Aly (Fantasy4eva)'s Reviews > Revolution

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
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Sep 09, 11

bookshelves: pleasantly-surprised, i-ache-for-you, received-for-review
Read on September 07, 2011

REVOLUTION is a tough book to crack. It's not one of those where you can give an explanation and get on with it. There's a lot more to it than that. There's so much going on, but I suppose what I can begin with is music. Music plays such an important role. Not only are both MC' rather exceptional with the Guitar, but in this instance - music become a coping mechanism. It's one of the only things that in the midst of all the death, pain and hunger that they can really call their own.

Andi is filled with grief. She is haunted by the death of her brother, and ever since, her mother has never been quite the same. So if her mother painting her son over and over again - to the point where the house is covered with his face, then so be it. She would do anything to take her mother's pain away. Her father has always been in a world of his own. A place where science comes first, even before family. Love, lust, his children, wife. It has taken over his life, and it does not take long until his work starts to tear his family apart. It gets to the point where he hardly ever sees his children, so obsessed he becomes to finding "the key" that he seem to forget that he has a family back home that waits for him everyday. Unfortunately when his son passes away he delves deeper into his work, and instead, his daughter is left to carry the pieces of a broken mother when she can hardly cope herself.

Andi is slightly tricky to decide over. I actually really struggled with her. She's suicidal, yet she come across as so melodramatic that you don't know if you should feel sorry for her, or just slap some sense into her. She's spoilt for one. She's had a lot handed to her growing up. Private schools, the money for any prestigious University for her liking, uses her father's credit card -taking out ridiculous amount of money and is then confused when it is cut off. So although, sure, I felt sorry for what she went through - it was a little hard to sympathise with her at times. Especially when she was sent to Paris as a punishment! Heck, I'd take that as punishment anyday.

It's whilst in Paris though that things take a turn. Although she still slips ups and is tempted to commit suicide and take more pills than needed, it's people like Virgil, Alex, Amade and Louis - Charles that show her why life is worth fighting for, that there is reason to live. During her stay in Paris she comes across a diary. Alexandrine' (Alex) diary. Although the diary holds the thoughts of a girl from over two hundred years ago, there is something fascinating about her account. It's during this time that the duel narrative sets in. It's interesting, yet wonderful to see both of these girls mature and change through the hardships they will both endure.

I've said this before, but I just loved how the author has this wonderful way of interweaving fiction and fact until everything becomes so realistic and fuzzy that you stop searching for what's what. More - so there is always this magical element to her work that I adore. As you become more and more engrossed nothing seems impossible anymore.

Our protagonists are two girls who have both had their share of a tough life. Andi may be privileged compared to some, and a tad annoying at times but her grief and ache -y voice rings true. It's raw, deep and hard - hitting to the point where at the most unexpected of times - she would say something with such feeling that I had to stop for a moment and take it in. Listen. I had to close the book more than once to collect myself and continue. What you have to understand is that she deals with this unbearable guilt due to her brothers death - she feels responsible. On the other hand you have Alex. This is a girl who on the flip side has been brought up surrounded by poverty. Whose life changes dramatically when she comes across a certain family. Greed settles in, want, and determination to never starve again.

But there is this boy. To know that this part of the book is indeed not fiction is very hard. To think that this young boy was placed in this small space, in such horrific conditions, is just torture. It's stayed with me, and although I try to push it away I just can't - it weighs heavy on me, and I keep imagining this small boy, alone, scared, confused and so very helpless. It's enough to make anyone angry and question humanity. You know I have these moments. When there is death, cruelty and baseless violence. Every time there is a war, an accusation, and so much death, I question where the good begins and where the evil ends. Is there such a thing of either? When I think of the Holocaust, when I think of this little boy who was innocent, a boy who shouldn't have had to endure such cruelty, who, no question, died a slow and painful death - this is when I question humanity.

Yes, I do think that the book was a 150 pages too long, but it just means that you will have to trudge through it. It flows at slightly slow pace, so I can imagine some not willing to go through it all - which I can understand. However, I'm glad that I did though. There are some incredible scenes not to be missed towards the end, yet it's the ending itself which leaves me uneasy. I slightly cringed at the Epilogue. It was as if everything was so sloppily put together - tied up neatly as a ribbon, because there were things that ended a little too perfectly, which didn't add up when you looked at the book as a whole. It's something that shouldn't have been the case when you have a book that is well over 400 pages. Reading REVOLUTION required patience, so I would have appreciated for the ending to have been worthwhile as the book - up until then had been. Why not just spend a few more pages and take your time with the ending? I really think that this is one of those instances where an Epilogue just really did not work out.

I do, however, feel like I prefer this to A GATHERING LIGHT. Despite the length, pace, ending and my frustrations with the MC' at times, there is something very lovely about this book. It has its moments. A scene that comes to mind is when Virgil, Jules and Andi are rapping. I was just grinning like a fox. OH, did I forget to mention what an epic lyricist the author is -because she really is. Then there are these beautiful vivid scenes, those magical and enchanting moments where our MC is walking the streets of another time. The research that went into this book is apparent since the detail is just exquisite.

Quotes. I don't even remember the amount of times I bookmarked this book. Like I mentioned - there are some beautiful moments that I could not ignore. REVOLUTION is a tough one to sum up. I can imagine many becoming impatient and frustrated with it early on, whilst others - like myself - will find it worthwhile to stick with it and grow to enjoy as well as appreciate the experience. It's a beautiful - if not - unique read. Not the most easiest books to read since it requires patience, but it sure is worth it.
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Quotes Aly (Fantasy4eva) Liked

Jennifer Donnelly
“Life’s all about the revolution, isn’t it? The one inside, I mean. You can’t change history. You can’t change the world. All you can ever change is yourself.”
Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution

Jennifer Donnelly
“It goes on, this world, stupid and brutal.
But I do not.
I do not.”
Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution

Jennifer Donnelly
“There is only one thing I fear now-love. For I have seen it and I have felt it and I know that it is love, not death, that undoes us.”
Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution

Jennifer Donnelly
“I will go out again this very night with my rockets and fuses. I will blow them straight out of their comfortable beds. Blow the rooftops off their houses. Blow the black, wretched night to bits. I will not stop. For mad I may be, but I will never be convenient.”
Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution
tags: teen

Jennifer Donnelly
“You are a ghost, Andi," she says. "Almost gone."

I look at her. I want to say something but I can't get the words out.

She squeezes my hands. "Come back to us," she says. And she's gone.”
Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution


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