Plain Kate

Bow, Erin

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Plain Kate
Plain Kate's odd appearance and expertise as a woodcarver cause some to think her a witch, but friendship with a talking cat and, later, with humans help her to survive and even thrive in a world of magic, charms, and fear.

Publisher: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0545166659
Branch Call Number: y BOW 2010
Characteristics: 314 p. ;,22 cm


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Feb 08, 2015
  • FindingJane rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Filled with the dark and light sides of magic, “Plain Kate” brims with differences and how they draw people together and pull them apart. The caustic, corroding effects of revenge, the sweetness of unexpected mercies and startling miracles all wend their way through this story of a girl with a quiet yet indomitable spirit. A girl who must make hard choices in an even harder life, Kate isn’t a typical storybook heroine and Ms. Bow’s solemn yet lyrical prose exposes the carver’s heart in tender, breaking fragments.

Ms. Bow plays language like a fiddler does his bow, with enchantment that steals over you in spite of yourself. When horror comes, it is terrible but with its own wild beauty; when love appears, it is with a whisper that trickles into your ears like rain or a shout that can shatter walls. “Plain Kate” has a sublime beauty that raises it above ordinary faery tale and into the realm of potent fantasy.

Jan 13, 2015
  • philinehillas rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A bit slow to get into but the characters are compelling. Very imaginative and hard to put down. Made me cry at the end but it was OK crying.

Dec 06, 2014
  • forbesrachel rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Plain Kate is alone and mistrusted by the superstitious people of the town when the actions of the witch Linay backs her into a corner. She has no choice but to give him her shadow and start on a journey to find a place she can belong. This is a deal she will come to regret. Kate is no witch, but the magic she can do with wood will prove useful. The people of the world have a love/hate relationship with magic. They will utilize this power for their own benefits, but will burn witches if they believe themselves cursed. Vengeance walks their way, and Kate is partly at fault. Although she feels responsible there is little she can achieve, and her only real ally is the cat Taggle, whom Linay gave the power of speech. Plain Kate has the distinct feel of European folklore with its witches, warnings about getting involved with magic, and old world setting. As a whole, the story needed more meat; its straightforward motion makes it a quick read, but one with unnatural progression. Answers are too freely given, and some relationships feel stunted because of the quick pace. Kate makes choices, but for the most part reacts to events rather than taking action. In fact she has no power over her fate at all. She is not a hero, she is just a plain girl.

Aug 21, 2014

Ended up crying and having to stop reading... Never finished it. Too sad.
If you aren't into SPOILERS cats sacrificing them self SPOILERS OVER I wouldn't reccomend it...
The rest was great but the end ruined it for me.

Mar 07, 2013
  • modestgoddess rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Very engaging and compelling read - really pulls the reader through. I didn't want to put it down. Loved the setting, the Roamers, the queer unsettling atmosphere, the curious talents of the witches and Plain Kate Carver. Loved Taggle the cat most especially. Definitely for older readers though - the violent moments are poetically presented but still horrifying.

Feb 24, 2013
  • beachcat2 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I thought it was more of a YA book because it was quite dark. But I loved it especially the talking cat, Taggle. I cried at the end... Loved the whole world she created. I couldn't put it down. it's the best book I've read lately.

Jan 02, 2013
  • OranguTang rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A very odd and interesting story. Not your typical teen book; it reads like a fairy tale and never goes the way you expect it to. I would recommend it to older teens or teens that read a lot. There are a couple sad moments… it made me cry but it was still a good read.

Nov 06, 2012
  • EmuLover rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is my favourite book. Ever.

Aug 17, 2012
  • GLNovak rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The book takes a while to get into but like a ball rolling downhill, the action grows. Some of the magic is a bit hard to follow. The cat, Taggle, is a standout character.

Jul 15, 2012
  • kitty124963 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The details and descriptions make you wanna fall asleep. The plot was ok😔. Unfortunately it's not a good book

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Oct 29, 2014
  • calmiron rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

calmiron thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Dec 03, 2012
  • EmuLover rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

EmuLover thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 17, 2012
  • liszy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

liszy thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 23

Feb 20, 2012

mbssmith thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Aug 31, 2011

VeganGreen thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 18


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Jun 26, 2012
  • Yahong_Chi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

And Taggle, who was beautiful, who had never misjudged a jump in his life, leapt toward her with his forelegs out-flung. (p. 289)

Jun 26, 2012
  • Yahong_Chi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

She was made of fog and shadow until Kate caught her eye, and then, all at once, she became human. She was young, mischievously sad, a fox in a story. (p. 199)

Jun 26, 2012
  • Yahong_Chi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The cat looked up at her with the last trace of his broken heart, and then turned to look at the gold coins with simple gold-coin eyes. (p.310)


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