Saturday, 23 February 2013

''Persuasion''- Book review

Author: Jane Austen
Publication date: 1817
Genres: Romance novel

Rating: 4 out of 5


''Persuasion'' is the last completed novel by the wonderful Jane Austen. It was published posthumously along with Northanger Abbey.   

I quite loved Persuasion, and enjoyed it quite very much. The novel's heroine, Anne Elliot, is the daughter of arrogant and extravagant baron Sir Walter Elliot. She is in her late twenties. She has little value in her family; her father and unmarried elder sister Elizabeth treat her with no affection and hardly acknowledge her. The little respect she gets is from Lady Russell, a friend of her late mother, and she is Anne's close companion.

Anne has had a troubled and sad past. Eight years ago, she had fallen in love with Captain Frederick Wentworth, a sailor with little money, fortune, and no family name. They were both in love, but her father was against the relationship because of Wentworth's status, and Lady Russell, also quite prejudice, was able to persuade Anne to break off the relationship.

Now, Sir Walter Elliot faces financial hardship. He decides to move to Bath and rent out their house. The tenants are Admiral Croft and his wife, and we learn that Captain Wentworth is Mrs Croft's brother.

Anyways, Sir Walter and Elizabeth (accompanied by Elizabeth's friend Mrs Clay) move to Bath, and Anne goes to her married younger sister's house, and would arrive in Bath after some time. Her younger sister, Mary, is more sisterly than Elizabeth, yet still arrogant, selfish and envious. Mary is married to the pleasant Charles Musgrove. Over the days, Anne becomes very friendly and close to everyone of the Musgrove family: Charles and Mary's children, Charles's parents, and Charles's sister Henrietta and Louisa. 

The Musgroves become close with the Crofts, and Captain Wentworth has come to visit his sister and her husband. Wentworth also visits the Musgroves, and he and Anne have a cold, distant and civil relationship.

Things take a different turn as everyone (Anne, some of the Musgroves, Captain Wentworth) goes to Lyme. It seems that the Captain is in love with Louisa, while Anne briefly meets her cousin, Mr Elliot, who seems to have interest in her. Then...

I won't go into more details. This is an amazing novel, maybe not as excellent as Austen's classics Sense and Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice. Yet, it is a touching tale, and I think it is not just a love story. It also gives a great focus in the character of Anne Elliot. At the beginning of the novel, we see Anne as a lonely, friendless woman, who is given no respect by her family. At Uppercross (where the Musgroves lives), she finds comfort, friends, and happiness. She meets Captain Wentworth again, the only love of her life. Uppercross, where much of the novel is set in, changes her life in many ways. She goes through happy and painful moments throughout the novel. 

Later, when she arrives in Bath, she gets none of the hearty welcomes which she had got in Uppercross; the same old cold relationship with her father and sister is resumed, both of them still being extremely arrogant. There are too many characters, everybody connected with the other, and everyone play a role in Anne's life. There is a startling revelation about Mr Elliot, and much more surprising elements. 

Overall, it remains a sweet and emotional novel, excellently-written, wonderfully narrated, and overall, it is an enjoyable classic.

4.5 out of 5

Friday, 8 February 2013

''Mockingjay''- Book Review

Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication date: August 24, 2010

Mockingjay is the final novel of The Hunger Games Trilogy. Mockingjay is different from the first two novels as it has a darker tone, grimy situations, and more painful incidences. When we first read The Hunger Games, it seemed to be a sci-fi/adventure novel, but near the end of the novel it hinted the possibility that the trilogy would become something of war novels. Catching Fire was quite so, as we saw the preparation of rebellion, and it ended with Katniss being transported to District 13, and Gale informing her that District 12 no longer exists, it was destroyed by the Capitol.

So we come to Mockingjay. This is a very grim and dark novel, and a war is happening, the rebels against the Capitol, and some of the Capitol's citizens, such as Plutarch Heavensbee, have joined the rebels. As District 12 has been mostly destroyed, many citizens of 12 died, and some have escaped to 13, including the family of Katniss and Gale. Peeta, Johanna, and Enobaria, who were also tributes of the Quarter Quell, have been captured by the Capitol. Is the Capitol torturing them? The tributes who were escorted to District 13 are Katniss, Finnick, and Beetee.

Katniss Everdeen must have to be the Mockingjay, as her brave acts with the berries at the 74th Hunger Games actually had helped to inspire the rebellion at a great extent. She has to be the voice of the rebellion. But will she take such a great responsibility? Will she take the responsibility of the deaths of so many people?

She finally agrees to be the Mockingjay, in return of several conditions, one of them being, if the Capitol is captured, the full immunity of the tributes captured by the Capitol will have to be promised. In order to let people know that the rebels are well and preparing Katniss now poses for propos in front of cameras, and Beetee manage to interrupt the Capitol's television programs. Meanwhile, it is clear that the Capitol has been torturing Peeta a lot, to break Katniss down.

''Mockingjay'' is a very emotional read at times, disturbing at times, but sometimes there are so much descriptions that it becomes a bit irritating. But keep it aside, ''Mockingjay'' is a wonderful novel. And it is an emotional journey. Characters whom we love go through difficult situations and sometimes even die. Some twists are extremely shocking. 

Katniss Everdeen has one goal: to kill President Snow, to free Panem from cruelty and Hunger Games. The entire country go through a war that will result in a lot of loses, lot of pains, what happens at the end? It is a twisted novel, and the ending and epilogue are both wonderful.

To me, ''Mockingjay'' was the best novel of the trilogy, though sometimes irritating. I'd give emphasis to the last 60 pages or so, which becomes so very excellent. The war descriptions are sometimes irritating, yet it is wonderful, it is a must-read.

4 out of 5