CarvingTag Archives

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Order from:
Reason(s) for Reading:
  • I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about this book in the blogging community.
I  also recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

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.

My Review:

The amount of love for this book in the book blogging community is huge.  I keep seeing the name popping up and finally made the decision to cave and put it first and foremost in my pile of books – so I happily skipped off to the library and picked it up.

I shouldn’t have waited – seriously, this is a book to own.  I cannot wait for my niece to get a bit older because this will be one of those books I’ll be anxiously waiting to put into her hand.

Filled with interesting lore, magic and a heroine who proves you don’t have to be beautiful or fall in love to be interesting, Plain Kate had me spellbound from the first page.  There’s villains who still inspire sympathy, there are actions which cause conflicting emotions in the reader, and then there’s Kate.

Kate (who insists on being called Plain Kate) is a big of a ragamuffin who is a very talented carver. Little bits of Russian lore are woven into the story and provide the setting and history to make this a book rich with information for the young reader.  As I read it, I was reminded a bit of how Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants affected me – it filled me with wonder, made me feel young again and left me with a touch of regret as I closed the book, having finished it.

Plain Kate is a perfect addition to the middle grade world of books and one I’ll be recommending left and right.

Check out these review(s):

Bookalicious

YA Book Shelf

Bear