Reviewed by Tehani Wessely
Briony’s life is not an easy one. For starters, she knows she is a witch, and everyone knows that witches are destined to be hanged until dead. Her twin sister Rose needs constant care, and Briony promised her dead stepmother she would look after Rose all the time. Their father is aloof, their town superstitious and surrounded by strange creatures and elemental beings that only very few can see. When the enthusiastically engaging Eldric arrives in town, Briony does her best to avoid entanglement with this wild, golden young man, but he nonetheless becomes inextricably involved in her unusual life, and helps her to learn to understand her sister, her town, and herself.
Packaged beautifully in the hardcover Bloomsbury edition, Chime is dark and twisty in ways the reader does not anticipate. Billingsley imbues her characters with a richness of spirit that lights up the page, particularly the conflicted Briony but not neglecting the secondary characters either. The author’s sensitive yet honest portrayal of Rose as a damaged but functioning person in her own right was a feature of the story, and Briony’s journey of self-discovery was authentic and powerful.
Billingsley’s writing style is not necessarily an easy journey to flow with, but the culmination of character, solid story and unexpected action is worth the winding narrative. From beginning to end, Chime is a disarmingly enchanting read!