The primrose, usually the first flower of spring (from the Latin “prima”), represents enduring love. In the Language of Flowers, it means “I can't liv...moreThe primrose, usually the first flower of spring (from the Latin “prima”), represents enduring love. In the Language of Flowers, it means “I can't live without you.” It tells your significant other, “I am yours forever.”
★★★★½ The world-building in this epic romantic-time-travel-fantasy is superior, the characters wonderful. Some people find Rhapsody, the heroine, to be too much of a “Mary Sue” – if that is even possible for someone with her back ground! I found her delightful and felt her losses. **shrugs** Go figure.
This book is spell-binding, the characters anything but cardboard cutout figurines – so often found in other books – and the mystery entertaining. The developing camaraderie between the three main protagonists is entertaining and truly the “guts” of this first in the Symphony of Ages series. I almost gave up on their endless journey along the Root, but it was so worth it when they finally hit the light of day. I’m guessing the heart – or romance – comes in the second book; one I’m looking forward to! Plus, I’m hearing rumors of seventh book, The Merchant Emperor in Spring, 2012. Yippee!
★★★½ I can’t believe I’m rating this book the same as AFfC, but it doesn’t deserve four stars, IMHO. Maybe I should lower AFfC to just an even three....more★★★½ I can’t believe I’m rating this book the same as AFfC, but it doesn’t deserve four stars, IMHO. Maybe I should lower AFfC to just an even three. Why so low for ADwD?
First: I didn’t like the layout of these two books, but that was GRRM’s decision, not mine. The timeline was too discombobulated with book #4 and book #5 really being one gigantic book – with basically opposing sides presented in each volume. GRRM occasionally threw in another POV character, but it didn’t sustain the oomph of the first three books. Those, I couldn’t put down and didn’t want to pick back up – they worked me up so much. These last two I just wanted to leave alone and forget. The only thing that kept me going was I was in a “buddy read” with people who were kind enough to wait for me to get a copy from the library. So, I should bail on them? Nope. I’m not a character from Westeros.
Second: Everyone knows GRRM can write – and I mean really write. Here he is too repetitious, though not as bad as AFfC. Not just in phrases, but in themes and events. And in what and how the characters deal with them.
Third: (view spoiler)[Not a dragon in sight, let alone one dancing! Until near the end. (Well, a few glimpses from far away.) But GRRM was probably talking about the Targaryens and their supporters in his title and not the mythical fire-breathing animals we were all waiting for with bated breath. (hide spoiler)]
Forth: All my favorite characters had changed into depressed, oblivious, or insecure failures. Most every chapter ends in a cliffhanger, with no resolution in sight…
Fifth: But, my #1 reason is b/c it is way beyond sadistic with too much of man’s inhumanity to man on display – make that most especially toward women. To the point of being sick! If you thought the first four were on the razor’s, that is nothing compared to this one. I had to read some serious humor and fluff to get over this.
Sixth: Well, that one I won’t spoil for you even with a “view spoiler.” Sufficient to say, if you know me and know who my top two favorite characters are, you’ll know why I was not happy with that cliffhanger.
It is sad, because even if I live another five years for the next installment of this series, and another five for the last, I’ll probably just ask for a synopsis. Maybe.
