Chime

( 56 )

Overview

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment....

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Chime

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Overview

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Finalist for the National Book Award in Young People's Literature.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After too long of an absence, Billingsley (The Folk Keeper) returns with the quirky but rich tale of 17-year-old Briony, who is convinced that she's a witch. Not only is Briony responsible for her twin sister Rose's disabling fall from a swing years earlier, causing brain-damage, she also believes she caused her stepmother's death. The 20th century has arrived in backwater Swampsea, England, and with it such wonders as railroads, motorcars, and pumping stations to drain the bog. But the supernatural Old Ones are unhappy with technology and have sent a fever to punish the children of Swampsea, including Rose. Desperate to save her sister's life, Briony is torn between her painful belief in her own irredeemably evil nature and her attraction to handsome, newly arrived bad boy Eldric Clayborne. "How could I bear it, Eldric living with us, this non-child, this boy-man? I'd have to keep on my Briony mask.... I'd have to keep my tongue sharp and amusing. Already I was exhausted." Filled with eccentric characters—self-hating Briony foremost—and oddly beautiful language, this is a darkly beguiling fantasy. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
VOYA - Laura Panter
Seventeen-year-old Briony Larkin believes herself a witch. Briony's endearing, supportive stepmother has convinced her she is the cause of her family tragedies, specifically to her socially-challenged identical sister, Rose. To atone for her actions, Briony refuses to love. She will not cry and she will hate herself every day for harming her family with her anger and jealousy. She has banished herself from her beloved, magical Swampsea marsh where she communicated with the Old Ones through her gift of second sight. Her crushing guilt over her witchery motivates her to burn all her writings, for reasons that, to Briony, are cloudy and shrouded with lies. When Eldric comes to live with the Larkins, he awakens Briony's true spirit and allows her to become herself. As terrible happenings begin again, Briony begins to realize the truth of her past. Her misconceptions of true evil find Briony about to be hanged as a witch, until the secrets within her family are revealed. Billingsley creates an original tale of terrifying mythical marsh creatures and a charmingly romantic love story, even when the voice of Briony is, at times, as murky as her confusion. Rose and Eldric are characters the reader yearns to learn more about, but the secondary characters could use more dimension. The book is slow to engross readers, but those fantasy fans who soldier on will find a deceivingly delicious dark tale of eccentric characters and gripping suspense. Some may guess as to the conclusion of the twist-and-turn mystery; however, Billingsley gives a most satisfying end to a shaky beginning. Reviewer: Laura Panter
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Born precisely at midnight, that eldritch hour between one day and the next, Briony has always been a bit fey. But it isn't until her twin sister, Rose, is hurt while they are swinging together and her stepmother is tragically crippled in a freak accident that Briony comes to believe that she is a witch, doomed to end her life dangling from the hangman's noose. She only begins to hope that she might not be quite as wicked and damned as she had thought when she is befriended by a newcomer to the village, a beautiful boy with leonine grace and electric eyes. The magnificently dark romantic setting and lovely, lyrical language and imagery enhance a novel that is both lushly sensual and shivery. Billingsley's YA debut is a memorable one.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803735521
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/17/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 243,162
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Franny Billingsley is the award-winning author of four books, including The Folk Keeper—winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction—and Chime, which received six starred reviews and was a National Book Award finalist. A graduate of Tufts University and the Boston University School of Law, Franny left the practice of law to write full-time and hasn't yet looked back.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 24, 2011

    A world of the Old Ones

    My thoughts...Chime is a unique story full of folklore and magic. I have mixed opinions of the book, while there were some strong elements, another huge part left me at a loss.

    The plot and character development in Chime were brilliantly done. The characters were very unique. The heroine, Briony is convinced she is an evil witch. She does not allow herself to experience happiness, pride, or anything that a normal girl her age would experience. She carries around a block of grief and regret that practically sinks her into the swamp she is surrounded by. Her sister Rose has the traits of an autistic learner, and Briony is her keeper. Readers will fall for the charming Eldric. He has the bad-boy appeal with a worldly knowledge. It is no wonder Briony quickly falls for him, despite her best efforts. The other characters in the book are mainly magical beings. While there isn't much direct interaction with them, they play a significant role. The beings are complex and mysterious. I would love to read more in this world to learn more about the beings and their legends.

    The plot of Chime is very well crafted. While there is some predictability, I was amazed at how everything came together in the end. The legends of the swamp really made for an interesting story. These legends are real to the characters; the witches can be seen doing "witchy" things, and waves seemingly come out of nowhere. There was quite a bit of mystery infused with the characters lives. Readers will also find a touch of romance, and a few scenes that are a bit scary. Overall, the story is very well rounded and interesting.

