Plain Kate is a YA fantasy novel by Erin Bow.
Plain Kate lives in a rural world that has magic – but magic is met with unease, suspicion, and fear. Believed witches are hunted and burned in the town square.
As a woodcarver’s daughter, Kate learned how to carve before she knew how to do much of anything else. And her immense ability has led some in her town to call her “witch-blade” and suspect her of witchcraft.
When her father’s death becomes one among many in the town, Kate’s world is rocked. She no longer had a home, and she can’t sell her woodworking. Her only friend is her cat, Taggle, who helps to keep her warm at night. She survives off the few kind people in the village.
Right when even harder times fall on the town, however, angry eyes turn to Kate. Their crops are ruined, and a mysterious, thick fog is covering the countryside. It’s not long before Plain Kate realizes she needs to leave town to save her life.
That’s when Linay steps in - a stranger that promises her escape, and a wish, for her shadow. Knowing that if she doesn’t leave soon she knows she’ll be burned she feels it’s a deal she should take, even if she is apprehensive about it… but Kate doesn’t realize how powerful shadows are – and that Linay’s intentions for it are darker than she could imagine…
Plain Kate was astounding!
Erin Bow superbly wove a vibrant fantasy rural setting with a heavy feel of peril and tension, but always lyrically and delicately approached. I felt Kate’s pain when she lost her loving father early on – as Erin quickly helped me to emotionally invest – which caused me to be worried for her and Taggle throughout the entire book!!
The disquieting, suspenseful, nerve-wracking plot involving Kate’s constant danger propels the story well, and her relationship with her cat Taggle is adorable, relatable, and at times seared my heart. Some of the best moments of humor in Plain Kate, which was needed in what was primarily a melancholy, haunting tale filled with grief, were the moments with Taggle. Don’t want to give anything away, but when you read Plain Kate, you’ll know what I mean.
And as it reached its conclusion – OH MY GOSH!!! Plain Kate is a killer!
Since it was right before bed and I knew I needed to go to work the next day, I was trying to be strong – trying so hard not to cry. Even so, my throat got a MAJOR lump and my eyes got all teary.
Wow!!! Plain Kate was a memorable, original, touching, painful, unforgettable fantasy novel!!
Read it, I’d say. Great way to start 2013!