4 stars · classic · fiction · romance

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Pages [paperback] : 375

memorable quote:
Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.

favorite characters: mr. bennet & mr. darcy

summary:

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’ Thus memorably begins Jane Austen‘s Pride and Prejudice, one of the world’s most popular novels. Pride and Prejudice—Austen’s own ‘darling child’—tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old.

Humorous and profound, and filled with highly entertaining dialogue, this witty comedy of manners dips and turns through drawing-rooms and plots to reach an immensely satisfying finale. In the words of Eudora Welty, Pride and Prejudice is as ‘irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.’

review:

 I’ve been meaning to read this book for years and when I finally went and bought myself a copy I knew I’d have to buckle down and get to it. Sometimes trudging through the sentence structures and word usage of a book like this can intimidate a person enough to make them put it down immediately. But I suppose if school’s been good for anything it’s taught me at least that things as daunting as this can get better as time goes on. So I persisted, and so I loved it. And came to love the wonderful, quirky word choices as well.

The first part of the book as well as the last went by in gigantic chunks taken all at once for me. I was incredibly interested by the introduction of the characters, as I immediately found most of them hilarious. From Mr. Bennet, laughing at the expense of his own family, to Mrs. Bennet, outrageously silly and ignorant, to all of the sisters and their exaggerated personalities, to Mr. Darcy himself. I didn’t know much about the entire novel, or the premise, or how it was supposed to end . . . Only that for some reason many people are obsessed with this Darcy fellow. As a result, I spent the majority of my time wondering what on earth everyone and their mother saw in him that was so wonderful. Then I finished the novel, and well, okay, I might love him a little bit, now.

The middle was the hardest to pull through, consisting of a lot of nothing. I knew some of it was important, though the rest seemed just like a dull waste of time. Until some sentence or other would pull me back in again. I still can’t get over reading about someone staying over at someone’s house for only 10 days and how ‘short a stay it would be’! Um. Ten days is not very short. I understand carriage rides aren’t exactly the same as driving along in nice comfortable cars, but that doesn’t mean I want all of my relatives to come live with me for months on end.

I can see why this book has been recommended to me by friends, teachers, and enemies. (Alright, maybe that was a lie, but I’m assuming they’d like it, too.) Yes, I did like the entire romance aspect of it. (What girl can resist that? Seriously? Seriously.) I could perfectly picture all of the settings, and the strict social rules as well as the ideals of each social class.

This book made me laugh so much! The little insights on everything were delightful. Many of them were still relevent to today, and I could easily see connections to people like Elizabeth and Darcy to those living now. One of my favorite quotes from the book has to be, “As soon as they were gone, Elizabeth walked out to recover her spirits; or, in other words, to dwell without interruption on those subjects that must deaden them more.” Okay, so who doesn’t do that? I know that I do, and most of the people I know do this as well. See? Still relevent! And people say they can get nothing out of classic literature. By ‘people, I here mean my fellow classmates.

If you’ve been tentatively considering reading this, or been intimidated by it, give it a go! You might just enjoy it as much as I did. (:

TIMELESS. 4/5 stars

5 stars · dystopia · fiction · romance · series · young adult

Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed

Author: Ally Condie

Pages [hardcover] 367

Matched #2
Book 1: Matched

memorable quote:
Everyone has something of beauty about them.

favorite characters: eli & cassia

summary:

The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

review:

 I’ve been dying to read this book ever since I finished ‘Matched’! That was one of those books that I heard everyone loved, so I decided to read, but still had my doubts about it when I picked it up. Luckily, they were blown away when I actually read it, and I think Crossed was even better. Something that I thought I would easily dismiss has turned out to be one of my favorite dystopian trilogies.

This time around, some mysteries from the past were cleared up, secrets were revealed, and friendships were tested. New characters were introduced, and while I absolutely loved some of them, I couldn’t quite figure out others-and not only because they were purposefully trying to be mysterious. I loved having every other chapter told from Ky’s perspective. At first I didn’t think I’d like the new voice-though there was no other way to tell what was happening to him in the Outer Provinces-and allowed his character to develop and let the reader understand some of the difficult decisions he is making.

I loved the integration of ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ into Cassia’s personal rebellion as well as the theme of the book. That poem has practically followed me around all of my life, and it’s one of my favorites. I’m glad it’s one of the few that’s managed to survive despite the Society’s best attempts to eliminate all other pieces of art.

The ending seemed abrupt and forced for me, as if there wasn’t a good point to leave off for the next book. I didn’t think it fit in with the pace of the rest of Crossed, and although I wasn’t happy with it, there was still enough to make me come back for the next one. I’m definitely sticking with these characters to see what happens next, because this book was more of a transitional ‘journey’ book, getting from point a to b. While I liked reading it, finding out more about the characters-particularly Ky and Xander-I think what I’m really looking for will happen in the next installment. I can’t wait!

