Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Plain Kate

I picked up this book based on a brief description I read in my library's Wowbrary newsletter, followed by the glowing review I read about at Cat's book blog, Beyond Books.  (Thanks, Cat!) 

What an amazing experience this book is! I think it's my favorite fantasy novel that I've read since Kristen Cashore's Graceling.  It has an Eastern European, fairy-tale feel to it, with characters you will never forget, a fascinating magical system, and possibly the best cat ever to pad its way through a novel.  Taggle will steal your heart.

I hesitate to say too much about the plot, because it is definitely best to just jump in and go with it.  I will tell you that the heroine, Plain Kate, is an extraordinarily talented woodcarver, so skilled that, upon the death of her father, the townspeople find her carvings a little too uncanny.  When a plague befalls the town, she becomes an easy scapegoat to blame for the misfortune.  A stranger to the village singles her out, puts her in a position where she has no choice but to accept his help, paying a price for that help that turns out to have a greater impact than she could possibly imagine.  She and her beloved cat, Taggle, set forth on an unforgettable adventure, trying to set matters right.

Although this is marketed as a YA novel, it's one of those that will appeal to fantasy and fairytale lovers of all ages.  If you are in a reading slump, Plain Kate will set you back to rights, no doubt about it.  This is a powerful tale, beautifully written, and I highly recommend it.

Plain Kate by Erin Bow (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010)

Also reviewed at:
Beyond Books: "I don’t know who has the power to get books nominated for fancy awards, but I want this book up on every book award nomination list in the world. I want this book to win copious amounts of awards for how brilliant it is."
Bookalicious:  "Sometimes it takes a simple fairy tale to show you what you have been missing in your reading for so long."
Lesley's Book Nook:   "It’s Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast and Pinocchio and Little Red Riding-Hood as they were meant to be read, long before Disney got to them and wiped them clean of the grim horror that made them such powerful cautionary folk tales."


  1. I have already warned the author that if her next book makes me cry for 3 days after I finish it I am never going to speak with her again! :)

    I am so happy you enjoyed it. There is something in the story's simplicity that just makes it even more outstanding as a novel. I am certain it is my favourite book of 2010!

  2. I heard the author read from this book in the fall and decided that I really need to get a copy. After reading your review, I must get this book, soon. Thanks.

  3. Best since Graceling?? Wow, what a recommendation! I love a good fairy tale, so I'm off to the wishlist for sure!

  4. I have seen such glowing reviews of this book! It looks amazing!

  5. Cat - Yeah, I cried too. Do you think she'll write a sequel?

    Heather - Yes, you absolutely need to get to this one soon!

    Fyrefly - It is right up your alley. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

    Jenny - Oh, it is. You have to read it right away! :-)


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