When Magical Realism Met Superheroes
Talk about an origin story.
If it were not for being Zorro’s story, this would be considered quite classy literature. Maybe it still is? I am not familiar with the critical reception.
It is finely detailed and expertly constructed, weaving history and legend seamlessly. Allende almost pulls it off, but the awareness of the ending seeps into the rest of the book, spoiling all the better moments. It might be an unavoidable thing and Allende deserves praise not bl...more
I love the idea of this book. The story of Zorro from his childhood? Wow, what's not to like? Except the story is "told" rather than "shown." There are paragraphs that take up full pages (in a *trade* paperback no less) and pages and pages between bits of dialog. This is ungodly slow reading. How anyone can take a swashbuckling hero l...more
Zorro is the American version of Robin Hood. He works in California
Zorro is written by Isabel Allende, who is apparently a successful writer from Latin America. But frankly, I just don't think this was all that good. I expected more of a swashbuckling, action-packed story. Instead, the story focuses a lot on Diego de la Vega, whose alter-ego is Zorro, growing up in California and Spain. Zorro doesn't make his first appearance until something li...more
Is it possible to Mary Sue a male character? What would that be called? Because, yeah, we all know Zorro has to kick all sorts of figurative and literal ass, but apparently his only flaw is that his ears stick out, being the real reason for wearing the mask.
Allende's book is not so much a typical Zorro adventure, such as we are used to seeing in movies and on television. It's really more the story of the creatin...more
I found the early part of this book decidedly more fascinating than the last half or so. As I recall, the book sort of lost its way as it progressed, whereas the beginning was riveting. But as a whole it's another excellent piece of Isabel Allende's fiction. It was particularly interesting to me to read about early California an...more
This is a "tale of origin" explaining how Zorro became the masked avenger. He is born Diego de la Vega, son of a Spanish hidalgo and a fierce Shoshone she-warrior. Apparently, the author took great pains to research this book. Kudos. Despite all the research, there seemed to be something a...more
I gave up reading this twice. The third time, spurred on by my absolute adoration of her first novel, I was determined to finish it. I thought, "this book can't be that bad when I so loved 'The House of the Spirits'. There has to be more to it."
It was too slow. Too many unexciting events that seemed to have no point. I forgot exactly where t...more
It is the story of Diego de la Vega who turns into the legendary figure Zorro. The story is a romantic tale of the swashbuckling adventures of Zorro, with Indians, gypsies, pirates, his love for Juliana, rescues from dungeons and vendetta with his rival Rafael Moncada thrown in. Nothing that stands out in the true Isabel Allende style.
The saddest and most horrifying part however, is how the blacks were...more
Reading ZORRO confirms Allende's well deserved reputation as a brilliant, passionate story teller. She takes the legend of the masked man and fleshes it out into a fullblown historical novel with a depth and sweeping panorama fully the equal of the greatest epics of world literature. This is the work of an unquestioned master of story telling at the top of her form. There is not one false note, not one flawed plot line in the entire work...more
Right. I, however, had Antonio Banderas in my head for this whole book, which is wonderful. Slightly strange while Diego was a boy, and he was just a mini version, but it worke...more
I was excited about the prospect of this book--a great pulp hero like Zorro in the hands of someone with Allende's lit cred? It'd have to be great, right?
It took maybe 20-30 pages to disa...more
Told in the third person by a narrator who remains unnamed until the end, the story tells of Zorro’s- Don Diego de la Vega- birth, chi...more
Zorro is a captivating retelling of the Zorro legend by an author so adept at mixing history and reality this becomes a sensational look at a swashbuckling hero.
Diego de la Vega grows up in California, raised beside his wet nurses’ son, Bernardo. Despite the class differences they become “milk brothers” for life. Diego’s sense of justice and identification with the underdog has its roots in their friendship and his outrage over the exploited natives. Sent to Spain to go to sch...more
The fictional Zorro debuted in Johnston McCulley's serialized potboiler in 1919; since then, he's made some dramatic comebacks. By recasting this swashbuckling hero in the context of his personal history, Allende follows in the path of her recent historical fiction like Daughter of Fortune (1999) and Portrait in Sepia (2001). Critics agree that while Zorro is light and entertaining, it is also a serious piece of literature__even if some reviewers were confounded by Allende's mix of history and r...more
I was a little nervous reading an Allende, expecting her to be very mystic and hard to follow, in the styl...more
Allende's Zorro begins in California with how his Spanish father met his Indian mother. His evolution into Zorro, and the beginning of his legendary fight for injustices takes him to Spain, to Jean Lafitte's legendary Barataria and back to California.
I usually prefer to read books with female protagonists but since Allende wrote Zorro, I th...more
Born Diego de la Vega in Spanish Colonial California (late 1700...more
How to categorize this book?
It’s fantastical, but not a fantasy.
It’s historical, but not a strict historical fiction as history takes a back seat to the more adventurous aspects.
It’s folklore, but not really, because Zorro is actually a 20th century-created character that is copyrighted and had to be permissioned for Allende to write this story.
It’s set in the Regency era, but since the English are only mentioned in the briefest of passing, it is decidedly not Regency fiction.
It's a romance, bu...more
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-No, maestro, but I plan to do everything in my power to make it so.”