Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical
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.
Plain Kate was an unexpected delight of a read. Once again I have Goodread's recommendation feature to thank for pulling this book up to my attention. The summary really only hits the tip of the iceberg with the plot, thus the unexpected delight.
Kate ends up following the Gypsy like people due to being hunted as a witch. She is hunted as a witch because she Linay, mentioned in the summary, makes it seem that she is one to try and get her shadow from her in a bargain, till she really has no choice.
Of course as she finds out soon, only sinister things could come from use of a shadow, so she has to set out to try and fix the problem she was forced into helping with.
The book deals nicely with superstitions and how fear can cause people to turn against you. The villain of Linay is also really nicely dealt with. Clues about him are left for the reader to find and put together before Kate herself does. There are reasons that he is doing what he is doing.
Taggle is also an amazing character. Getting into the head of a cat is always a joy to read and I thought Erin Bow execute that excellently, my own cat meowing in agreement.
Speaking of Taggle, I cried so hard when Kate had to kill him to save everyone. What a terrible thing to have to decide! And the way Taggle insisted on it pulled my heart strings. I was pretty damn happy when he was returned to Kate, even if he could no longer talk to her.
I also felt myself tear up when Linay died as well. Even though he was the villain, he was just so tortured that I couldn't help but feel terrible for him. I also think that him and Kate would have made an adorable couple, age difference and his craziness aside.
I also really enjoyed the way this book addressed the fear and prosecution of witches when times are bad, yet the wanting of their wares and spells when times were good.
I recommend this book to any lover of good fantasy, lovers of cats and stories of ordinary people being forced to do extraordinary things. Fans of Diana Wynne Jones may enjoy this book as well. I honestly enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it my friends.