Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Published: October 12th, 2012
I've never read a book about the French Revolution before, so I had no idea to expect. I'm glad this was the first one I read, because it had a beautiful story and message. I've read A Northern Light by the same author, so I already loved her writing and had some high expectations. Those expectations were matched.
It took me a while to actually relate to Andi. Sure, I could empathize with her, but it was hard to really get to know her. That changed by the time she was in Paris, and her stubbornness got more endearing than annoying. Something I especially liked was the lack of romance. That sounds weird, but I'm sure you've heard Paris called something along the lines of 'the city of love' before. This book showed the total opposite of that and I love it for that reason. Sometimes you need a book that shows you the bloody truth, and Revolution is that.
My favorite part of the whole book was Alex's diary and Louis-Charles. By having access to this, I saw a completely different side of the whole Marie-Antoinette situation. I never sympathized with her before, I knew only snippets of facts and quotes like 'let them eat cake'. But through Alex's/Jennifer's words, I grew to realize that you can not judge a situation you are not in. There's a quote somewhere in the book that says something along the lines of - you wouldn't beat a dog for being a dog, and you wouldn't beat a king for being a king. (That's not exactly it but I'm too lazy to look it up.) I just wish that there would have been more about Louis-Charles in the second half of the book. He was my favorite part.
Unlike A Northern Light, I am not 100% satisfied with this book. I still have a lot of questions about the ending. I can't go into it for fear of spoiling people who haven't read it yet, so I'll just say that it was too quick an ending for such a long book. It could have taken extra time to explain the questions I still have. About the length, I also thought the book took too long to get where it was going plot-wise.
Besides the ending, I really enjoyed this book. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of history fiction. Even if you haven't read much, or anything, about the French Revolution--I urge you to try this book. I want to go watch Les Mis now!