Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Revolution review

Andi Alpers is one of the most depressing characters I've ever come across. Truth be told, she IS clinically depressed and prescribed a myriad of anti-depressants to help her to deal with the death of her little brother,
but nothing seems to be working at all. She's doing terribly in school and only finds peace while playing her guitar or studying music. And to top it all off, her father forces her to go to Paris with him on a business trip, wherehe's performing a DNA study on a preserved human heart to see if it's the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Andi knows she is going to be bored and eager to continue her plan to end her life.

In Paris, she's supposed to begin an in-depth study of a French composer for school, but instead of focusing on that, she can only focus on the diary she finds, written by Alexandrine, a young companion to (guess who??) the son of Louis and Marie Antoinette. Quite the coincidence right? And in the midst of discovering more about Alexandrine and her life during the French Revolution, Andi also meets a boy. A special boy that starts to transform her attitude about the world. 

I am not one who has previously read Donnelly's work and marveled over it as so many of you have, Revolution was my first experience with her writing. I was very impressed with the incredible amount of detail on every page and the fact vs. fiction aspects of the story. Obviously the French Revolution was real, as were the people referred to in the book, yet the seamless weaving of a contemporary fictional story and with  historical fact was amazing. 

All of the good things aside, I thought the book was way too long and the mood so dark I could only read the book in small doses (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just something I wanted to note). Donnelly obviously does her job as an author quite well, as I honestly felt depressed after reading the book. Andi's sadness just pours off the page and her emotional state is ultimately transferred the the reader. Well done, but hard to read in long stretches. 

Again, way too long for my taste, but an impressive novel. 

Jennifer Donnelly
496 pages
Young Adult
October 2010


Glynis said...

Sounds interesting. Not to be read on a sad day though by the sounds of things.

Nissi Peters

Sarah said...

I just received this book for review. I really like your perspective on it and given the daunting nature of the topic, I may have to read in small doses too.

Abby said...

I snagged this one at BEA and I was so excited about it because I loooooved A NORTHERN LIGHT. Gah, but I was disappointed by this one. It's well-written, but I just Did Not Care for it. Which probably means it should be my Printz pick.... ;)

Abby said...

PS: You should still give A NORTHERN LIGHT a try. I liked it much better than REVOLUTION. :)

Amanda said...

Glynis and Sarah, definitely to be read in small doses!

Abby, I definitely didn't love it either, but I was very impressed with the amount of detail and the weaving of past and present.

I am determined to still try A Northern Light!