    My only issue with Chimed was I really struggled with the dialect of the characters. The story takes place in Old England in a time of witch hunts and persecution. The language in the book fits, but it took me a long time to adjust to it. It was distracting and I found myself rereading to understand the conversations. It just seemed the disrupt the flow of the story (in my opinion). However, this did not keep me from continuing to read and enjoying the story.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful and Unique!

    Briony is a witch, and everything bad that has happened to her family (including her sister's accident, which left her mentally handicapped, and her stepmother's arsenic poisoning, which no one really knows if it was murder or suicide) is Briony's fault. Her stepmother made it very clear that it was her witchy ways that have caused their family grief, and if she wants to keep herself from being hanged by the townspeople, she needs to stay away from the bog. No more talking to the "Old Ones", or various monsters that dwell in the bogs of Swampsea unless she wants more bad things to happen.

    Briony manages to keep her distance and ignore the voices of the spirits that call to her, but after the arrival of Eldric, a young man who has come to live with she and her family, things begin to change. One evening, Briony's sister goes missing, and Briony has no choice but to go after her. Rose is her responsibility, and if anything bad happens to her, Briony will never forgive herself. When she and Eldric enter the bogs to search for Rose, the spirits start talking, once again engraving themselves in her mind. This is the same night that she, Eldric and the rescue crew see the three witches in the swamp. The town begins searching for the witches, and when found, the Chime Child, a being that lives half in the human world and half with the spirits, will help determine whether or not the accused are actually witches and if they should be hanged. Once the Chime Child is called, will Briony be able to keep her secrets hidden, or will her own witchy ways be revealed?

    In Chime, Franny Billingsley has crafted the most unusual story I have read in a very long time. She writes with a very distinct voice which makes Briony, and the town and townspeople of Swampsea, very engaging characters. There is plenty of mystery, romance and paranormal events to keep the pages turning. The only issue I had with the book was the love triangle that occurs. It felt unnecessary, but it didn't detract from the story too much. I am now a huge fan of Ms. Billingsley's and can't wait to read more of her work. One note on the writing: It is very different and takes a bit to get used to, but once you've immersed yourself in the rhythm, you are in for a heck of a ride. The rhythm and placement of words and phrases is what makes the book so unique. I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a paranormal book that is different from any of the other paranormal stories out there today.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Beautiful, entertaining and a charmingly witchy story.

    I actually wanted to cry at the end - both because it was over and because it was such a beautiful story. I think it is safe to say that I have never read anything resembling a plot like this one before. The story takes place during an older time in the quickly industrializing London and is told in a 16th century type of style ( eg. *insert British accent* Shan't we retire to bed?) by the protagonist Briony. Beautiful, clever and self-loathing Briony has a twin sister Rose who is -although funny and smarter than people think- is a bit mentally disabled and has the mind of a 13 year old child. Briony is convinced she is a witch, convinced she killed her kind stepmother because she is an evil witch and is also convinced that her emotions and her evil witchy powers caused Rose's disabilities. However, what Briony believes is literally put to trial when Eldric appears in town. Gorgeous, witty and impossible to dislike Eldric takes to Briony and Rose. Especially Briony. During the time they spend together, Eldric begins breaking down Briony's walls and making her question the many beliefs which she has cemented into her mind. Did Briony really kill her 'kind stepmother' because of her naturally evil self? Did she really hurt Rose and most importantly - is she as awfully and uncontrollably witchy as she thinks she is? Billingsley takes you through a dark, magical and powerfully entertaining world of witches, swamp sicknesses, bleeding hearts, unquiet spirits, a girl who isn't what she tells you she is and a sister who already knows all. I hope there is a sequel. 4.7 stars for Chime.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Chime by Franny Billingsley

    This was a great read. Its different from anything I've read before and a bit strange. The setting and folk lore are fascinating. The characters are fully fleshed out, lovable and understandable. The copy I read included an interview with the author and discussion questions which gave me food for thought. I highly recommend this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2012

