All day long, I kept telling myself, hey, you really need to sit down and write that review. And then instead, I did laundry. And I emptied the dishwasher. I went to the gym. I caught up on The Good Wife. I did pretty much EVERYTHING I could think of.
But there’s no avoiding it any longer.
I didn’t like this book at all.
I’m sorry. I know it came highly recommended. I know that some people adored it and even warned me that I’d be a weeping puddle of feelings at the end.
But I wasn’t. By the time I finished it, the only thing I felt was relief.
Plain Kate is a young girl somewhere in Eastern Europe, in a world filled with magic and witches, but not in a good way. Her mother died when she was born, and she was raised by her father, a kind and talented wood carver who taught her to create art from wood. When the plague comes to Kate’s small town (and of course, some innocent young women are burned, as they are thought to be the witches who caused the plague), Kate’s dad dies, too. For a while, Kate tries to live on her own, with her charming cat, Taggle. Until one day, a stranger comes to town, and offers Kate her “dearest wish” in exchange for her shadow.
And so begins Kate’s quest to get her shadow back.
The one thing I did like in Plain Kate was what Kate got in return for her shadow. SPOILER: She wishes that her cat could talk so that she wouldn’t be so lonely anymore. Taggle was awesome, and pretty much the only character I found at all tolerable.
Kate ends up leaving town, because they’ll burn her for sure when they notice her distinct lack of shadow. She ends up traveling around with a group of gypsy-esque folks, then being turned away from them for being a witch, but then joining forces with them to fight the real evil in the story. Honestly, by that point, I was so checked out, I’m not even sure that’s how it really went.
Erin Bow isn’t a bad writer at all. But this book was so stiff and stilted, and really just quite boring. (Note to narfna and malin — THIS IS WHY I THINK I DONT LIKE FANTASY. HELP!). I’m truly bewildered by all of the high ratings this book received and absolutely shocked that it is the January pick for my book club. Since joining (its part of the international Forever Young Adult group — the books are usually great!), we’ve read mostly good stuff. And even the books I didn’t love 100% were still better than most of the YA I was previously familiar with. Here’s hoping the February book is better!