REVIEW: Plain Kate by Erin Bow

PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • Author Website: ERIN BOW
  • Sneek Peak: First Chapter
  • Rating: YYYY


  • 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 charms are so fine that some even call her "witch-blade" -- a dangerous nickname in a town 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 town that seems set to burn her, 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 that she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.
    REVIEW

    PLAIN KATE is an exceptional read, steeped in Russian folklore that gradually unfolds before your very eyes to reveal a story that is interwoven with magic, poetry and wonder. Erin Bow has crafted a haunting and darkly mysterious tale that presents a strong and unique heroine proving that "Plain Kate" is anything but plain.

    PLAIN KATE centers it's story on a girl named for the books title, a young girl with no family, home and after a dark promise with a nefarious musician, left shadowless. Yet, regardless of how obscure and dismal Kate's life appeared to me, I was not given time to pity her because "Plain Kate" with her quiet strength and talented hands did not let her present situation set her fate in stone. Kate's discovers, with supreme horror where her shadow is and what is being used for and that knowledge leaves her with only one choice....a choice that can ultimately kill her.

    I read PLAIN KATE on the recommendation of another (thank you! Pam) and it was not long before I was engrossed within it's pages. I loved the superstitious and campfire-like story telling that had my total concentration. I felt as if I was transported, floating on the melodious words that gave this story it's soul. Among it's many memorable characters, Taggle the talking cat, had some of the best lines and moments and it always brought forth a chuckle whenever he was on the pages. Erin Bow did a remarkable job with this story especially in regards to Linay and his melodous songs that were poetically magical.

    PLAIN KATE is a great story full of adventure and magic without the trappings of romance that can overwhelm and detract a story from it's true course. If you seeking a story that is has a strong heroine, that is rich in folkloric story telling with somber and bright moments then this is a great read that will have all of your attention and awe.

    PLAIN KATE VIDEO that is made of awesome

    5 comments on "REVIEW: Plain Kate by Erin Bow"

    Cass (Words on Paper) wrote: September 26, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    THAT VIDEO REALLY IS AWESOME!! Thanks for posting it up. :)

    Great review, I can't wait to read this one!


    Vampires and Tofu wrote: September 26, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    WONDERFUL trailer!! Wish they were all so fabulous. And great review, I now must have this book =)


    Pam wrote: September 27, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Oh how much I love Plain Kate. I am so glad you liked it!!


    Bere wrote: October 2, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    This is such a brilliant review, Nancy! Plain Kate seems like a wonderful read. I will definitely be adding it to my wishlist. The trailer is wicked cool! Loved it. Thanks Nancy! =)


    Wings wrote: October 12, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    this sounds really good! i would love to delve deep into russian folklore at some point and this really sounds like the book for it

    great review! and thanks for posting the video! if only they were all that awesome!


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