Welcome, readers, come and indulge. Villette is exquisitely satisfying. Villette is beautifully, artistically written. Villette is amazing.
Villette is...moreWelcome, readers, come and indulge. Villette is exquisitely satisfying. Villette is beautifully, artistically written. Villette is amazing.
Villette is also 573 pages long. Its narrator is often detached and unreliable. It has frequent and long passages in French. But you probably had an idea when you saw this book--this is not light reading. It is not Jane Eyre, a fast, easy read, with an easy-to-like heroine. It is at times laborious, as Lucy's life is laborious. Lucy is not always likeable, called 'morbid and weak' by Charlotte Brontë herself. I have heard it compared to Wuthering Heights in the detached manner of its telling...and while I don't think that's the best comparison, it sort of gets the right picture. Information is withheld from us by Lucy. She distrusts us. She tells nothing of herself. There is a veil between the readers and herself.
But these are not weaknesses. Over time, Lucy's style of telling changes, the story is revealed like...sorry for the cliché, but like peeling an orange. Not as if there is a mystery with a grand revelation awaiting...but the real stuff is waiting for you.
As for romance...if you're looking for effortless reading to get you loads of sexual tension and hatred (but really passionate love) with the hottest man that ever lived, go reread Pride and Prejudice. (I'm exaggerating. Slightly.) There's romantic love in Villette, tension, passion...but you can't just be skimming the pages, searching for the name of the male interest, dreaming about Matthew Macfadyen/Colin Firth ...you get my point.
So if you're into meaty, hard-packed awesomeness, read this book. Also, it would really help if you knew French, despite this version's translations. Good luck!(less)
Finally I finished it! There was a lot of awesome about this book but there were many detracting factors (personally, for me) so it's just a 4.5. But...moreFinally I finished it! There was a lot of awesome about this book but there were many detracting factors (personally, for me) so it's just a 4.5. But come on, Tolkien is a genius. Round up.
First chronologically, the preface-letter by J.R.R. Tolkien himself was pretty awesome. You can see how devoted he was to his work, how humble he was considering all he accomplished...I don't know. Just like a window into the creator of all this.
Moving on. We start at the beginning, with a story of Creation fulfilling the roles of God, angels, and the fallen angel, basically. Music included. Then the world was created. I shouldn't summarize this. Sorry. But we eventually meet the Valar, gods of the Earth, highest of whom is Manwe, coupled with Varda the Queen of the Stars, and many more. This part was really fun to read. A Tolkien-level mythology.
Into the Quenta Silmarillion, everything was still awesome. I loved reading about the Valar and Maiar and Elves, the Silmarils, especially the stories following individual characters/couples like Beren and Luthien, and Turin etc.
So, to sum up! Everything is good and jolly. Now my few complaints: geography. Don't get me wrong, I like geography in books. I like to know where I am, I love detailed physical descriptions, at least of a certain type, as I've discovered. But there was one chapter of mostly geography...and it is just an example of the stuff I can't handle well, that appeared lots in the book. There was little story in it and mostly descriptions of kingdoms and rivers and mountains with new, foreign names that I can't adjust to so quickly to enjoy when there's just a rapid succession of their names with relative words between and little bits of pretty description for basically a whole chapter. I just can't absorb it. And it bored me to death. But if I were capable of absorbing it better I think I would like it fine, so I'm not counting it as much.
I think I would love to go back and read the beginning and return to favorite chapters and read them over and over again but there were parts I didn't like. So...yeah.(less)
Fire is an exciting, captivating, emotional journey that you won't want to leave for a second. It's well paced, fast and breathless at times, at other...moreFire is an exciting, captivating, emotional journey that you won't want to leave for a second. It's well paced, fast and breathless at times, at others leisurely but still so compelling. Fire is a gorgeous, talented character with a troubled heart, some of her troubles come directly from her beauty and talent. Her inner battles drive the plot along just as external battles do (by battles I mean conflicts). Brigan is talented and well worthy of the attention he gets. Immiker/Lerk (?) was a really cool, slightly ambiguous character. I like ambiguous characters :)
Regarding the language, the book was written very well, I thought. Some (contemporary) writers try to achieve the older-fashioned way of speaking, adding 'thus' and be----' verbs (beheld, bequeathed, whatever) and eliminating all contractions, making the language choppy and unnatural. Kristin Cashore achieved what they failed attempting, moderating but not eliminating contractions, using elevated diction but not unheard-of words that make it seem like a kid with a thesauras wrote it. There were some cool ideas and themes sprinkled in too. I really liked this book!
Two things bothered me. Or two and a half. No, one and two halves. Yes. One half was Cashore's bluntness with...female business. Not that I think these topics should be avoided in books, but I think there could have been less of it without affecting the book any way but positively for someone like me. I read this kind of book for an escape. That took away from the escape effect...but that's just me. Not a big deal. The other half is the pacing at the end. It was really good until the end where I think it could have been shorter. But maybe the length makes it easier to leave the book. It is probably better than making the ending too short. Last thing...(MINOR SPOILER)...
