By: Charlotte Bronte
I think this might be the last classic I’ll be reading for a while now that summer’s drawing to a close and school is starting soon enough for me…I had picked it up because I heard it was a really good book and after reading all the Jane Austen books, I’ve been itching for another classic from that time period. I have heard the critiques that Bronte had made about Austen’s works so I wanted to see what sort of story and what sort of heroine she’d written about. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, it certainly kept me up until wee hours of morning to find out what’ll happen next for Jane. The prose of this novel is a lot different from her sister Emily (which I found confusing for a good part of the time), which made it easier to read and understand. I agree with others who have said that Jane Eyre is definitely a different type of heroine; she’s a woman who strives to stand on her own. Not to mention there really is a sense of hardship throughout the novel as Jane struggles to find happiness and security. And Mr. Rochester is certainly an interesting fellow…you think he’s menacing and uptight and would be a source of problems for Jane but he turns out to be far more interesting that you first assume. It’s also interesting to note how the emotions play out in this novel…Mr. Rochester and (to some extent) Jane Eyre both express their emotions much more freer than what I had expected from customs during this period (then again, I’m not so much of a social historian compared to political history, so I might have missed that detail in British History). The one issue I had with this novel was around Chapter 34 – 37 (might’ve gotten the chapters wrong there). I think it went a bit too slow for the plot, despite the fact that it was establishing Jane and the St. Johns. It’s not enough however to dampen my interest in the novel overall.
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By: Jane Austen
Continuing my Jane Austen craze, I decided to read Northanger Abbey after seeing the 2007 ITV adaptation of the book (definitely worth checking out, it was quite enjoyable). I know the general sentiment is that this book is not up to par with the other Jane Austen books, and considering that this was actually the first book she completed, that was understandable. But I decided to read this before Mansfield Park because it was a surprisingly slender volume. I was surprised to learn was a quick read it was as well; the first part deals primarily with the social situation that Catherine Norland, the main character, is in and the second part deals more with the Gothic parody. I’ve never read Gothic novels, so this was a rather interesting introduction to the genre, but you can’t help but relate to Catherine; I know my imagination has a tendency to run when I read novels. But the plot is straightforward, amusing, interesting…but I don’t think it’s like those typical triangles you see in other Austen books (i.e. Mr. Darcy is attached to Elizabeth but she’s interested in Mr. Wickham or Emma is fascinated by Mr. Churchill and doesn’t realize Mr. Knightley’s affections): here it seems right of the bat that Catherine and Mr. Tilney are interested in one another and that there was no way that Mr. Thorpe would be able to compete for Catherine’s affections. It’s a cute story overall, very lighthearted in comparison to the other Jane Austen books and I don’t think it should be overlooked.
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The Blood Knight
By: Greg Keyes
The Blood Knight is the third book in Greg Keyes’s Kingdom of Thorns and Bone fantasy series (there are four books in this series). If you have never heard of this fantasy series, I definitely recommend it—it’s a unique series, the detail of the world in which this story takes place is just astonishing and the scope is amazing…Keyes has a knack for weaving all these intricate storylines and colourful characters together for this epic. It’s hard to summarize what this story is about…needless to say, it’s a real mix of politics, love, betrayal, mystery, suspense, war and shinecraft…the world of humans is changing with the reawakening of old forces and at the center of this story is the youngest daughter of the Royal family, Anne Dare. It’s a fairly dark fantasy in my opinion; the terror that these characters face are pretty dark and freaky in a way that I don’t think I’ve really come across in other fantasy series I’ve read, at least not at this level, which makes it even more engulfing. Book Three, The Blood Knight is action-packed from start to finish and the continuity is very much there (though I do hope that there will be some sort of appendix at the end of all this because I’ve been losing track of some of the lesser characters). There is a sense of the hefty risks attached to what’s going on getting even larger. I think this book wraps up much of the political problems that were laid down in book one, I guess to make way for the showdown with the more earth-shattering problems in this world. We do get some revelations, such as about the Sefry and we get to see more development in all of our characters, particularly Anne’s rise to becoming a truly queen-ly figure. The last few chapters were especially a kicker, which means the last book, The Born Queen (coming out in January 2008) will start right off the bat. All in all, a very enjoyable read to a very interesting fantasy series.
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