Wednesday, March 9, 2016

BOOK REVIEW - The Scarlet Pimpernel

Author: Baroness Emma Orczy
Format: Kindle ebook, free on amazon
Did it feel like a full novel: yes, though a short one
Cliffhanger: no
Genre: classic, vigilante adventure with a tinge of romance
Dates Read: Jan 5-25, 2016
Official Blurb: Armed with only his wits and his cunning, one man recklessly defies the French revolutionaries and rescues scores of innocent men, women, and children from the deadly guillotine. His friends and foes know him only as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But the ruthless French agent Chauvelin is sworn to discover his identity and to hunt him down.

One Sentence: Amusing read that took a while to get action-y, and made me eager to read the others in the series

Full Review: Read this for our book club, and glad it was picked. The style was easy enough to deal with, especially for a classic. There were parts where you could hear the author, reminiscent of the way Alexandre Dumas, where you can see which characters they like or don’t like. I enjoyed reading the first ‘heroic secret vigilante’ novel, and it’s fun to see what tropes have changed and which have stayed the same. Maurgerite was the main character, and I enjoyed her despite not liking her. 

To explain, I liked that she managed herself and had her own opinions on life. But I was not a fan of how at the very end, she just stopped DOING things, now becoming a passive ‘damsel in distress' who needed to be saved. Mostly it jarred me from the story because it was such a break from earlier. She'd made her life her way, and really got stuff done when it came to the second half. Compared to modern story females, she wasn't all that proactive, but if you compare her to those of a similar writing period (such as the main character of "The Yellow Wallpaper") there is a noted difference. But then at the end she faints and just lays there and cries. Disappointing!

To go back to the author’s writing, I think I best loved how she seemed to often go “Percy was built like a perfect Hercules/Adonis, but dumber than a bag of rocks. Still cute though.” It made me think of many of us writers when we start out. We love our characters, and want them to be loved despite their flaws by others. 

Marguerite was the mainly fleshed out character, though her husband and her nemesis have their moments, I wouldn’t say this is all that character-driven of a plot. Yet I wouldn’t say it was action-driven either. I think that’s why I feel I want to read the others of this series, being that I want more than just a taste of this world and this heroic story. 

It was cool that after a point, you know who the Scarlet Pimpernel is, but the book tries to keep it secret for you by not pointing it out itself. Makes me think of how the first 20 minutes of Terminator 2 are filmed (where you don't know Arnold is the good guy), yet the trailer gave it away anyway. Well, maybe not like that, but it still reminds me of it, heh.

Rating: 4 stars

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