....one of the messages in the book and especially at the end was that killing is okay, if it saved more people than....blah blah blah. I don't care if that person is Hitler before the Holocaust, no one has a right to kill anyone else no matter what they think that person will do. It's my personal belief. What separates your killing Hitler from his killing someone else? How can any human judge that for himself, who is worthy to live? Lots of people have desired to kill someone, but that doesn't mean any other human with a weapon has the right to kill that person. Seriously. I realize the point is debatable but what a dumb way to end a great book.(less)
4.5 stars. Not amazing but really fun and...'cool'. Haha.
Okay, on reflection, it is pretty amazing. I loved it when I was reading it. It is reall...more4.5 stars. Not amazing but really fun and...'cool'. Haha.
Okay, on reflection, it is pretty amazing. I loved it when I was reading it. It is really great. Just not quite as good as some of my other 5-star books. But definitely a 5-star book. Really good!(less)
I don't think the genius of this book can be appreciated in one reading, especially by someone as...well, not-genius as me. Fate handed me this book,...moreI don't think the genius of this book can be appreciated in one reading, especially by someone as...well, not-genius as me. Fate handed me this book, while my friend (aka Queen of the Universe) claimed it to be the worst book ever (loser ;p), it kept popping up in other books I was reading, and I kept seeing and hearing about it, it seemed...and finally, after hauling a dozen books to my mother in an appeal that she chose my next one, she picked this one up first...so, at least, I like to pretend it was fate, and until I am contradicted it seems like a nice idea to imagine it chose me.
I was excited, but nervous...it's pretty much a love-it-or-hate-it book, it seems. Well, I got caught up in it, faster and sooner even than Jane Eyre had, and from the beginning hated to put it down. I love the characters. In a weird way. Who can love a man so violent at mild provocation, a man who hangs dogs....? And Catherine, often vain and rude and immature in her fits amd tears. I can't explain it, maybe I will be able to next read.
I also loved Nelly, in a normal way, I suppose. Many people have complained at hearing the story secondhand through her, but I loved her storytelling, and loved her for going through all she did. In my book's afterword, Jack Sullivan pointed out how the distortion of the story through its tellers (Nelly got it secondhand often, and made her own edits in telling, and even Lockwood edited) makes the gothic story more mysterious, and 'misty' as he said.
Jane Austen is a favorite of mine, easily, but while their is much passion and many levels of it in her novels, there is nothing like the passion in Wuthering Heights. Reading it was exhilarating. Of all the people who hate this book, I doubt many of them blame it on boredom.
I highly recommend thos book to anyone already inclined to read it--of course anyone going into a book reluctantly (curse school required reading! ;)) is more likely to dislike it. It takes more focus than the average novel I think not because of the time it was written (1848ish?) but because of the layers of storytelling. But if you're willing...it is AMAZING. (less)
A great book, by one of my definitions, is one that can make you laugh and cry...sometimes very closely together. You feel strongly for the characters...moreA great book, by one of my definitions, is one that can make you laugh and cry...sometimes very closely together. You feel strongly for the characters (some of them), whether those feelings are sympathy, empathy, hatred, or admiration. It isn't black and white, but presents both sides and lets you decide...for me, this book was certainly great. Often funny, but I know I'm not the only one who cried in it...I have a great admiration for Voldemort, and more for Dumbledore, and even more for Snape. I have a thing for super smart people, genuinely smart people, not snobby or fake in their intelligence...anyway. I love reading about all of them, and Draco too, who I relate to really closely in some ways. And Ginny! Love her. Harry and the rest are frequently funny, relatable, interesting, all that. But they don't stand up next to the aforementioned characters. And because there is a good side and bad side, people often think that it is a black and white series...but that's only scratching the surface, and the evidence does not only lie in Snape.
The Half Blood Prince! Oh, man, he made this book awesome. Super smart, and if I were a witch, I would be desperate for just a glance at that book of genius. Or more. Having read the series before, my emotions were doubly twisted, knowing the motives and emotions of misunderstood or overjudged characterS.
Weird thing, with Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, I had times I feared I was starting to stop liking them...and...'my good opinion, once lost, is lost forever'...for the most part. But they're like good friends, and I dread losing any of them. That's part of my love for the books...how sad it makes me to imagine them nonexistent, dead, whatever....NO! not the real world again!!! I must live in fiction! Off to start another book. Or try to forget all about books. How terribly wonderful readng can be!(less)
Wowww...replaces Prisoner of Azkaban as my favorite HP book. There is SOOOOOOO much awesome in this. Only downside is my slight depression at leaving...moreWowww...replaces Prisoner of Azkaban as my favorite HP book. There is SOOOOOOO much awesome in this. Only downside is my slight depression at leaving the characters, at the deaths, at all the emotions packed in there. Wowww...seriously though, hard-packed AWESOMENESS!!! Why did it have to end????(less)