Wednesday 9 May 2012

Revolution review

Jennifer Donnelly
November 2010

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 be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most 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 the 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.

Okay, guys, I adored this book. So I cannot guarantee that this won't just be a whole load of feeeeelings, but still. Stick with me okay. Because this book is seriously brilliant. I can't name a thing I didn't love about it by the end. Even the historical bits, because as much I love historical, I'm also a little hesitant towards books that aren't historical but have diary entries in them, because I usually find that they drag a bit on the story, but when the two are so well intertwined, like they were here, it's just kind of magical.

I was a little bit confused at the beginning of the book, because we're thrown straight into Andi's life and it took me a while to adjust to her voice, because it is fairly distinct, and to her attitude to everything (negative, but who can blame her?) But after a few chapters I really got into it and I was loving the contemp vibe. Which is why I think it took me a while to get fully into Alexandrine's life. At first, I was less into the diary entries than I was Andi's parts, but when  we fully get into the revolution and hearing about Louis-Charles and what Alexandrine did I almost more invested in her stories than Andi's.

Both Andi and Alexandrine were great characters, even if we really only got to know one purely through diary entries. I loved Andi's voice and I loved getting to know her, even if she was pretty screwed up. I thought it was really fascinating getting to see life from her perspective, and even though she was pretty negative, I didn't really mind. I was just kind of taken aback by how stunning Jennifer's writing was and how she pretty much wrote anything and made it pretty. There were strong musical themes throughout and I know it sounds cheesy, but her writing was like music. It felt rhythmical when I read it and I just never want to write anything again because I know I'll never be able to write as well as she can.

And although we didn't get to see much of him, I loved Virgil too. He was a really cool guy, and I liked getting to see him and Andi starting to get together, because you could tell straight away that he was going to be instrumental to Andi's getting less bad. Though I loved even more that the diary was the main part of her healing process, because a lot of the time it's really just the love interest and family that help to fix things when the main character is going through kind of a difficult time. I liked that this time it was history, and a girl from the past that had been through surprisingly similar things (although admittedly Alexandrine's story did involve a lot more, you know, massacres and rebellion and death than Andi's).

Also, can we just speak about the last 100 pages? Because that completely took me by surprise. I really wasn't expecting it to take that kind of a turn (though it's awesome and you have nothing to worry about.) That's the part of this book that kind of threw me off though. Before, I at least had an idea of how to define it, but after finishing it I really just can't. But I loved everything that happened it the last 1/5 of the book and I think that it was my favourite part, in all honesty. I would've liked a little explanation for it, but at the same time I like the mystery of whether it actually happened or not.

Revolution is an absolutely stunning book, and I encourage you greatly to read it, even if it doesn't seem like your thing, because it WILL be your thing. I am telling you that. Just push forward with it no matter what you think and I bet you'll love it. Hopefully. I want you to love it! It's amazing!


  1. This is such a great review :D ! I want to read this book now ! I've always heard great things about it. Maybe I'll buy a copy this summer if I can !

  2. The characters sounds awesome! I need to just find my copy and start reading this, ahh! Fabulous review ;)

  3. glad you liked it. it's been a while so some things are fuzzy but i remember loving it quite a lot. i do remember the wonderful prose, though :)

  4. Wow, I have read too many really glowing reviews of this book not to be hugely intrigued. MUST find a copy of this book and soon.

  5. I read the first chapter of this a while back (I think the beginning on this year). I hope I get to read this eventually, just so many other books I also want to read! I'm glad you liked it, despite the rocky start.

  6. Ditto what everyone else has said -- that we keep hearing awesome things but haven't actually picked this book up ourselves. Glad to know that you loved it, because it makes us think that we will too. And now you've got us really intrigued about the last hundred pages!

  7. Great review, have to agree with everything. Revolution was an incredible story and I couldnt put it down! :D


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