Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Review: The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans by J. Fenimore Cooper

Recommended For: Ages 13 to Adult

Rating: PG-13 (for violence)

It is 1757. Across north-eastern America the armies of Britain and France struggle for ascendancy. Their conflict, however, overlays older struggles between nations of native Americans for possession of the same lands and between the native peoples and white colonisers. Through these layers of conflict Cooper threads a thrilling narrative, in which Cora and Alice Munro, daughters of a British commander on the front line of the colonial war, attempt to join their father. Thwarted by Magua, the sinister 'Indian runner', they find help in the person of Hawk-Eye, the white woodsman, and his companions, the Mohican Chingachgook and Uncas, his son, the last of his tribe.

I just recently finished reading this book for school. I thoroughly enjoyed it until the end - it was exciting, it was intriguing, it had good characters - and then the end came. There is a reason the book is called "The Last of the Mohicans." Let me just say, it may have broken my record of not crying over any book or movie ever.

Writing: 5/5

For a novel written in 1834, I am very impressed with the writing of this book. It wasn't confusing, rambling, and all flowery language like most old books, for which I am impressed. The writing was engaging, the descriptions were well-done, and the dialogue intriguing. I really enjoyed how J. Fenimore Cooper was clearly a Christian and how it showed in the book.

Setting: 5/5

This book is set during the French and Indian Wars. I really felt like I knew the Wars and that I was right in among them. Of course, the footnotes in the back of the book may have helped me not to be confused. I highly suggest looking at the footnotes. They explain a lot that would be evident to someone who lived during those times but wouldn't be apparent to a modern reader.

Plot: 5/5

The plot was exciting. Throughout basically the whole book, the main characters are running from the Mohawks and the other factions of the Six Nations of the Iroquois, mainly whoever the Indian Magua is with. And yet it's so much more than that. I can't really explain it, you'd have to read the book to find out, but...let me just say, there was never a dull moment. Which is rare in old books. And the end...while not everyone dies, more than one person does. And it's very upsetting.

Character Development: 4/5

I was going to give it five out of five, but realized there isn't quite as much deep character as in say, Jaye L. Knight's books (I'd put a link, but am not really feeling like it right now, it being a Sunday and me not feeling quite up to par. You curious people will just have to Google Jaye L. Knight if you are so seriously deprived as to not have heard of her). That being said, the characters seem to pop off the page. While the book is written with an omniscient POV, I still got the feel of all the characters, and that Major Duncan Heyward is the protagonist. I honestly don't see what the big deal is about Hawk-Eye, mainly known in the book as "the scout". He's certainly not the main character and he's really not that big a deal. But I really like all the characters, except Magua and maybe Montcalm.

All in all, I'd say read this book. Although I did look up the plots of the three movie adaptations on the handy-dandy site of Wikipedia and found out that none of the movies were like the book. So I don't plan on watching the movie any time soon, although I still plan to enjoy the music. But I would recommend this book for anyone to read. This is one classic you can't miss out on.

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