at the same time it's a very intimate story. Almost all of the major characters turn out to be connected. The two major threads are Kate's struggle to stop the villain and to find a place to belong, and the villain's quest for revenge and the deep hurt at its core. The central events pit love against fear and bitterness in a beautiful, moving way.
I say "love," but I wish to clarify that I don't mean romantic love. There is, in fact, no romance whatsoever. If you're sick of romantic YA fantasy, you'll like Plain Kate.Read more ›
Plain Kate values hers less than her life. To escape being burned at the stake, she trades her shadow to a witch-white stranger and takes to the road. She has her carving knife and a cat; she is not alone. Soon, though, someone will notice the way light passes through her. Who can she trust? Where can she belong when she's been marked by magic--what will Linay, cruel and kind, do with the shadow he's taken?
I can so easily imagine _Plain Kate_ as one of those books you read when you're young and remember forever, for all the people in it and the way the ending touched you. Honestly, I wish I could've read it at thirteen or fourteen so it could have the same immortal glow in my heart as the stories I cherished then. Perhaps it will manage that anyway. Erin Bow's first novel (I'd never guess it was her first if the book itself didn't tell me so) is a lovely, rending tearjerker, the unwanted adventure of a girl in an impossible position. Kate Carver is brave, and maybe wise, to wish above all else not to face the world alone. Sometimes her companion and sometimes her nemesis, Linay holds on to hate and love too tightly. These two show between them the danger in trading away any part of yourself.
Their story combines frequently-used elements of fantasy like witch burning and gypsies with rarer hints of Russian culture and rich Russian folklore. A little past the halfway mark the tone of the book shifts, when Linay and Kate meet again. Events, mantled in a chill fog, flow towards disaster from that point on. The finale and its aftermath demand a box of tissues close at hand. This climax is where the story stumbles, though, in a way that hurts it, because the final sequence of events is confusing, as is the logic behind them.Read more ›
Not just Kate, but Plain Kate, this girl in medieval Russia (or some Slavic country!) barely manages to survive after the death of her father, a wood carver. For one thing, even though she is a talented carver herself, the guild of carvers sends a man to take over her father's business and home, leaving her living in the tiny street stall where her father used to sell his work.
Even so, Plain Kate is getting by until the arrival of a strange man named Linay who offers to buy her shadow in exchange for granting her a wish. When Plain Kate turns him down, he proceeds to use his magical powers to frame her in the eyes of the villagers as a witch, a charge they're all too willing to accept.
Knowing she will die without some kind of assistance, Plain Kate agrees to sell her shadow to Linay. In return, he gives her supplies and the companionship she longs for in the unexpected form of her cat being able to talk. Telling her cat to keep his mouth shut, Plain Kate manages to convince the Roamers (gypsies) to let her join them on their journey out of town.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I picked this book up because I was looking for some light summer reading. Plain Kate is written in a third person, conversational style that drew me in right away. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
My daughter and I listened to this on audio--twice--and are now buying the book to be able to savor at our leisure. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amelia Richardson Dress
Excellent. Dark yes, but in the end Plane Kate overcomes her challenges with the possibility of living happiily ever after. Read morePublished 10 months ago by T Francis Sharp
This book came so highly recommended. When that happens you wonder if it can possibly live up to its hype. It does. As someone said it will pull at your heart strings. Read morePublished 11 months ago by L. J. Rinaldi
Perfect. Made me cry for an hour. Heartwarming. Important. I'll keep this book forever.Published 15 months ago by Kindle Customer
The book came in perfect condition and is one of my favorites i especially like the cover.Published 16 months ago by otilia
If you like a light, quick, but well-written fantasy/fairy tale you'll enjoy this book. Bonus points for having a crazy villain who actually has a reason for doing what they're... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Kate
This is a lovely tale of a girl and her brave and faithful talking cat. Such a fun fantasy to read! Kate, the daughter of a wood carver and an excellent carver herself, encounters... Read morePublished 23 months ago by David's Wife