After reading a former housemate’s blog where she regularly does reviews of what she reads, I decided to take a leaf out of her book, so to speak. Standard questions she answers for each entry. You can find her blog here, at wwcutie.wordpress.com.
Why are you reading this book?
It’s the favorite book of at least three friends. All men. I was somewhat impressed that all three of them loved a book that was pretty massive, and as a lover of great stories, I decided that I too needed to read it.
What’s the first line of the first chapter?
On the 24th of February, 1810, the look-out at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples.
So, what did you think?
I loved the richness of the book. Well, the second half is full of pure opulence, but I more mean the details and descriptions were delicious. Every room, every facial expression, every whispered conversation was given all its due. I ended up listening to it on audiobook, and I think that helped me appreciate more of the details (there were so many that I probably would have gotten bogged down in them had I been doing the actual reading). I confess also that with all the French names, I would’ve been a disaster as far as knowing proper pronunciations, but having a narrator saved me from all that.
It was really good. Don’t get me wrong. But I think it got built up too much by all the high praises. I expected my mind to be blown, and it was merely… satiated.
Was the ending satisfying? (Without spoiling it, please!)
Honestly, not really. It tied things together, but I didn’t feel like there was redemption, really. I don’t think I can say more without giving things away.
Is it worth ….
X collecting dust on the bookshelf
__ reading again and again
__ recommending to friends
Anything else to add?
There’s also and abridged version of the book, and I was warned against this. And I’m glad, I would imagine the book wouldn’t make sense without all of its delicious details. After having some difficulty tracking down the unabridged version (and accidentally buying at least one abridged copy), I got wise and downloaded it in audiobook form. That was helpful, but it also took me a good six months to get through. Which meant I had to re-look up the wiki page to remind me what all the character relationships were when I’d gone a particularly long time since the previous listen. I also saw the movie about 80% of the way through the book. Yes, I know, people who’d read it warned me the movie was terrible. And they were right: awful. The movie just didn’t make sense – that’s how much they had to cut out to make it a PG, less-than-two-hour movie. The endings are also different, pretty dramatically, between the two.
I’ve read several books lately, so the next couple entries may be this. You’ve been warned.