GREAT CHARACTERS, GREAT FUN. 5/5 stars

4 stars · classic · dystopia · fiction

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: [paperback] 311

favorite characters: ofglen & nick

summary:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining fertility, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

review:

And just when I thought I was getting used to the creep factor brought on by most dystopian novels, I read this.

Okay, so it could be worse. But not by much. Picturing a society where every woman’s movements are so controlled they’ve had to do their best to make sure there’s no way they can commit suicide, throw in all the forced attempts at pregnancy and tearing apart of families and . . well, I don’t really want to list everything in the novel, but, goodness. Margaret Atwood sure knows how to create the perfect imperfect world. Ha.

While I can definitely appreciate the books that have more symbols and other devices imbedded within the work, The Handmaid’s Tale makes it fairly easy to pick out what’s important and what can be discarded. The narrator herself-and we never learn her true name-comments on how this or that now means something else, and the ironic tones are never left untouched for long. Thank goodness.

Originally, I was disappointed and frustrated with the ending, for reasons I won’t specify for fear of giving anything away. But, thinking back on it now, it’s perfect. I don’t think I’d have wanted it to be any different, if I could change it myself, and after this reflection, I’m glad that I can’t. Score one for Margaret Atwood!

I think what makes this book so appealing, so powerful, is the knowledge that something like this might actually happen. Maybe not exactly this; it’s impossible to predict the future. But it’s easier to take away liberties than to hand them out, and it’s not hard to imagine a world, years from now, with a more controlling government (a more censored internet?) and a whole lot of creepiness. Everywhere. And while dystopian authors might be trying to warn us, or entertain us, or try to prove some other point altogether, I think all that matters is picking up a book (like this: it’s worth it, I swear) and learning something from it. Something positive, hopefully. I don’t want to go around telling people to get bad habits . .

Heh. Like the habits they wear in this book.

Anyway, go read this. Not everyone has a school to force them to, so use that free will of yours, and give into peer pressure. About books like this, at least.

DISTURBINGLY INSIGHTFUL. 4/5 stars

5 stars · dystopia · fiction · romance · series · young adult

Matched by Ally Condie

 

Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Pages : [hardcover] 384

Memorable Quote: It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.

Favorite Characters: Xander & Ky

Summary:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Review:

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long,long time. It’s been on my TBR list for ages, but I only picked it up a few days ago. Thankfully I didn’t read it sooner, or I’d have had longer to wait for the sequel. Because as soon as I finished Matched I wanted the next book! I don’t think I can wait until November to get more of this series.

Cassia is an interesting character that believes fully in everything her Society does-at least, at first. Once time passes and things start to get more complicated, she begins to doubt everything she’s ever known, even though she knows speaking aloud about this would get her into more trouble than she can imagine. She had her dull moments for me in the book, points where I really didn’t like her and couldn’t care about what she did. I warmed up to her at other moments, and I can’t really tell why I had these off and on feelings about her.

I really liked the descriptions of the Society, because I could picture it perfectly. And while I’ve been reading more and more about dystopian novels lately, this still managed to be new and refreshing, with different conspiracies going on and plot twists spread throughout the book. I loved not knowing what was going to happen next, either with Cassia or one of the amazing supporting characters.

I really enjoyed Matched and give it 5/5 stars. It’s a book I’ll come back to read again and again, and I can’t wait for the sequel! It’s killing me that I can’t have it right now!

fiction · young adult

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Author: E. Lockhart

Pages [hardcover]: 345

Available now!

Opening Lines: I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind behind the mal-doings of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.

Memorable Quote:
She will not be simple and sweet.
She will not be what people tell her she should be.

Favorite Character: Frankie

Summary:

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

Review:

 This was an okay kind of book for me. Not too bad, but not outstanding. Frankie was an awesome character, staying true to herself throughout the novel, no matter what happened. She’s brilliant, if a bit crazy ;). She’s ambitious, and not ready to stand back just because some boy tells her to.

This book has a long title, which makes me not want to type it as often as I should. That’s possibly bad for publicity, because if you search for it you’re bound to spell something wrong. Yet once I started reading, I realized it was a perfectly appropriate and fitting title. First off it’s catchy, and ties in to some major plot points in the story.

The ending was a disappointment. I can understand that it had to end that way-it’s probably the only way that would make sense. Yet it was unsatisfactory in some way.

I give The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks 3/5 stars. I’ve seen it around in bookstores, wondering if I should buy it. I’m glad I just decided to rent it from the library.