Tithe, Holly Black

I’ve been trying to figure out a mental box to put this book into for the past week. So far, no box fits.

I tried Paranormal Romance (e.g. twilight)
-Kaye hasn’t ever been one of the cool or popular kids in any school she goes to. But after she moves back home for her mother’s sake, a popular boy starts following her around, obsessed with her.
Only she’s the one who’s accidentally glamourized him, and he’s not enticing at all. He’s so far from being the romantic attachment that it’s laughable.
I tried Faerie Seduction.
One of the main characters is seduced by a Knight of the Unseelie court
Only the said main character is also a male, and that does not end romantically in the least. HECK no.
I tried Tam Lin
Kaye meets a mysterious knight in the woods, and soon finds herself drawn into a mysterious web of seduction, sacrifice and betrayal surrounding the ritual sacrifice know as the Tithe.
Only, Roiben isn’t the one being sacrificed for the Tithe, or if he is, it’s already happened, and the rescue is not in the traditional sense, and the whole notion of rescue is kinda iffy. Who’s rescued again?
The best summing up of the story I can find is this quote from the book.

“What about you and your knight? I mean, look at [the scratches on] your arms; is that normal?”
“Makes me shiver when I touch them,” Corny said reverently.
“At least we’re scaring each other.”
“Yeah, well, I better get back home. What’s next on the faerie agenda?”
Kay shrugged. “I get sacrificed, I guess.”
“Great. When is that?”

And no, I know it doesn’t actually make any sense. ^_^ But it gives you a flash of the sense of the book.

The major sense of the whole book, for me, is people coping with things outside of their control. Kaye, Roiben, Corny, Janet; they’re all just pawns in the hands of all the Adults/Royalty/Courts/So-Called-Friends. OH, and TRUST NO ONE. (Wow, that was incoherent. It’s a good book, okay? I am only coherent about meh or bad books!)
I mean, it’s also GRITTY. I almost put the book down several times in the first few chapters, just because it felt nasty to read. (I kept reading because of my declaration on Goodreads that I was reading it, and several people wanting to know what I thought about it. And then I needed to know how it ended.) I don’t usually read Urban Fantasy, or if I do I suppose it’s more hopeful. Kaye is not a hopeful character, and her world is not pretty.
Despite the off-putting nature of the first part of the book, I’m glad I kept going, and I even think I’ll look up more by the author. This is a book that stays with you, and gets better on reflection. (Unlike Twilight Some Books I could mention but won’t.) I gave it four stars out of five. (I am so glad that my edition has this cover art. It’s my fave. ^__^)

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