Spicenectar Darrenhuf's Reviews > She

She by H. Rider Haggard
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Oct 27, 10

Read in October, 2010

I don't really expect you to read this book, it's very old and rare to come across. But if you do ever have the chance to read it, I suggest you take it. It's an extremely well written book. You may not think so at first glance ( seeing as there are exclamation points in the middle of sentences, and a far more appropriate use of some words than most of us are used to), but it is none the less well written. It boasts a challenging vocabulary, along with some words that I have never heard in my fifteen years of existence. But it's not only the vocabulary that surprised me, it's the emotion the author can put behind his words, the raw depth he can give his characters. This above all else is what makes this book worthwhile. Aside from that, "She" can provoke thoughts about human nature that we feel more steadfast when unsaid, but H. Rider Haggard insists on speaking out. This, I must confess, is what I respect about this man, as an author. Lets not forget that, against all this, the book is absurd. This can distract you from the complexities of what is going on, what thoughts should come to mind. Instead you will probably think of the plot, and solely the plot, which I admit is crazy from start to end. Crazy, because of the fact that the book starts out with our narrator's best friend, Vincey, dying in his dorm room and leaving the narrator half of all his money along with his bastard son he has never actually met. Along with all of his money, Vincey leaves a metal box which ends up containing an ancient prophesy dating back over two thousand years, to show to his son on his twenty fifth birthday. Even crazier, it ends with both adopted father and son crawling out of a hell of sorts, and finding a common old friend. I've never read a book like it. On a different note, in regards to the title (as this is necessary to fulfill all parts of the rubric) "She" is probably the most fitting title for the book. This being so because the character the book revolves around, Ayesha, is referred to as "She", or "She-who-must-be-obeyed". I cannot go into much more detail, but I hope you get a chance to read it.

Here's a short passage from the book, solely to spark interest.

How could more light than there was ever come to this dreadful spot? While I was still debating in my mind, suddenly, like a great sword of flame, a beam from the setting sun pierced the Stygian gloom, and smote upon the point of rock whereon we lay, illumining Ayesha's lovely form with an unearthly splendour. I only wish that I could describe the wonderful and marvellous beauty of that sword of fire, laid across the darkness and rushing mist-wreaths of the gulf. How it got there I do not to this moment know, but I presume that there was some cleft or hole in the opposing cliff, through which it pierced when the setting orb was in a direct line therewith. All I can say is that the effect was the most wonderful I ever saw. Right through the heart of the darkness that flaming sword was stabbed, and where it lay there was the most surpassingly vivid light, so vivid that even at a distance one could see the grain of the rock, while, outside of it - yes, within a few inches of its keen edge - was naught but clustering shadows.
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