Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans are so fine that some even call her “witch-blade”: a dangerous nickname in a country where witches are hunted and burned in the square.
For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.
Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.
Genre: Young Adult
1. Plain Kate
Beautifully written. I adored the way PLAIN KATE sounded like someone was telling me a story throughout the entire book... as opposed to the beginning starting out fairy tale-y, only to lose steam and transform into a typical 3rd person novel. That made my reading experience all the more exciting. I mean, when you read a book, you expect to either read it in first person or third person POV. And when you read it in third, you expect to hear about multiple characters (usually, at least) while also hearing/seeing how they feel throughout the story, right?
Well, you don't get that in as much detail in PLAIN KATE. Or at least, I don't think you do. I could be wrong, and my excuse is literally feeling as if I was teleported back into that time. I felt like I was in a dream the multiple times I opened my book up, and I think it's because of the writing style.
Plain Kate's life is tragic and full of heartbreak. Yet, despite that, she continues on with her life. It was inspiring. I felt bad for her. I loved her cat companion, Taggle, while detesting Linay. I felt accepted when Kate felt accepted. My chest ached whenever she struggled to fit in or felt achingly alone in the world. I was shocked when she was in the cage and the lantern scene occurred. I felt miserable for Kate. It wasn't her fault that all those horrible things happened, and yet, she's the scapegoat. It made me want to strangle Linay.
Interestingly enough, I felt oddly detached from this book at one point. Go figure the lantern scene would change my mind and rekindle my adoration of this dark, beautiful story.
PLAIN KATE is a refreshingly new addition to the YA genre. This book would be so much fun to listen to on audio as opposed to reading. (I don't do audio books, but I would definitely consider trying them out if PLAIN KATE was my first experience). Especially if the speaker had a calm, soothing voice. It would definitely be something I'd like to listen to as I settled down for the night... for the first half, at least.
If you're curious about PLAIN KATE, I would suggest reading if you're in dire need of a unique YA book that doesn't focus on an unrealistic teenage love (or love triangle). Like I've said, this novel is a breath of fresh air and was beautifully written. Definitely looking forward to future works by Erin Bow, and I think you should be, too (which means... go read this book, already!).