** I listened to the audiobook of this novel. Roy Dotrice does a nice job on the narration. With no appendix, I referred to Wiki Ice frequently to recall the cast of thousands (I’m not kidding about the number) from the past installments. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Warning: Don’t expect Donna Reed to show up in this one. ★★★★★ I loved it, I hated it, I couldn’t put it down, I vowed never to pick it up and read an...moreWarning: Don’t expect Donna Reed to show up in this one. ★★★★★ I loved it, I hated it, I couldn’t put it down, I vowed never to pick it up and read another chapter. Yeah. I went on an emotional roller-coaster ride with this fantasy Machiavellian soap-opera. It grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go, even when I pleaded for mercy. I can’t image what those poor people, who don’t read, are doing while they wait for the next installment of this series to come out on HBO. Then again, I may commiserate with them when I finish book #5, with books #6 & #7 still unwritten. A compelling read. The characters were fascinating, the story convoluted. Glad I did it as a buddy read in the Nothing But Reading Challenges Group. Some things I surmised, some things they figured out way before I did, some we figured out together. Warning: There is no telling who lives, who dies, or who gets away with murder in this book: beloved characters, despised ones, bad men, good men, women, children, animals and the innocent. **sigh**
All I can say is, "Winter is coming." **sigh** (less)
Edmond Dantés, AKA: Robert Donat (1934), Richard Chamberlain (1975), Gérard Depardieu (1998), James Caviezel (2002), Emily VanCamp (2011)
★★★★☆ (This is...moreEdmond Dantés, AKA: Robert Donat (1934), Richard Chamberlain (1975), Gérard Depardieu (1998), James Caviezel (2002), Emily VanCamp (2011)
★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Okay, it took me over three months to listen to this classic, that was very well narrated by Englishman Richard Matthews, who speaks French with aplomb. So much so, that his narration kicked it up a notch (from three ★ to four). I could NOT have gotten through it without him. Still, I must admit, I used ever form of media I could find: Kindle freebie from Project Gutenberg, Wikipedia, Cliff Notes, and movies. My favorite was from Pink Monkey's Study Guide of TCOMC.
I think I’ve seen ever movie version ever done of this one, and I can remember my mother reading it to us when we were young. This is the über-revenge classic of all time, made all the more intriguing because of Dumas’ father’s background, leading one to wonder how far to separate fact from fiction. Alas, I was bogged down by this work that was released in serial format back in 1844. This was written back in the day when books were scarce, and let me tell you, this one has some convoluted plotlines. Man-oh-man! Just take a look at this complex interrelationship among the characters.
I read this as a “buddy read” for the Happily Ever After Café GoodReads Group. Why? I don’t know (even though I nominated it); because there certainly is not a HEA for Edmond Dantés and his former fiancée Mercédès’. Nevertheless, I am glad I listened to it, if only to know that every time I read a romance book that describes the hero as having “hair as black as a raven’s wing,” I can smile to myself, knowing from whom it was plagiarized. Plus, I guess you could say there is a HEA for someone: (view spoiler)[>Dantés allows Mercédès’ son, Viscount Albert de Morcerf, to have his. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
My mother wouldn't let me read "Gone With the Wind" until I was 16. A few years ago I was at a cocktail party and they asked the trivia question "What...moreMy mother wouldn't let me read "Gone With the Wind" until I was 16. A few years ago I was at a cocktail party and they asked the trivia question "What was the first line of GWtW?" I knew the answer. My husband asked, "How did you know that?" (He'd lived with me how many decades?) I told him about my mom's restriction and how, when I finally opened the book, I was stunned by the first sentence. I had seen the movie and Scarlett was beautiful, if a bitch. I also remember it because everyone always talked about how hard it was to cast the role for the movie and how beautiful I thought Vivian Leigh was. In the book Scarlett is not so much a "supreme bitch of the universe" as a survivor and she drags her family along (kicking and screaming) with her. She is presented slightly different and more complex in the book. The whole incident with Scarlett stealing her sister's beau? In the book you just knew that her sister would only use Hamilton’s money for herself where Scarlett wanted it to save Tara because Tara means 'dirt/land/earth' in Ireland. If you had land, you were rich and self-sufficient. I wouldn't have minded being on a deserted island with her if I was part of her family...Or even in the middle of a civil war. LOL. (In the movie they also left out a couple of marriages and kids which gave her more depth.)
We all know this war torn families apart. Years ago I had a cousin who traced our family tree. I had a great-great-great-grandfather who lived in the South and went to fight for the North. I also had another who lived in the North and went to fight for the South. No wonder I always want to play ‘devil’s advocate.’ It’s in my DNA.
