Buddy Review| Tithe – Holly Black

We saw that Faerieathon was being organized and were very curious. We’ve both wanted to read The Cruel Prince, so why not start from the beginning with the readathon? On top of that the new and improved The Modern Faerie Tales was released and it’s so pretty. So far Tithe is the only one we’ve gotten around to, so today we want to share our thoughts about this book!


“You can break a thing, but you cannot always guide it afterward into the shape you want.”


Candyce The original cover for Tithe is very interesting. I love the black and green, but I have to say the cover of this bundle of all three books is so pretty! Even though I was curious about these books, this was most definitely also a cover buy, haha.

Isabelle I really like the new cover for the bind-up and I’m happy I got this edition. The longer you look at the cover, the more details you see! If I’m being honest I don’t really like the old covers and don’t think I would’ve ever picked them up based on that.

“Crippled things are always more beautiful. It’s the flaw that brings out beauty.”


Candyce Tithe is definitely a lot darker than a lot of the YA fantasy books that I’ve read and that was actually quite surprising. The story starts off with Kaye describing where she is and that she’s smoking and drinking. It’s clear the mother-daughter role isn’t all that great, but that definitely started off making me want to know more.

That’s where things get tricky. I love Holly’s writing. My book is actually filled with quite a few tabs for quotes or pieces of the story I want to remember or look back on. On the other side, it felt like it took forever before anything really happens. We get introduced to her best friend, Corny and Roiben. Except the little peeks here and there is about it. It’s mostly Kaye’s day to day life with her slowly figuring her life is a bit different than she thinks.

I honestly think if that part was cut a bit shorter, the book would’ve gotten a higher rating from me. I missed a lot of world building (the faerie world is visited, but the whole scene felt lacking to me). I need more background and politics. That would’ve made the events a lot easier to follow and maybe more understandable.

A lot also has to do with the fact that Tithe was published in 2004. In 15 years the YA world has changed a lot and I’ve read so much, it’s just clear this is an older book. I want to end on a higher note and say here that I do love the fact that the faeries are pretty dark and evil. I loved that this author didn’t make them more friendly or that they all change their ways at the end. That was something I really enjoyed!

Isabelle Tithe is a pretty short book and I was expecting to fly through it. This was my first book by Holly Black without it being coauthored. And I did enjoy her writing, but like Candyce I also had a lot of issues with the story.

It was interesting that the story started off pretty dark, with smoking and drinking and just a very unhealthy life style and mother-daughter relationship. Unfortunately for me it went downhill pretty fast. Kaye is very unlikeable and not in a ‘good’ way. I didn’t care about her at all and wasn’t really interested in reading about her. Even though this is a short book I kind of wanted to DNF it, just felt like a shame since I have the complete series and I’m part of this readathon.

Compared to how short the book is, we spend quite a while at the start of the story without really knowing where the story is going. I really wish we would’ve gotten to Faerie sooner so that part of the story could’ve been developed more. For me that was probably the biggest disappointment. The story just didn’t feel developed at all. The plot could’ve been a lot more if we got more details, would’ve gotten to know the characters better and just made to care more.

I know the story is about 5 years old and that plays a part in all of this. But I saw a lot of 3 stars with people saying it wasn’t great but it was fun. Unfortunately I also didn’t think it was all that much fun. I do plan on keeping on going, partly because I own all three books, partly because I want to do the readathon and partly because I did like the faeries. They are super dark and twisted and I think that was ahead of 2014 for sure. It also makes me more excited to finally read The Cruel Prince for this readathon. I didn’t realize these faeries were so dark and I loved that part!

If curiosity killed the cat, it was satisfaction that brought it back.


Candyce Let’s start off with Kaye, our main character. She’s definitely not perfect and that was a breath of fresh air. A lot of protagonists in the YA genre are described as perfect or nearly so. It’s clear from the start she isn’t and that was interesting. I think her upbringing definitely has a lot to do with that. She doesn’t go to school anymore and basically comes and goes as she pleases.

That being said, Kaye was a very unlikable character for me. I just didn’t connect. There were decisions made and some reactions that really had me questioning the story. Also, finding out there is a lot more to you than meets the eye seems like something most would freak out about. In many ways she seems to calm and maybe not even that curious.

Corny was a character that had a few chapters in his POV. I thought he could’ve been really interesting, but his story seemed lacking. We know he goes to Faerie and is with a male faerie. Things go pretty wrong (don’t want to spoil), but we don’t see any of that from his POV. That left me wondering why we got his chapters at all.

Roiben I think was my favorite character out of all of them and we got the least of him, haha. Of course, like in most books he sacrifices a lot for Kaye. I felt like there was a lot more to him than meets the eye, but again, there was a lot of information lacking. Roiben is definitely a character with potential.

Isabelle We don’t see that much of the characters and I actually have trouble telling you about them. First off there’s Kaye and like I said, I didn’t like her at all. I just didn’t care about her but also thought something was very off with her. She did some very questionable things and she didn’t feel bad about it at all. I can see where she comes from a bit but at the same time that isn’t a good enough excuse for me.

Looking back at this book I think Kaye was one of the biggest problems I had with it. I just wanted to smack her in the head every other page and wasn’t rooting for her at all. She’s a pretty crappy friend in my opinion and I couldn’t get behind any of the relationships she formed.

Corny was such a weird addition to the story and I don’t really understand what the point of him was.  He did bring some diversity and I think it would have been interesting to read from his POV for a bit. But at this point he just annoyed me and felt quite unnecessary.

And then lastly we have Roiben. Another person I just didn’t care about. I do think he had potential and I would’ve liked to read more about him and get to know him better. He could be quite interesting but for know he wasn’t even my favorite faerie. The faeries are pretty brutal but I didn’t really get that vibe from Roiben and think that’s a shame!

Even though we weren’t completely happy with this book, we do want to continue this trilogy. It seems that Valiant scores a bit higher in ratings on Goodreads, so we’re curious. Have you read Tithe? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Buddy Review| Tithe – Holly Black

  1. I’m not surprised by this, I read it back when it was first pubbed and loved it…but it definitely has some problematic content in it and if you don’t like the main character I can understand why it just didn’t work for you.

    1. I probably has a lot to do with the fact we’re only reading this now! Hopefully we’ll enjoy the second book more!

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