    Mystery, suspense, romance, tension

    Great read, I found myself deeply engrossed in the characters and language. The writer's style is fresh, unique, but familiar enough that we can read it without fumbling. Though at points the character's arguments with herself felt redundant, the author had crafted her mind with such wit that it was still interesting. The tale has great action and a nice surprise that you may or may not be able to pick on as you read. I loved her twin, and I loved her and everything else about the story. You'll enjoy it because things are not what they seem and it'll definitely keep your interest high.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    A Let Down

    the setting is interesting,the time confusing,and the love story just horrbly developed,like most of the characters. Briony is the only full character in the story, but she is SOOO self-loathing. I mean, I understand she's depressed, but i hated being inside her head. the only character i liked was sweet little Rose, but she had too little a part in the story to stand out in the midst of her depressing sister and father, the weird townspeople, and boring Eldric.

    i was glad to read about 10 pages, but then had to force myself through another 70 before giving up.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    dont!

    by far one if the worst books ive ever read.. set in like old times but meets new time? there is no excitmemt. domt waste your money. terrible terrible terribe book.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Love it

    CHIME..ahhhhh, ok how do i say this with out making this to long, whoo
    I personally loved this book, the setting was set in the old times mixed with a little new, broiny the main charicter lives in a town called swampsea where the old ones( whitchs, and other un- natural) live and rome. She believes shes evil and needs to be hanged..

    A lttle jealousy,love,fire, sickness, and those of u who know..... a little ELDRIC

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2012

    Great concept

    I really liked the concept and story of CHIME. Briony's character is very interesting and complex. I was hooked on the book within the first two chapters but I found it really hard to understand certain parts of the book it seemed to flip from present time to Briony thinking about something in her past. I would have liked it was made clearer when we was switching times periods because for me it was hard to follow and seemed like Briony had A.D.D because she was constantly switching back and forth. But once I got use to the writing style it was easier to follow.

    I really liked the story itself though. I was very intrigued by the “swamp” and the creatures that lived there. It’s too bad that we didn’t get to learn more about them. I really liked Eldric he is very charming and kind of reminds me of Johnny Deep in Finding Neverland. I love Eldric and Briony’s relationship they act like they are the best of friends and have a wonderful brother/sister relationship even though they aren’t brother/sister.

    Overall, I felt that the story was good but the writing was hard to understand. If you like stories about witches this one is for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Heartwarming message

    I love, love loved Chime. I could relate to the main character even in the midst of her despising herself--haven't we all hated ourselves at one point or another? It was an engaging story, but the most wonderful part of Billingsley's book is the message at the end: we must be kinder to ourselves. No negative thoughts; those are unkind and unnecessary. Allow for mistakes and be patient with ourselves when we screw up.

    It is a wonderful story. I whizzed through "Chime" in under two days--though to be fair, I stayed up reading all night in order to do it. I just couldn't bear to put it down. It was the growth the main character goes through, however, that left me in (cathartic) tears.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Unique and charming

    Chime is a unique, charming tale. They prose isn't typically what you would find in a paranormal YA. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I would put Chime entirely in that genre, with its dashes of steampunk, historical fiction and magical realism influences.

    It took me a hot minute to get into because of the writing style, but once I did I was hooked. Briony is depressed and self-loathing, yet charming, hilarious and loving at the same time. She is a well-written, complex character, whose sense of duty and guilt keeps her in a perpetual state of mental anguish.

    Briony's love interest, Eldric, is one of the best written male protagonists I have seen in a long time. He's charming, funny, patient, intelligent and thoughtful. Their relationship is slowly developed and by the end, I was as in love with him as Briony (instead of scowling and annoyed as I can sometimes get over typical YA males/stalkers).

    Magical elements come into play via the town's swamp and its cast of characters such as: The Boogey Mun, witches, the Chime Child, Dead Hand, Mucky Face Brownie and Bleeding Hearts and many more.

    The mysteries of Chime were easy enough to figure out, but revealed in a calculated way that I enjoyed. Instead of being frustrated that the characters haven't figured out the secrets yet, I was anxious to see how everything turned out.

    In Chime, Billingsley has produced an amazing little gem of a novel and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    One of my favorite books. Beautifully written with a unique stor

    One of my favorite books. Beautifully written with a unique story. Gave me the fix of magic and a journey for self acceptance that I crave in books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    By anya

    Lolo xoxo totes cool

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Amazing book!

    Chime is by far my favorite book! The way it is written is so unique and beautiful. The main character Briony is so witty and intelligent and i love her so much! I would recommend this book to anyone thats looking for an actual well written book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Karley10:30

    So when did you get home fron church

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Loved it!

