Title: Plain Kate
Author: Erin Bow
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published: 1 September 2010
Rating: 7 / 10
Synopsis: "A debut novel that's as sharp as a knife's point.
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." (from GoodReads)
My Review: I read this for my FYA book club meeting in January. It was definitely not what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it. It's a beautifully-written fairy tale with a talking cat - Who doesn't love a talking cat?!? - and it's also one of the saddest books I've read in a long time. In fact, I waited to write this review because I was hoping some distance would help. Seriously, the last twenty minutes I was reading this book, I had tears pouring down my face and was a snotty, emotional mess. The tone of the entire book is pretty depressing throughout (mostly because Plain Kate CANNOT CATCH A BREAK, sheesh), but that ending just absolutely did me in. The world-building is phenomenal and fantastical and the characters are realistic and sympathetic. Even the bad guy has a totally justifiable reason for being bad (which is understandable, given the author's note at the end). But mostly, there are tears. I'm getting upset all over again just thinking about it.
If you have reviewed this book as well, leave me a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.