Report By: Corinna Fultz
The name of the author is Erin Bow. There were no illustrations in Plain Kate. The genre is fantasy. This book has two plots, man vs. man and man vs. fate. Plain Kate had to rebel against Linay to stop him from destroying Lov. For man vs. fate, Kate had to stop multiple things from happening, changing many people's fate in the story. The main protagonist in the book was Plain Kate. She ended up defeating the main antagonist, Linay.
Other characters that appear often are Taggle (the cat), Drina (Kate's best friend), Daj (the woman who took care of her), Lenore (who comes at the end after she is brought back to life), Stivo (Drina's father), Wen (Daj's husband), Ciri (a small boy only mentioned twice), and Behjet.
If I had to describe Plain Kate in four words, I would describe her as having perseverance, courage, self discipline, and respectful. There isn't really a main setting, because they are always traveling. However, they are trying to get to Lov, and I can describe that. In four words, Lov sounds like a lively place with many people living there. In the book it says that they burn any witches that they can find, so my guess is that it is a witch-free place. Lov seems very busy, as well, with many cultures living in it, which gives the impression of a welcoming area to all except witches. The last thing is that it was one of the roamers best stops, meaning that they could trade many items for things that they really need. With this information I inferred that not many people in Lov went hungry.
I would recommend this book to people with a taste for adventure. This book has surprises in so many of the chapters, like when Taggle is brought back to life. I never wanted to put it down, because it was always exciting and had you hanging. If you like books like that, then you would like this one.
This is a summary of the book. Plain Kate grew up not like other children. Before she held a spoon, she held a knife. That knife, the one she held before a spoon, the one her father gave her, became what she carved with as she grew up. She got the nickname 'Plain Kate because it was the truth. She was almost like a stick. "She was plain as a stick, as thin as a stick, as flat as a stick. She had one eye the color of river mud and one eye the color of the river. Her nose was too long and her brows were to strong." Page 2. For that and for her magnificent carving abilities that she had since she was very young, people thought that Plain Kate was a witch. She told her father that by the time she was twenty she would be a master, but instead, her father died. Things were already going poorly for her town, crops dying and there not being enough food to go around. To make it even worse, a sickness called witch's fever started spreading. Now Kate was being more accused than ever of being a witch. In the end, however, it was an old woman that they burned. Then it started to dwindle a bit, although there was still some of the plague lingering around. Kate's father than caught it, died, and Kate had no where to go. Luckily, the town baker was a kind person and found her a place to live. With the roamers. First Kate had to figure out where she could get supplies for the journey. So she traded her shadow for things that she would need on her journey. Also, she was granted Taggle, the talking cat. Life with the roamers was hard for Plain Kate, as she was not used to all the walking and their ways of living. She soon made friends with the only other maiden in the camp, Drina. Since Kate wants her shadow back, they try soaking Kate's hair in her blood; however, this does not work. By the time the roamers arrive in Tolia, the stop were they decide if Palin Kate will stay or not, Kate has made plenty of objarka. Objarka is a carving with a face or symbol, usually frightening, that is supposed to scare away the spirits. Plain Kate and Drina go to the market to sell them, although Drina has not made any. The reason for this is not because they are such good friends but because it is not the roamer way never to go alone. In the markets of Tolia, Plain Kate and Drina find a place to sell, and have many customers. Taggle and Drina attract people by doing short gymnastic routines. Yes, Taggle could do it, too. Eventually, Drina goes to find someone that might help them with getting Plain Kate's shadow back. Instead, because she is a roamer, the people of Tolia hurt her and cut her hair until Kate can save her. Unfortunately, she blames Kate for this and doesn't speak to her for many days. Shortly after, the witch's fever returns, causing death to Ciri , Wen, and Stivo. Behjet turns to Plain Kate and blames her. He throws a lantern at her after she is put in the cage and leaves her to burn. Kate somehow managed to get out, and jumps in the river, almost drowning herself. Linay then grabs her and she lives with him for a while. While she is there, Kate meets the rusalka. The rusalka is the spirit of a dead person who can be brought back to life with a sacrifice. Linay sacrifices himself with some help of Kate's blood to bring back his sister, Lenore. Kate also begs for her shadow back, but once again, there had to be a sacrifice. Magic is an exchange of two gifts. Taggle had to die for Kate to get her shadow back. So Kate raised her knife and Taggle jumped. Then he was dead. Later, Lenore decided that's he couldn't live knowing that her brother had killed himself for her. She brought Taggle back to life, killing herself, but after she made it clear that if Kate wanted her shadow, Taggle wouldn't be able to talk anymore. So that is how Plain Kate went on with her life, and the roamers accepted her once again.
Something I noticed about the writing was that she always so descriptive words and that no matter what I always wanted to read more. This book had no illustrations. This book reminded me of Sparkers because it the main character was a girl struggling to fit in and by the end had many friends and was not being looked down at every time she walked by. My connection with the book is that often when I am new at something, I am alone a lot and people act like I am not there. Eventually, though, I get the hang of it and people notice me.