Tithe – Holly Black

“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.”
Kaye has been following her mother’s, Ellen’s, band around Philadelphia or years. Knowing it doesn’t pay much and not enjoying school she dropped out at 14 and worked full time in a Chinese restaurant. Then one evening, after a gig, her mother’s boyfriend tries to stab her. Ellen decides they are going home, to the place where Kaye can see faeries. Kaye can’t wait to see her old fay friends again but what’s waiting for her when she goes back to her hometown is far from friendly.
The solitary fay are in need of a tithe, a sacrifice, to maintain their freedom, they hatch a plan for Kaye to act as their sacrifice but agree that they will free her before it can be fully conducted. Kaye trusts her friends and goes along with it, not knowing that the court faeries may be harder to trick than she believes.

I have only heard good things about Holly Black and Tithe was my first delve into her amazing imagination. The world which is created in Tithe is amazing, and very dark. Even before you come across the Faerie world, Kaye’s life doesn’t exactly sound easy, her mother is practically an alcohol, she’s a high school dropout, working full time to look after her mother and all she sees herself as is an outsider.
The Faerie world makes the book become even darker, almost frightening. The enchantments that the faeries cast, and how they have ultimate power, could be terrifying! I loved the world but at the same time hope like hell that I never come across any beings like them!
The storyline of Tithe was amazing, everything was there to make it a brilliant book, but I don’t think I could personally class it as a favourite. I think parts of the book were very confusing and I couldn’t quite get a grasp on what the faeries were meant to look like sometimes. Occasionally I’d believe that they were glamoured when something happened to make it sound like they weren’t. It was very confusing. I also found the enchantments a bit confusing, I wasn’t fully aware when characters were enchanted or not. I don’t know if it was me skim reading but I just got thrown out whilst reading it a few times.
I loved the characters in this book, Kaye was very kick-ass and she obviously took no shit, along with Janet. Cordy was awesome, especially when you find out about his revelation, that was the funniest part of the book! And a for the faeries,  it took a while to realise some of their characteristics and why they were the way they were but I loved them, obviously Roiben and Lottie-lou!
I really wished I enjoyed Tithe more as everything was there to make it an amazing book but I just found parts of it a bit confusing and I couldn’t lose myself in it like I usually can with books I love!
Tithe was published in the UK by Simon and Schuster in 2004. Holly Black is also known for her “Curse Workers” series and for being the co-writer of The Spiderwick Chronicles.


  • Julianne

    I also loved the storyline and the world and the characters of Tithe, but I just felt like there wasn’t enough of it, if that makes any sense? It was like it had really been kept to the bare bones at times, like we didn’t get enough of a chance to really get used to everything and to know the characters well. I’m planning to re-read it soon so that I can write a review and then read the rest of the series though.

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