Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Plain Kate, by Erin Bow

Plain Kate
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have been hesitant to write this review. It seems that almost everyone likes this book, except me.

Plain Kate’s world is one where witches are burned, people believe in curses and trades, such as that of wood carver, is ruled through a guild. Basically, the world of fairy tales. But, not the happy fairy tales of today; the book is more akin to the original fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers. After Plain Kate’s father dies, she is all alone and shunned by her town’s folk because they think she is a witch. She strikes a bargain, her shadow in exchange for supplies to get our of town and a wish.

The characters are wonderfully described and their intricacies are woven into the setting such that it is all interconnected. The prose is indeed quite excellent. Erin Bow is a gifted writer and her prose is very good.

So what is the problem then? Erin Bow gave us characters we should care about, especially Kate and Taggle. But, I could not find myself caring enough to feel any empathy for them. The book was so depressing and so terribly slow, I kept putting it down and coming back to it a week later. It took me a long time to read (months). I just could not engage, or care enough to keep reading. After I finally finished I sighed in relief because it was done.

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