November 15, 2010

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Release Date: September 1, 2010
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic Canada
Pages: 311
Review Source: Won a copy from YA Book Shelf

Synopsis: (from
Plain Kate lives in a world of magic and curses, where cats can talk and shadows can bring back the dead. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans seem to reveal hidden truths about their owners. But she and her village have fallen on hard times: Kate's father dies, crops fail, and a strange sickness is spreading across the countryside. The village is looking for someone to blame, and for her skill with a knife, Kate is accused of witchcraft.

Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: If Kate gives him her shadow, he'll grant her heart's wish, and he'll also find a way for her to escape the angry townspeople. Kate reluctantly agrees, not realizing that she's given a powerful tool to a man driven mad with grief. Aided by new friends and armed with the carving knife that has never failed to show her the truth, Kate must stop Linay in his terrible plan of revenge and become the heroine she knows is within her.

My Thoughts:
I think I could give four stars to this book just for Taggle alone. I’m what you might call a “cat person,” so reading about this great cat character was a huge bonus. To me, Taggle was a huge part of the book. He really represented the changes in Plain Kate, and he did this while being both deliciously catty and wise in a not quite human way at the same time. Besides Taggle, though, this book really resonated with me. It truly felt like an old world fairy tale, with symbols, witches, the weather representing the mood, and the buying of shadows. Kate is a lovely character, both strong and sad, and I really rooted for her as I read the book, wanting her to find the love and acceptance she so desired. This book is so different from all the typical YA books out there, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good fairy or folk tale, or a book with strong characters and mythology behind them.


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  1. Ok, I'm sold on Taggle, alone! Fabulous review, Ashley! I'm definitely going to pick this one up :)

  2. Every review I've seen of this book has been fantastic, I really need to get it. I love fairy tales and Taggle sounds like a fabulous character. Thanks for your thoughts on this one!

  3. Great review Ashley. This book sounds very different, and the image I have in my mind of Taggle is sort of like the Cheshire Cat!

  4. Taggle is sort of Cheshire-like! He also reminds me of Grim from the Iron Fey books.

  5. Oh, I really want to read this! It keeps staring at me from the bookshelves every time I go to the bookstore.

    Also, speaking of cat characters, have you read SABRIEL? Mogget is the best. Ever.

  6. I actually haven't read that one, but I've heard of it. Maybe I'll have to check it out. =)


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