Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Title: Revolution
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genres: Romance, Hard Topics, Historical Fiction
Age Level: YA (12-18)
Page Count: 471 (Hardcover) 
Summary from inside flap of book:
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She's angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she's about to by expelled from Brooklyn Heights' mot prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break. 
 PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn't want - and couldn't escape. 
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing then other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine's diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There's comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal's antique pages - until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine's words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Review: I wasn't even really planning on picking up this book. I got it out, yes, but after it sat on my floor for a few days, I figured it would probably end up going back to the library, unread.

I am SO glad that didn't happen.

This book was... unlike anything else I have ever read. I have never really had an interest in the French Revolution, but this totally changed my perception on it. This story was beautiful, raw, and heartbreaking at times, taking an honest look and why people do the things they do, and if is possible to humans' nature to ever change. If it is possible to make this brutal world... un-brutal?

Maybe one of the reasons I loved it so much was that Andi and Alex were both musicians, greatly dedicated to their craft. Andi loves and lives in her music just like I do - and I felt as if I had this connection to both of them because of our love of music.

This book was also fairly... dark. If you want everything to be butterflies and rainbows, I would not suggest this for you. Andi is on anti-depressants, but is still constantly thinking about suicide and death. Yeah... not the happiest. But I still enjoyed it BECAUSE of the darkness.

There was a small romance between Andi and Virgil, which I liked, but still found kind of unnecessary.  I always love romance, but I didn't think it was a necessary, or even a good, subplot.

A few complaints: it seemed to lag a little bit, at times. I feel as if there were parts that could have/should have been cut out, because they just lagged and I would find myself checking how much I had left. Another complaint was Amade Malherbeau. He plays a major part in this story. So, after reading it, I go on YouTube to try and see if I can find his Fireworks Concerto, which is mentioned multiple times in the book. And guess what - HE'S NOT REAL! THE AUTHOR MADE HIM UP!! That annoyed the heck outta me. I think it's annoying that Jennifer Donnelly made up a musician/composer. I mean, yeah, it must have been easier than researching someone else, but I still think it was kind of annoying.

All in all, this was a wonderful, eye opening read. I would highly recommend it to historical fiction nerds/lovers of the French Revolution.


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