I could go off on a whole tangent about the characters in GWTW and what each of them represented with regard to the South. If Scarlett represented a segment of the South the way it was when the Civil War started, it was as a progressive segment that knew where it was headed: strong, determined, attractive, young, rich, bored (complacent), spoiled, unable to love those who truly understood her and loved her anyway (i.e. the North not wanting the South to leave, the South not loving the Union), doing anything to get her way or survive (even enslave a people or take advantage of chained-gang prison-workers)…ever so slowly changing, showing bravery, but learning too late how to change in time…Well then, the first sentence takes on a whole new meaning. (view spoiler)[”Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” (hide spoiler)] Slavery is not beautiful, it’s ugly.
But the wealth it provided? Well, as I learned in my economics class in college, if the war had been fought five years later the South would have won. It was that wealthy. It was also this book that told me that the North was not blameless in the whole thing as many of the slave sellers/capturers and slave ship owners were from the North. They never told me THAT in high school. And Scarlett? Like our forfathers chose to do while writing the constitution, she was going to think about all of it (slavery) tomorrow. Scarlett is, in this story, the eyes of the progressive South at that time and she fails to see the world around her in time. Maybe because she’s too busy batting her lashes to get her way. And yet we feel for her when she pulls that carrot out of the ground, eats it and throws up. We grieve so for her heartbreak at the end of the book. How did Mitchell pull that off? We are right there with her when she’s lost in the fog and can’t see before she goes home to Tara.
Rhett is the New South, charming, lustful, innovative, an investor. Cynicism (a trait he shares with Scarlett) hides his compassion (a trait he shares with Melanie), and he won’t fight or take a side in the war until he must. But Mitchell makes him and all her characters extremely complex, for she gives him a sense of honor for honor’s sake. (Is he then a gentleman like Ashley?) Rhett’s almost downfall? His deep and abiding love for Scarlett (he - like Melanie - sees her for who and what she is, the good as well as the bad); nevertheless, he eventually leaves her ideology behind in disgust. He has the work-ethic and is the muscle, but only flexes it when his devastating charm won’t work. In the end he walks out.
Ashley and Melanie? Two different, complex aspects of the Old South - one lost without the other - and their antiquated way of life. Remember, Ashley doesn’t love Scarlett and he detests slavery. But he didn’t know how to survive without it. He’s painted himself into a corner. Ashley wants to marry Melanie because he believes he has more in common with her than Scarlett. He’s wrong. He’s the intellect of the Old South, struggling to hang on to his gentlemanly behavior and failing totally. As Annalisa says in her Goodreads review: “(Scarlett) sees Ashley not as the strong, honorable character she had always esteemed but the weakest and least honorable character in the book. Anyone who would tease another woman with confessions of love just so he could keep her heart and devotion at arm's length is not truly honoring his marriage vows.” There’s a reason he is in a prison during the war. He doesn’t want to/can’t change some aspects of his life/nature, and in the end can’t conceive of a life without his heart, for that is where courage lives. For all our deep philosophical ideals do not reside in the brain but in our heart.
The heart? That would be Melanie, a gentle southern belle, a ‘great lady’ and one of the few true ‘purely good’ people in Mitchell’s epic. She was sickly due to so many generations of inbreeding within an educated, affluent family. She is the heart and courage of the Old South, not its eyes. She refuses to believe the ‘ugliness’ of Scarlett when she witnesses her in Ashley’s arms (and for once Scarlett is innocent). Melanie is the only one who sees Rhett cry and soon after she dies.
Mammy? She has it all and sees all. The all-knowing mother with eyes in the back of her head. The work-ethic. The conscience. An inner strength, and a loving, forgiving nature.
I told you I was sixteen when I read this. In my naiveté I asked my mother if Rhett and Scarlett got back together and she told me, “It’s like a beautiful tea cup. Once it’s broken, you can glue it back together, but it is never as beautiful to the eyes as it once was.” Scarlett really represents a “might have been.” What might have been if slavery had been abolished in 1776? Or even anytime before 1862? Was she truly blind, wearing rose-tinted glasses, or did she let pride and hubris get in her way?
You do remember your history lessons? Don’t expect a happy ending. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)