Chime Franny Billingsley
Briony is a witch. It's her greatest secret, that and the fact that she's responsible for the head injury that led to her twin sister's mental issues* and the fact that she's the one the injured Stepmother. She didn't kill Stepmother, but she might as well have. She's the one who called up Mucky Face, who caused the river to swell and flood and knock Stepmother down.
Briony has the sight. She can see the spirits and creatures, she follows the Old Ones. The Boggy Mun is killing the town's children with the swamp fever. Her sister, Rose, is sick. The Boggy Mun tells her if she can stop Mr. Claybourne from draining the swamp, he'll make everyone well.
But things are complicated by Eldric, Mr. Claybourne's man-child son, with is mane of hair and easy ways. Things are complicated by Leanna, the new woman in town who captures Eldric's attention. Things are complicated by Cecil who seems to think he already has Briony's heart.
Things are complicated because Briony's a witch and has to take care for Rose.
Bad things first-- I had read a million reviews of this, so I knew going into it that Briony is well, HOLY UNRELIABLE NARRATOR BATMAN. On the other hand, I think I would have figured that bit out rather early on. As it was, I figured out what was happening and the truth of the situation pretty early on.
Also, Briony's ignorance and self-hatred gets really tiring. Not in a boring way, but her narrative voice mentally exhausted me. You know how after reading Junie B. Jones, you need some adult time because it's like talking to a hyper 6-year-old for the entire time you've been reading? Yeah, like that. But not a hyper 6-year-old (I'm not doing a good job explaining this.) I couldn't read it for long stretches of time because Briony just wore me out. Which was too bad because...
I FREAKING LOVE THIS BOOK. Just loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove. I just wanted to take Briony aside and sit her down and be like, GIRL! IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!
I loved the setting of Swampsea. Billingsley makes the haunted creepy swamp and thing of supreme beauty. It's also wonderfully atmospheric. I know the book takes place in high summer, but I wanted to read it on cold, misty, foggy days because they seemed to fit better. Briony hasn't been in the swamp, her beloved swamp for three years because, as Stepmother said, Briony plus the swamp plus the Old Ones led to bad things. But the death of Stepmother and the arrival of Eldric changes everything.
But more than anything, the language and the writing. If Billingsley wrote the manual that came with my paper shredder, I would reread that thing every week.**
Check it out:
The swamp hadn't changed... It was just as I remembered, a foreverness of mud and water, water and mud, and to the west, a blackness of trees.
"Rose left no tracks," said Eldric.
She hadn't, she couldn't. The swamp is too oozy and flowy and drifty to hold an imprint. In April, the swamp smells of winter, but the snow has melted; the season of mud has begun. Beyond the stretches of mud and water lay the end of the world, where the air turned blue. p 26
How could I have forgotten that the swamp has no beginning? How could I have forgotten that the
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Blog: Biblio File (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Chime Franny Billingsley
Blog: Books 'n' stories (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Tomorrow - over at BoB - Chime goes up against Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Now that the book I thought would go all the way has been kicked out, is it a little, um, self-pitying for me to pout and say I don't care which book wins? YES!! Yes, it is. I do have an opinion about this match.
On the other hand, I slipped into Daughter of Smoke and Bone like I was sinking into a fragrant long-awaited bath. Ahhhh, what a lovely setting, ahhhh, what intriguing characters, ahhhh, blue hair. Isn't this indulgent? And then.... there was the battle-y part.
Very Short Digression: I am getting really really REALLY tired of battle-y parts.
Back to BoB; The battle-y part was followed by the heart-breaking romance part and the WHAT??!!! ending in Daughter. That's a lot to pack into one book.
So, there you have it. Hard to get into but satisfying Chime goes against seductive, action packed Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
I could toss a coin as one of our esteemed judges did. I could use my Chobani Oracle Cup and pull out the name. But this time, I think I will just predict that.... Oh, my, this is so hard.
Chime over Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I think it was the battle-y part that pushed me over the edge. I suspect that excellent judge e. lockhart, will have a more intelligent take on this match. And, as I say over and over, I will not be disappointed in either book moving on.
StoryFUSION!!! So much StoryFUSION prep work going on. If you don't hear much from me this week, that is why. Check the Storytelling page for updates and schedules and stuff.
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Blog: Books 'n' stories (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Aaron Shepard, Carmen Agra Deedy, Franny Billingsley, Chime, storytellers, book reviews, Add a tag
Many storytellers become authors - and sometimes authors become storytellers. It sort of follows - spoken words, written down; written words, spoken out loud. Here are the websites of two storyteller/authors:
Aaron Shepard: I don't know which came first for Aaron - out loud storytelling or paper telling - but Aaron has enriched folktale collections for quite a while. I linked to his storytelling page where he offers some of his own stories to other tellers. Please read any copyright requirements before taking these stories to the public. But wait, there's more - more, more, more! - on Aaron's pages, including tips for storytellers, resources for teachers and parents and even Reader's Theater scripts! Thanks so much, Aaron.
|This face is made for storytelling|
Carmen Agra Deedy! Her latest book, The Cheshire Cheese Cat, written with Randall Wright and illustrated by Barry Moser, was one of my favorite books of the year. Carmen started doing commentaries for All Things Considered. I remember listening to her tell a story about trying to recreate one of her grandmother's dishes - rice pudding - as I drove home from work. She is a featured teller and speaker at storytelling conferences and literacy related events. She is a HUGE supporter of libraries, too.
