ARTWORK: This is among Takeuchi's best artwork. It comes off as being a work of art. This is usually never a huge complaint of mine, but if you were t...moreARTWORK: This is among Takeuchi's best artwork. It comes off as being a work of art. This is usually never a huge complaint of mine, but if you were to put this and the first volume next to each other and look through each one, it's clear that Takeuchi's art has dramatically improved and matured - and you can even see how the characters have matured in their faces and mannerisms.
TRANSLATION - this is meant to be a literal translation. With that said, there are too many times where they take artistic liberties with things that they shouldn't, and times where they should take liberties with things that they should. The usage of 'cuz' for because irked me, but even worse was their translation for 'star' - which they used as 'heavenly bodies'. This is not called the 'Heavenly Bodies' arc. It's called the Stars Arc. It's a vast improvement over the original English translation, but still not great. Nothing, however, will ever outdo Jupiter's 'Spark Ring Wide Pressure'. That was abysmal.
And it was the translation which truly hurt this volume. I won't comment on plot and such because I've already read this when I read through the original print. (less)
It's clear that many of the reviewers don't know what 'parody' means. 'Parodies' do not simply have to be comedic. It is basically a spin on the origi...moreIt's clear that many of the reviewers don't know what 'parody' means. 'Parodies' do not simply have to be comedic. It is basically a spin on the original work. A lot of these people seem to be upset 'GWTW' fans that can't quite believe that someone is writing from the point of view of NOT Scarlett or Rhett.
Pen your own if you want something that you think would be better. I'll review yours just as harshly.
With that said, this isn't the greatest novel in the world, but it does manage to make a strong point. History is written from the view of the victors, and black people were not the victors of the Civil War. As a result, the stories of slaves and such are forgotten about and ignored, and it is stuff like GWTW that tend to be held up and championed by the masses.
This book is designed to fill a void. It fills the void of people like me asking 'What about Mammy?'
Planter [Gerald] slept with Mammy and gave birth to Cynara - Other's [Scarlett's] 3rd sister. Lady [Ellen] breastfed Cynara out of being upset about her husband's infidelity, and hiding the secret that she had a black ancestor. Cynara is eventually sold, and later ends up in Atlanta. She becomes a prostitute for Beauty [Belle Watling], and it is through Beauty that she comes across R. [Rhett Butler]. After R. leaves Other, he takes Cynara as his kept woman, though he and Cynara are at odds. She's merely a beautiful creature to him, and not a flesh-and-blood being. Cynara eventually leaves R. to marry a black man, and leaves Atlanta.
The biggest championing of this novel is the fact that it gives some depth to the characters that were neglected by the novel - and it does it is a pretty matter-of-fact way. Miss Priss [Prissy] is resentful of Mealy Mouth [Melanie] for having her brother killed. Garlic [Pork] is believed to have something to do with Gerald's death so that he could gain Cotton Farm/Tata [Tara]. It begins to get a little haywire when some of the other ulterior motives are discussed - Dreamy Gentleman [Ashley] being gay, Beauty being a lesbian, Mealy Mouth having someone killed, etc. Randall doesn't manage to make the novel it's own - it follows only on the coattails of GWTW. The biggest problem of this book is that it jumps the shark from 'clever, probable and likely' to 'out and out hateful'.
I rate it 3 stars because it is smart. It could, however, be smarter. It was apparently smart enough to disturb the Mitchell estate and countless white women who swear by GWTW. (less)
The first lines of the book set the stage quite beautifully. Faber is a master of his craft; he creates a world of both resplendent beauty and utter s...moreThe first lines of the book set the stage quite beautifully. Faber is a master of his craft; he creates a world of both resplendent beauty and utter sobering respectability and an underworld of sex, disease and poverty with the stinking mire of horse shit festering in the gutters of Old London.
You have a story with a wealth of characters - the one leading them all being a 19-year-old prostitute named Sugar. Fiercely intelligent, and good at her craft, she is one of the better-known prostitutes of London. Up and coming perfume magnate William Rackham finds out about her, and after a few trysts with her, soon finds that he can't keep a woman like her sitting in an aimless area like London. He also can't think of another man having her. So, he keeps her on as his kept woman. William, meanwhile, has a family; in particular, a sick wife named Agnes, whose sanity is ever crumbling. She feels as though her sanity and her health can be restored at the imaginary 'Convent of Health', but in the meantime, she's generally relegated to bed except during the times where she is able to entertain. Along with her declining sanity, she's also obsessed with the London Social Season.
