I just finished this trilogy a few days ago, but there are rumors that there will be a 4th book, so I may not actually be done yet. I really enjoyed t...moreI just finished this trilogy a few days ago, but there are rumors that there will be a 4th book, so I may not actually be done yet. I really enjoyed this story, as childrens' books go, this series feels like a throwback to The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicals of Narnia, its very intelligent writing (surprisingly so). You definitely need to go into it with some pre-existing knowledge of the Catholic church and its myths and history but, even though he manages to pull off numerous references to several different Romantic poets as well as using Paradise Lost as the basis for the entire concept, I think the average reader will still enjoy this. No Lit degree required, but I have to say, being able to recognize quotes and references on sight definitely made me feel like I was getting more out of it. So, if you have time, I recommend reading Paradise Lost first. And, just so its clear, the writer is not actually a godless athiest who thinks everyone who believes in Christianity is the enemy, quite the opposite in fact, he is, however, anti-corruption and anti-abuse of power and the book definitely weighs heavily on those themes. So, if you believe that the church, throughout its history, has been entirely free of corruption, betrayal and hypocrasy, then sure, you might be offended. My favorite part, the way the main character is written, I think she is a fabulous re-working of your typical female heroine that it makes me wish I knew more 11 year old girls so I could buy them this story. (less)
I have to be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about this trilogy before seeing last year's Tony awards. While watching that show, I saw that Tom Stop...moreI have to be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about this trilogy before seeing last year's Tony awards. While watching that show, I saw that Tom Stoppard had written a new series of plays and I knew that I wanted them, because he is fabulous.
I became dubious almost immediately because the begining of the first play introduces the fact that the action of this story surrounds some figures tied into the philisophical movement behind the Russian Revolution. Now, I am almost completely ignorant as to the details of events leading up to the revolution in Russia, I know about the Romanovs, the stories about Anastasia and Rasputin (the cartoon, of course ;o), but my high school history classes covered the French revolution and its philosophers, when it came to Russia, they pretty much told us that the revolution happened and left it at that. However, much in the same way that one doesn't need to be a Houseman scholar to understand The Invention of Love, you don't need to be a Russian historian to get this. The action begins in the Bakunin house, where we meet a traditional upperclass family on the brink of upheaval. Michael Bakunin, the oldest child (and only son) has become a philosopher, not yet a revolutionist, but has rejected the place in society his family demands he take and slowly, throughout the course of the play, his passion begins to unravel the entire traditional base on which his family's beliefs are based.
As its title suggests, Voyage is the figurative ship, just beginning to set sail and the story begins, as these stories always seem to, with young students, studying the works of the greats only to find that the class system is faulty. The works of the European Romantics and Transcendental philosophers have opened this generation up to the idea of the "self" for the first time and that independence of thought and freedom of expression struggles to become the basis for their revolutionary ideas. But of course, there is also the conflict that arises between all the new movements invading Europe and the confusion that the contradictions cause. This idea is hinted at in the first play here but will play a much bigger role in the second. (less)
This is definitely the most difficult of the three plays to read because the wave of hope and youthful ambition that begins to roll out the action of...moreThis is definitely the most difficult of the three plays to read because the wave of hope and youthful ambition that begins to roll out the action of the first play unravels, leaving our main characters as disillusioned ex-patriots, scattered all over Europe, some in forces exile, some imprisoned, some simple unable to bear the thought of going home to a country they love so passionately and yet can't seem to make right.
The conflicts between varying philosophies have taken their tolls on all the main characters in this play, these philosophers who inspired all their hopeful drive in the first one are now just confusion, with so many interpretations and so many variations, there is simply no way to know who to look to for guidance or inspiration anymore. There is also a huge confusion in the simple ideas of family and love. The shipwreck in this case, could really be seen as the complete mental breakdown cause by the sheer magnitude of all these conflicting ideas and the weight of the responsibility of choosing the "right" one that will move society forward. (less)
I have to admit that I fell into the subconcious trap of reading these plays as though they were "The Russian Revolution as told from the eyes of the...moreI have to admit that I fell into the subconcious trap of reading these plays as though they were "The Russian Revolution as told from the eyes of the philosophers" in the same way one could write a series of plays about the French revolution as sold from the point of view of Locke or Robespierre. Of course, this series is much more a biographical sketch of Herzen and Bakunin, two historical figures whose philosophies are intricately tied with the movement that would become the Russuam Revolution, but who didn't actually live to see it happen. The truth of this because plainly obvious before the end of the second play, and yet still, like an idiot, I felt this jarring sense of incompleteness at the end of the third play because the action ended when Herzen dies as opposed to going up to the assasination of the Romanov family (the real climax I was waiting for).
So far, this review is much more about my own lameness than it is about the finale of this trilogy, lets see if I can bring it home.
I think the conclusion and the choice of timeline creates a very interesting juxtaposition. The audience travels through the lifetimes of these historical figured and follows the story through to a conclusion so there is a sense of finality and completion, and yet not, because in the historical context, the revolution has yet to even begin. So, though we've traveled through all the dramatic devices to the conclusion of the story, its nothing more than a prequel to the mail event. I love Stoppards use of this "finality as a gateway" to drive home one of the main points of the play; revolution is not the relm of old philosophers, it will always be brought about by the passion of the young. So, at once he's able to give full recognition to those paved the way while showing that by the time the starts were aligned, they were powerless to bring about the change themselves. The end is tragic and hopeful at the same time because the audience has the outside knowledge that these ideas will live on and their revolution will come to pass, but so will all their fears of chaos and anarchy. It is true that the dream of a "peaceful revolution from above" is just that, a dream. (less)
The movie is much, much better than the book. The book was obviously written by a spurned former assistant who was trying to exact her revenge against...moreThe movie is much, much better than the book. The book was obviously written by a spurned former assistant who was trying to exact her revenge against her evil former boss, thats all well and good, but unfortunately, it doesn't make for good reading. The author completely refuses to humanize the Miranda character at all and just makes her completely evil, with no motivation or reason. So, what you get is a girl, working for Satan and you're supposed to feel horrible for the girl and see her as a saint, but no, she's just an idiot for refusing to leave a bad situation and get a decent job. (less)
Its really not a good book, the characters' motivations aren't clear and you're constantly asking yourself "why is she living like this, there is just...moreIts really not a good book, the characters' motivations aren't clear and you're constantly asking yourself "why is she living like this, there is just no reason?" about several of the characters. The movie isn't much better, its all pretty depressing and you just leave terrified for what that poor little boy will turn into. (less)
Its absolute chick-lit, pure and simple, no substance at all. However, its a quick-read and there are some very funny parts, but its also very difficu...moreIts absolute chick-lit, pure and simple, no substance at all. However, its a quick-read and there are some very funny parts, but its also very difficult when she backs herself into a corner with her annoying childish behavior. So, just skip the drama she creates by being immature and pick it back up at the end for the resolution and all will be good!
My review for all the Shopaholic books is the same...I actually don't know why I kept reading after the first one. (less)