Literature

Book Review: The Last Wolf

The Last Wolf
Author: 
Krasznahorkai, László
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

This bundle of stories is an interesting read. It contains three stories about a writer facing an identity crisis, a hunter gone mad, and a final story about the impact of the hunter’s actions. The way this story is written can be often confusing and difficult to understand for casual readers. I personally didn't like this book, due to the bland, depressing, atmosphere of the setting, and the complexity of the sentences. Often times, it is difficult to tell when the narrator is talking or when he is thinking.
Regardless, I still believe it is a fine read for readers with an advanced vocabulary. Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Kyle Y

Book Review: Les Misérables

Les Misérables
Author: 
Hugo, Victor
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Jean Valjean has been in prison for 19 years. On the day he is freed, he walks to the city of Digne, which is over thirty miles away. Exhausted, he searches for food and shelter, but is rejected at each place he goes to because he was a former convict. Finally he is told to ask the Bishop of Digne for help. The Bishop agrees without hesitation. Valjean wakes up early in the morning and steals the Bishop's silverware. He is caught and brought back to the Bishop, but the Bishop saves Valjean from returning to prison by pretending that the silverware was actually a gift. He even gives Valjean silver candlesticks as well. The Bishop convinces Valjean to turn around his life.

Exceptionally strong character development was a highlight for me. Some themes in this classic are sacrifice for others and unexpected generosity; for example, Valjean has an opportunity to shoot his worst enemy, but instead decides to free him. The plot also weaves the connections between characters magnificently. This book has made me experience emotions more strongly than any other book I've read.

Les Miserables is a relatively long novel; Victor Hugo (the author) is willing to become verbose frequently. I actually enjoyed its details, which made me more immersed in the story. If you don't usually read books with philosophy, it may take a little getting used to. Even if you have already watched the play, the book is still worth considering; there is plenty of extra material in the book that the play skips.

Reviewer's Name: 
Byron S.

Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: 
Lee, Harper
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a fantastic novel that examines the racism present in the South during the Great Depression. The book includes several remarkable instances of justice being served to the widespread prejudice present, which captures the reader. All of the character are well developed and serve well in their roles, especially the main protagonist. The entire setting is also intriguing and forms a solid foundation for the plot. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone as it is a fascinating tale about Southern life.

Reviewer's Name: 
Steven L

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray
Author: 
Sepetys, Ruta
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Taking place during WWII... Lina, a fifteen-year-old girl, lives a peaceful and normal life drawing and going to school but when the NKVD, better known as Soviet officers, force them to leave, adventure and chaos abduct Lina's normal lifestyle. Lina, her brother Jonas, and her mom Elena have to travel by train living with the bare minimum to survive off of. From Soviet officers forcing them to work to stealing food to survive, Lina has to find a way to outlast WWII and the capture of her family. Her main goal through all this; to find her dad. This dramatic adventure written by Ruta Sepetys will pull you off your seat.
Reviewer's Age: 15

Reviewer's Name: 
Aiden F

Book Review: Candide

Candide
Author: 
Voltaire, Francois Whitworth
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Candide by Voltaire is an interesting book about a man who believes everything that happens will be for the good of man (perverted optimism) even though he is faced with incredible suffering. I read Candide with my European Literature class and I found it a very good book to demonstrate perverted optimism and satire. Voltaire uses satire as an effective device to show the horrors of the world at his time. While Candide is mostly based in truth, it has many fictional ideas such as a country called Westphalia and the mythical El Dorado. Overall, I really enjoyed this book even though it is very weird, it still had an interesting use of language and story line.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K.

Book Review: The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: 
Dumas, Alexandre
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book is amazing. The story follows the tale of Edmond Dantes and his quest for revenge against the three men responsible for his incarceration. It is a very simplistic concept, but upon reading the novel one will find a book filled with characters that live and breathe, action that is relentless, and many subplots threaded throughout the novel in intricate ways. The book, while extremely long, is entertaining all the way through. The ending is satisfying and ends the book well. I would recommend this book for anyone who is a fan on action novels, or revenge novels.

Reviewer's Name: 
Peter C

Book Reviews: One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Author: 
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the tale of the rise and fall of the fictional Colombian town Macondo, and the stories of the Buendia family that inhabits the town. The novel is stellar. The characters feel alive and breathing -- they all have different motivations, desires, and weaknesses.
The reader truly begins to feel a connection with these characters as the novel progresses, and that's what makes the novel so good -- if you didn't know the town was fake, you would think it was a real place. The novel pioneered the genre of magical realism, which is a novel with a realistic view of the world that includes magical and surreal elements. The inclusion of magical realism elements in the story is what makes the book truly unique and fun to read. However, it is a very dense book, and can become very confusing very easily. If you can get past the often confusing nature of the novel, you will find a very rich and rewarding reading experience that I would recommend for anyone to read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Peter C

Book Review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
Author: 
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Great Gatsby is the story that is narrated by Nick Carraway, an old neighbor of Gatsby. Taking place in 1922, Nick tells his story of when he has just moved from the Midwest to West Egg in Long Island to become successful and gain fortune as a bond salesman.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a exemplary book taking place during the Jazz Age. The novel was well written. It was simple, intriguing, clever and witty. Contrary to the deep story/plot line, the writing made it interesting and neither too boring nor extremely emotional. In addition to this, the overall fate upon the Gatsby, Carraway, and Daisy has a strong connection to the reader that allows them to feel the concept of tragedy.

Personally, this is one of the best books/novels. It is a great work of fiction that perfectly crafts the story and the Jazz Age of America.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

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