Chime by Franny Billingsley. Since I just finished reading this last night, this book did not make my list of favorites..but it certainly IS one of my favorite books of the year. It was also a hard book to read, because the narrator and main character, has trouble separating her feelings from her story. Briony's ramblings make the story so diffused that the reader spends a lot of time shoving aside pieces of emotional lint. But these incomplete memories and moods create an atmosphere of dread. Don't go back into the Swamp, Briony! Listen to your dead Stepmother's words, Briony. DON'T listen to your dead Stepmother's words, Briony. Watch out for Rose - in more than one way. Can you trust Rose? Can you trust Eldric? Can you trust yourself?
In an imagined early 20th century English town, on the edge of the Swamp, 17-year-old Briony lives in the Parsonage with her distant father and her twin sister, Rose. Rose is "different". We'd likely say she had high-functioning autism, today. And Briony knows that Rose's differences are Briony's fault - because her dead Stepmother told her so. Her dead Stepmother told Briony many things, many awful, sad, confusing things - and promised to protect Briony Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro) (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Young adult author Lauren Myracle has withdrawn from consideration for the 2011 National Book Awards.
The author (pictured, with young fans) was named during the National Book Award announcement last week. According to the AP, a communication problem put Myracle’s Shine on the finalist list instead of Franny Billingsley‘s Chime.
Here’s more from the AP: “Her decision, announced Monday by Amulet Books, follows a miscommunication last week between judges and the award’s sponsors … Myracle said in a statement that she was asked by the foundation to withdraw to “preserve the integrity” of the awards process.”
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Blog: The Bookish Type (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I can honestly say I've never read anything like Chime -- I bow before Franny Billingsley's imagination. Everything from the language to the plot to the pacing has a style and rhythm all its own in this modern day Grimm's fairy tale. It's clear that Billingsley delights in language, using it in inventive and unusual ways. Her incredible wordsmithery gives flair to this gritty tale. Chime is an intelligent novel, with Dickensian wordplay and echoes of Shakespeare in the metaphysical musings on the immortality of literature. Yet this story is not pedantic or abstruse. The novel is earthy and intuitive, accessible to anyone who enjoys the monsters and magic that lurk in the human imagination.
This isn't a whitewashed Disney tale. Chime is dark and grim and macabre, definitely not a bedtime story for the faint of heart. Billingsley's unflinchingly visceral descriptions will be emblazoned on readers' minds. Life isn't always rainbows and butterflies, and the rawness of the tale acknowledges that truth. Life can be cold, hard, and unfair -- and in this story, it is. Yet there's always light at the end of the tunnel, and Briony's journey out of the darkness is heartening, if harrowing.
It's difficult to pin down the novel's time period -- it is almost timeless. While the Swampsea seems colonial, the allusions are more modern, and the tale itself seems ancient. Briony imbibes this ethereal quality, both wise and naive, selfish and selfless. She lays it all on the table for the reader, and her authenticity is undeniable and bracing. Briony is an unforgettable heroine. Her crystal clear cadence sets the tone for the novel: she can be cold and cynical, yet her life is so spectacularly harsh that readers can't help but sympathize with her. Her wonderful imagination shines through in every word, from her wry use of understatement to the personification of the Swamp which permeates the tale.
Eldric, the electric boy with the lion's eyes, is also not the typical hero. He's like a cross between Henry Tilney and Prince Po -- carefree and playful, yet surprisingly worldly. Readers will fall in love with lion-boy and wolfgirl, as Billingsley shows (not tells) their spine-tingling romance. Though readers may foresee the final truth, it's impossible to tell what twisting path the novel will take to reach it -- just hold on tight and enjoy the ride. Chime is utterly unique and brilliantly creative -- a master class effort from a phenomenal talent.
Click here to purchase Chime by Franny Billingsley. Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: I Just Wanna Sit Here And Read! (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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ARC: 320 Pages
Genre: YA Paranormal
Book From: Publisher*
Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.
Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.
Review by Jessica
CHIME, by Franny Billingsley brings you to a story unlike I have ever read before introducing new kinds of monsters, the traditional witches and solid characters to love!
I picked up this book and immediately I knew I was going to love it. It was near impossible to put this down and whenever I did put it down I was thinking about it like a woman obsessed! The plot was new and refreshing with a great narration voice from the main character.
Briony is my favorite character. I felt that I understood her. She is a twin and incredibly protective of her sister who seems to be a little nutty. She puts on a mask for the people around her, and I found that I could relate to that and Franny Billingsley beautifully described her masks and her self hatred for what she was.
Eldric at first to me seemed like the typical guy that comes in and sweeps the girl off her feet but as I progressed through the book I found he wasn't that guy at all and he actually had depth and character. I think I fell for the lion boy-man too.
The monsters in this were great, this unique story really got me excited. Billingsley combined swamp monsters and witches all in one and they all do something wickedly different. With so many monsters I did find it hard to keep up and remember who each of them were but it didn't effect my opinion on the book at all. This book was in one word...terrific.