Also in the roster of characters is William's brother, Henry. A pious man whose love interest is Emmeline Fox, the two are both interested in reforming prostitutes into living respectable, quiet lives. Everything tends to come full-circle when Sugar's life changes even more - she becomes a kept woman, and then a governess to William's neglected daughter, Sophie. This novel chronicles Sugar's ascent through society though revisits her dark origins.
The characterization is utterly brilliant. Here is Sugar, who starts off so self-assured, and ends just as self-assured. She is positive of what she's doing and which way she's going to go in her life, and plans on doing it completely on William's back - which, mind you, is not her fault. Agnes is a woman who is cloistered by Victorian expectations of what women are to be, a woman who has been unfortunately limited in her desires and has, all her life, had no choice of her own and has lead a life of loss and heartbreak. William starts as being a stuttering, stammering fool who is generally unsure of himself, and while he rises and feels himself becoming more powerful, he begins to change and becomes more of what is expected of a Victorian man. It is at the end of the book that he is brought back to reality.
This book is not for those that don't like sex in their novels. This book heaps it on, with vivid descriptions of not only sex, but birth control, abortions, STDs and other things that make ones skin want to crawl.
This is also a very empowering novel, especially in regards to women. This is set in the Victorian era, an era pretty well known for its harshness and disdain towards women. Women had virtually no rights, and were expected to remain in the home, defer to their husbands and have no mind of their own. This is what makes Sugar so atypical, and this is what makes Agnes miserable and insane. However, Sugar fights back against this world by writing and various other means - the biggest occurring at the end of the novel.
At 800-some-odd pages, this is a hell of a book, but is one that is certainly worth your time. (less)
This is a text that I would certainly call readable, but it veers slightly into the realm of historical fiction. Why? Because there are several fatal...moreThis is a text that I would certainly call readable, but it veers slightly into the realm of historical fiction. Why? Because there are several fatal errors that this text makes.
1. The issue of Martha Mouchanow. Her memoirs have been CONTINUOUSLY discredited. The fact that Erickson uses them at all is solely to make the novel juicier to modern audiences and those not interested in reading a fact-based text.
2. Alexei's hemophilia. I'm sorry, but it was this that nearly made me put the book down. The Russian populace did not know that Alexei suffered from hemophilia. They didn't find this out until much later. The Romanovs tried very hard to cover this over.
Now, this is a fun read, it makes Alexandra sympathetic, even though there are points in history where Alexandra isn't as sympathetic as the text makes her.
This was obviously written before the Darren Aronofsky film of 2010. A lot of people will (unsurprisingly) mistake this for the story about the ballet...moreThis was obviously written before the Darren Aronofsky film of 2010. A lot of people will (unsurprisingly) mistake this for the story about the ballet soloist that lost her mind.
This is a fairy tale, but a very dark one.
This story is told from the PoV of Lady Odile von Rothbart, though it tends to go from Odile to Prince Siegfried. While the ballet is not to be confused as being bright and happy (there is nothing bright and happy about it) the events in the book are an example of 'It Got Worse'. This novel delves more into the darkness of everyone. It takes the personas established by the characters in the ballet and turns it on their heads. Odile, instead of the homewrecking temptress that everyone knows and loves, becomes much more sympathetic. The Queen Mother (Clothilde) isn't a generous woman with her son's best interests in mind. Baron von Rothbart is a negligent and emotionally abusive parent, Siegfried has a LOT of demons of his own, and even Odette - the gentle, weak, submissive Swan Queen - borders on the dishonest, but is slightly less weak and beat down. The characterization here is brilliant.
It's been quite a while since I've read this, so I'm not as sure about the writing as I once was. I'll just say that the story will manage to make your childhood crash and burn even more than the ballet has already made you want to wake up with nightmares.
This book is absolutely worth your time if you want an adult, slightly sexual, fairytale. (less)