    It was so different from everything else i've read. It was kind of hard to get into at first, but i stuck with it and ended up loving it! I really enjoyed it and reccomend it to anyone looking for a good read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    **SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT** Chime is certainly my current favorite

    **SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT**
    Chime is certainly my current favorite book, and one of the most unique in plot, character and narration I've ever read. The books begins, "I've confessed to everything, and I'd like to be hanged. Now, if you please." With such a cynical, witty, down-to-earth voice, how can I NOT be sucked in? This voice continues as we travel in the protagonist, Briony Larkin's, head. She hates herself. It's because she's a witch that she's able to communicate with the Old Ones, the fey. It was her witchy powers that mentally disabled Rose (her twin sister), burned and flood the parsonage, and would have killed sweet Stepmother, if the arsenic hadn't gotten to her first. Briony can't tell anyone that she's a witch though, or she'd be hanged.

    Rose knows what Briony believes, and she knows the truth, an entirely different scenario. But Rose never breaks a secret, and so throughout the story, she is trying to hint to Briony, hoping Briony will guess the secret if she receives enough clues. "What's the difference between ten minutes before midnight and midnight?" she often says (in different wording), and she never allows Briony to hear the clocks chime the stroke of noon or midnight.

    And of course, there's Eldric, the charming, electric bad-boy the enters the Larkins' lives at the beginning of the book. He is to live with them, and slowly he breaks through Briony's witty mask, peaking at the true Briony, in all her "witchy folds", underneath. He teaches her boxing and fidgets her paperclip crowns, and Briony is able to laugh with him, something she had not done since stepmother died.

    Another important group of characters is the Old Ones in the Swamp. They call to Briony, beg her to tell them stories as she once did. But didn't Stepmother always prove, Briony + Swamp + Old Ones = Explosion? No, she cannot communicate with them. Not anymore.

    This book is a fantastical mix of mystery, romance, paranormal/fantasy, and I personally believe, coming-of-age. Nothing is as it seems to be. Briony sees the world clearly in black and white; Eldric and Rose teach her that it's really different tones of gray (and Rose would know; she has an eye for color). And maybe-- just maybe-- Briony isn't that dark a shade. I also love the narration style: the wording and language of the 1900s, mixed with Briony's gorgeous sense of wit and sarcasm, really pulled me in and makes the tale unique.

    All the characters are well-developed and well-placed, in my opinion, and the plot twists your mind into a dozen different angles. The ending was fairly easy to guess at about half-way through, but that did not destroy the beauty of the tale in the slightest. After all, a journey isn't about the destination; it's about getting there, and Billingsley carved an endearing road to tread on. 5 stars for such a well-crafted novel.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    I don't even want to put one star down for this book because it

    I don't even want to put one star down for this book because it sucksss!!!!! One or maybe the top worst book I have ever read. It is disturbing and the plot is poor.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    I didn't like this book at all. Reading the synopsis made Chime

    I didn't like this book at all. Reading the synopsis made Chime seem like a great, interesting, unique read but... The book slowly became repetitive after the first fifty or so pages and there was barely any emotion coming from the main character, Briony. I know because she is a witch she isn't suppose to feel because she's "evil" but without any emotion in the story it'shard for the author to grab the reader's attention.

    The story started off pretty okay, but after fifty pages of Briony just repeating "I need to watch Rose" or "I need to protect Rose" it got old pretty fast.

    The only part of the story that actually grabbed my attention was the interesting dialect, as the story is set in the 1700s when there were witch hunts and hangings. Overall, this story definitely wasn't, and never will be, one of my favorites.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Chime was a bit of a difficult read for me. At first, I was thro

    Chime was a bit of a difficult read for me. At first, I was thrown off by the writing of the author and the time period and setting. The language was different, the style of writing was different, the thoughts of the protagonist were different–everything at first was a little skewed, making me a little disoriented. But gradually I adjusted, and I found that I could really enjoy this story of both magic and love–and hard decisions.

    The story is told through the perspective of Briony Larkin, our protagonist. Hearing her thoughts was interesting–in addition to the feel of another time period and setting, the constant self-hating Briony inflicted on herself was unique. I’ve never really read a book with such a quirky yet masochistic character.

    Another character of interest is Eldric. Oh, Eldric, Eldric, Eldric. I loved his bantering with Briony, teasing her, understanding her to an extent no one else had … I loved his connection with Briony, who thought herself not worthy of love. I loved it. He was the perfect remedy for Briony.

    Overall, Chime was an interesting read. It didn’t have the usual paranormal romance: no vampires, no werewolves. There was still that passion between Briony and Eldric that all paranormal romances have, but Chime was definitely a unique novel–one that anyone who’s looking for something different might like.

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