Holly Black,
(Simon & Schuster, 2002)

It begins like a typical story about disenfranchised teens. Kaye is 16 and likes to hang with her friends. She enjoys the mall. She has squabbles over boys. She doesn't like school. She challenges authority in a variety of minor ways, but nothing too serious.

She also has vivid memories of the imaginary friends of her youth. But in Kaye's case, they weren't imaginary.

And she's not who she thinks she is.

Holly Black has made a bold foray into the growing field of urban fantasy with Tithe, a fabulous book for adult and young adult readers alike. The Seelie and Unseelie Courts, now residing in the faery realms of New Jersey, are approaching the date of the seven-year tithe to the solitary fey (replacing the tithe to Hell of song and story). Politics and intrigue are at play here, however, and the Unseelie choice for the "honor" isn't exactly what they expected. Kaye, meanwhile, must try to save a friend and mend a friendship while dealing with her own life-altering discoveries and attempting to survive and confound the machinations of the Gentry. Along the way, she learns that friends aren't always friends, foes aren't always enemies, victory has consequences and it isn't always over when you think.

Tithe is an exciting book, particularly from a new author, and I was so absorbed in the plot I finished it in under a day. Black has a highly detailed touch when it comes to description, particularly when describing the differences in human and faery senses. Her dialogue sounds real, and the actions and reactions of her characters ring true. I eagerly await her next book.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 18 January 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.