To say that Chime is unusual doesn't quite do justice to this unique and enchanting story. Franny Billingsley created a world of witches and mysteries set in a small marsh-side village that is coming into violent contact with the industrial revolution of the early 1900s. There is definitely a theme of old ways versus new industry as the leadership in the village wants to drain the swamp for railroad access. Watching all of this is Briony, who has a vast reserve of self-hatred fed by her sister's mental condition and her step-mother's death. Much of Briony's observations revolve around her belief that she is inherently evil, but there is still the feeling that she is trying to convince herself that it's true. One of the very best things about this book is Eldric. There is the opposite of instalove in this story. Eldric is a mystery to Briony and her fascination with his manner and her jealousy of his ability to live such a free life draws her to him. Their romance is very slow and, more often than not, she is pushing him away. Their slowly building relationship was one of the sweetest and most satisfying romances I have read. They are both very flawed, but not without the desire to rescue each other, and rescue each other they do.
As narrator, Susan Duerden is outstanding. So much of the lexicon of British English can be told through accent and it was the accents that made this story. Briony, Eldric, et al are the more educated class, while the locals speak in a rougher cadence. Ms. Duerden captured this perfectly and I am certain that my love of this book is due, in large part, to her narration. To be honest, I am not sure what I would have thought of this book had I read it. However, as an audiobook it is outstanding. So much of the story seemed to reside in the rhythm of the language and the repetitiveness of Briony's tortured inner thoughts. It is a book that lends itself perfectly to audio and if you haven't read it, I give this audiobook my highest recommendation.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Chime in three words, what would they be?
Brutally honest, Dark, & lovely.
What about Susan Duerden’s performance did you like?
Great voices, tone, inflection. Well done.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Well, "if a heart really did have strings, (it did) pull mine." --Briony
Any additional comments?
I truly loved this story. I still feel like the swamp is oozing about me. The author did a great job being in Briony's head. She's dark and lovely. The story is about mistakes and secrets. It is also about a girl who is changing, growing up. The characters are great, story is beautiful, narration is well-done, writing is descriptive and original. Sometimes it felt like the writing slowed things down a little, but it seemed in character for Briony to dwell on certain things as she did. 5 stars.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is a captivating story with a beautiful message. P.s this book takes a little while to get into
The language of the writing is simply delightful and exquisite. The book is a challenging thing to read aloud but the narrator mostly dues very well. She is good with different voices, particularly. The content of the story is also interesting and the characters are compelling.
Would you listen to Chime again? Why?
I already have! Susan Duerden's performance was spellbinding.
What did you like best about this story?
The best part of the story was how Franny Billingsly wove the landscape into the story, allowing it to intimately definer her characters.
Which character – as performed by Susan Duerden – was your favorite?
Rose. although she is not the main character, her relationship with Briony shapes the story and humanizes their story.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I particularly liked how Briony finally realizes how she and Rose are alike when Rose speaks up in the courtroom. The dynamic of Briony as the defender and Rose as the protected is finally turned on its head. Rose only sees her role as necessary and matter of fact, but this moment is completely life and character changing for Briony. This is the part of the story where Rose is the hero. Fantastic.