Years ago—like ten—this used to be one of my go to books at the library if I couldn’t find anything else. I read it at least three times. When I recenYears ago—like ten—this used to be one of my go to books at the library if I couldn’t find anything else. I read it at least three times. When I recently bought it on my Kindle, I prepared myself for the possibility that my reading tastes may have changed.
The slow start did have me a tad worried. Though Ivory writes quite well and blends historical facts flawlessly into the story, I faintly recalled something else, something majorly wonderful that pulled me into this story every time I read it. About ten percent in, I suddenly remembered, or maybe realized, what the wonderful was.
(Part of the fun of this book is figuring things out, so I’m going to try to stay as spoiler free as possible and a bit vague.)
Ivory’s greatest strength is character development. Not only is she a genius at it, she presents, mostly as show, character development in an almost puzzle like way that makes the reader untangle each layer. Sometimes those puzzle pieces are so subtle that the reader needs to reflect or reread a scene or section to find or understand those puzzle pieces. At least this reader did. There are dialogue bits and backstory and character thoughts that gradually build the characters and explain plot twists. But rarely all at once. For example, Graham’s court case seems a bit unbelievable in the beginning. Ivory only offers vague tidbits of how it could be possible during the case. Then throughout—sometimes hundreds of pages apart—the story she shows how his past and public persona ended up putting his public image on trial.
The slow—yes, this book is a bit slow but in a good way—drawing out of the main characters is the fun of the story and by the end of the novel, both characters burst at their rounded seams with realism. Ivory’s well-rounded characters are not always likable. But they are real like. They are imperfect. They are interesting. Graham is an ass in a variety of ways for most of the book—he even has a mistress for a large part of the story—while Submit is an egotistical prude, and that is just the tip of their flaw icebergs. Yet Ivory shows throughout the book how each of them came into their flaws. She also slowly reveals each of their positive traits, sometimes with extreme subtlety. And most of those positive traits are what—besides a slow building lust—gradually knit Graham and Submit together.
The getting to know each other phase is my favorite part of romances. And in Black Silk, this phase covered all the bases, from dislike to friendship to respect to obsession, and made me a believer when these two made their declarations.
The slow burning romance and the lush character development along with the analytical way I had to piece each character together is why this book remains on my favorite list.
This was awesome! I love, love, love great character development, and this story had it in droves. It had a quirky humor that was fun. And it also hadThis was awesome! I love, love, love great character development, and this story had it in droves. It had a quirky humor that was fun. And it also had Alex. Mysterious, hot, eccentric, so different than other leads Alex.
I went with a four because I read for entertainment, and yes, this book kept me entertained. However, I wasn’t a big fan of the ending. Scratch that.I went with a four because I read for entertainment, and yes, this book kept me entertained. However, I wasn’t a big fan of the ending. Scratch that. I hated a certain part of the ending. I finished it several days ago and finally decided to write a review. I’m going to try to make it brief…
Spoilers (not sure the warning is necessary at this point) Here’s where this book (series) took a nose dive.
Two quotes from chapter 26 __ All those people I loved, dead, and we are discussing the next Hunger Games in an attempt to avoid wasting life. Nothing has changed. Nothing will ever change now. I weigh my options carefully, think everything through. Keeping my eyes on the rose, I say, "I vote yes...for Prim." __ The point of my arrow shifts upward. I release the string. And President Coin collapses over the side of the balcony and plunges to the ground. Dead. __
In my mind here is Katniss’s ultimate decision, ultimate sacrifice. After weighing her options and shooting that arrow, she not only gives up her life (with the assumption she’d be executed, which is a realistic assumption) but gives up her persona and power as the Mockingjay. (Definite hero to zero in the public eye by doing this and later getting out of death by insanity.) But at this point, what’s the sacrifice? We’re aware as readers she doesn’t care to live by now and she never cared about being the Mockingjay, never internally thought about using her power to help create a more fair government once the rebellion was over.
If this had come off as a real sacrifice, this book, even Katniss quietly living out her life in district twelve, would have worked for me. If sometime before this point, Katniss had embraced being the Mockingjay or wanted to live, even right before coming to the table to vote, the ending would have had an impact. But as is, Katniss came to the conclusion that nothing would ever change. So why even shoot Coin? So in the end, people are power hungry, war sucks, and it will continue to happen. That was a major news flash. If you’re not going to give me hope, at least give me a real hero.
I’m going to guess, and of course, I could be totally wrong, that Collins got so wrapped up in the Peeta vs. Gale crap that she worked extra hard on showing us why Katniss picked Peeta because a large chunk of this book was dedicated to that theme. Personally, I think that decision was shown in Catching Fire with the kiss on the beach. But in a book about starvation, war, and death, a teenager’s decision in a love triangle should not be the driving force.
I’ll take my exit with this famous line from Casablanca.
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