Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: Revolution

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly. The summary:
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want--and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages--until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.
I’ll admit I was a little intimidated by “Revolution”--it’s pretty long (almost 500 pages), and historical fiction has always been hit or miss for me. Honestly, I was planning on just skimming it and then not reviewing it. But you guys, as soon as I started reading it, basically from the first sentence, I got sucked in. I’m always a sucker for stories where the character feels guilty about something they did, but the reader only finds out what it was bit by bit. And oh man, did this book have that. From the start you can tell Andi is beating herself up hard core about the death of her brother, but you don’t get the whole explanation until almost the very end. Although, honestly, Andi is maybe a little too messed up about what she did. I’m not saying she doesn’t have the right to be, but her hurt and depression and guilt were overwhelming for me at times and made it hard for me to connect to her.

The story is split basically in half between Andi in the present day, and Alexandrine in the French Revolution. I wasn’t sure how much I would like all the historical stuff, but it actually turned out to be completely fascinating. Although I didn’t connect much to Alex either, the events she was involved in were so interesting that I didn’t really notice that I wasn’t really bffs with her. I thought I knew most of what went on in the French Revolution, but boy was I wrong--there was some crazy horrible stuff that went on on both sides that I had no clue ever happened. The historical explanations read a little like a history lesson at times, but since I was interested in the subject, that didn’t bug me.

The only major issue I had with the book was towards the end. I can’t really say much about it without giving spoilers, but I’ll just say that the book has a little paranormal kick at the end that I didn’t see the point of. It’s meant to help Andi resolve her issues, but really, I don’t see how what happens could let her finally get over what’s messing her up.

Overall, I’d say if you like historical fiction, “Revolution” will probably be a book you’ll enjoy. Otherwise, I don’t think the characters have quite enough charisma to carry you through. But I could be wrong--after all, I didn’t think I’d like it but I did.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book! I agree, I was a little hesitant at first, but after reading, it just sucked me in. As for the paranormal thing, I just figured it was a dream, so it didn't bother me all that much. Great review!


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