Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: Mockingjay

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Recommended for: Ages 15 to Adult

Rating: PG-13 (for violence and references to victors having been forced into prostitution, tastefully handled and presented in the correct light)

My name is Katniss Everdeen.
Why am I not dead?
I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.

The first time I read this book, two and a half years ago, I read it in two days, zooming through the horrors of war to the sort of a little bit happy ending that does its best to make up for it. Another time, I stayed up late reading the last third of the book, feeling the utter heartbreak of all that happened to them. After seeing Mockingjay Part 2 last week, I gave this book a full reread. The horrors of the war hit me hard. The gruesome deaths. The instability of mind. How hard it is to put yourself back together. I hate this book, yet I still manage to really like it. Because it's not just fluff. It's not a fun, relaxing read. It's not even all about "which guy is Katniss gonna choose." It's deep. It means something. It makes you think. That's why I like it.

Writing: 4/5

The first time I read The Hunger Games trilogy, I wasn't overly impressed with the writing quality. Honestly, I think it's mostly because I wasn't used to present tense narrative. It's still not my favorite, but that's not a good reason to say it's horribly written. No, it's not classic literature quality writing. However, it really does pull you into the story and keep you there. It makes you feel like you're experiencing the story. I wouldn't have been constantly gasping and grimacing as I read Mockingjay otherwise. The deep character point of view/character voice is excellent. We're really in Katniss's head and her way of thinking is unique. And really, Mockingjay couldn't have been easy to write. We're in the head of a girl who's mentally unstable. You can tell from the way it's written that she's losing it. And yet the story is still well told. Now, there were a few times I felt the grammar was iffy, and that bugged me a bit, but it wasn't too bad. Katniss tends to think in fragments, a lot more than in a typical book, which I know bothers some people, but it was kind of part of her voice.

Setting: 5/5

The worldbuilding of Panem is excellent. Horrible, but excellent. Collins overlooked no detail that I can see in developing this world. I continue to find it interesting how she mixed futuristic technology with old fashioned things and reality TV in a way that works so well. In Mockingjay specifically, I'm interested by the fact that District 13 is just about as bad as the Capitol but in a different way. They're controlling, Coin certainly is. Rarely is there a truly good side in a war. And another aspect of Panem I find interesting is the handling of the violence. Yes, these stories are very violent. Innocent people die. But it's never condoned. It's not okay. Look at this quote:

"It costs your life," says Caesar.
"Oh, no. It costs a lot more than your life. To murder innocent people?" says Peeta. "It costs everything you are."
Caesar Flickerman and Peeta Mellark, pg. 23

Yes, sometimes war is necessary, and Katniss in her brokenness does want revenge, but does that make it a good thing? No.

Plot: 4/5

It's hard to rate this plot. I felt like it was fairly well developed. I personally didn't see any glaring plot holes (though the better point is that my sister didn't point any out to me), but it's hard. They're at war. War has casualties. The thing is, this book remembers that the only casualties of war are not deaths. War causes a lot more than that. You're never the same after going through that. It scars you. Also, Katniss isn't the actual leader and mastermind behind the war. Most stories have the child hero as the actual leader. Katniss is a figurehead. She's a powerful figurehead, she inspires people, unites people. As Peeta says, she has no idea the effect she has. But she's a piece in Coin's games just as she used to be a piece in Snow's games. She's not a very cooperative piece, though. There's so much that happens in this book, visiting districts, fighting in attacks, attacking districts, attacking the Capitol, filming propos, for it really is a war on reality TV, and then there's Peeta. If you don't know what happens to him, be prepared for heartbreak. It's pretty horrible. But as hard as this story is, it makes sense, the plot works, and...I have a hard time reducing it to literary analysis. I tend to focus more on the message behind it. Because it's powerful.

Character Development: 5/5

I've heard people say the characters aren't well developed, but I don't see it. To me, they're all very real and three dimensional. They change as their circumstances change them. I can't exactly say they grow, because in most cases they're broken. But they feel very real, and I'm quite attached to them. Katniss is the one we know best, as we're in her head the whole time. She's complex. She's broken. Maybe sometimes she has a harsh outlook on life, but she's also driven by love. Volunteering for Prim? How could that be motivated by anything other than love? Considering the horrors she's been through, it's no wonder her grasp on reality is shaky. Peeta will always be my favorite, despite how he is in this book. The boy with the bread appears to be gone, but perhaps he's still there, fighting to get back. All these characters. Gale the soldier. Haymitch the drunk. Prim. Finnick. Annie. Johanna. Plutarch. Boggs. Coin. Snow. So real. So much they've been through, so much they've done. They face consequences for it, no bad deeds go forever unpunished, and even the good guys have to make sacrifices.

The Hunger Games trilogy and especially Mockingjay are not easy stories to read. If you're a sensitive reader, you should probably stay away. I do recommend them, though. Read them as a warning. Don't take it lightly...don't be Capitol about it. And remember "the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: Doomwyte

Doomwyte (A Novel of Redwall) by Brian Jacques

Recommended For: Ages 7 to Adult

Rating: PG for violence

"Traveller, beware of the Doomwytes!"

Set your paws on the track of a great adventure, my friend. Who stole the jeweled eyes of the Great Doomwyte Idol long ago? What horrors dwell in the caves beneath the wooded hill - the realm of the fearsome Korvus Skurr, the black-feathered raven?
Young Redwallers and their friends find themselves in the grips of adventure, solving mysterious riddles and battling villainous foes in daring underground forays. Join them in the quest, the feasts, the songs, and the fray. Unite with the tribes of the Guosim and Gonfelin against vermin, carrion, and the dangerous Wytes. Discover why the black avenger haunts the wooded slopes. But most of all, beware of the dreaded Balissssssssssss!

Just be forewarned, I'm trying to watch a football game while I'm writing this, so if this review is incoherent, I'm sorry. But the Falcons are playing the Colts right now. 

So, on to the review! This is my first venture into the Redwall world. A friend at church talked about Redwall enough she convinced me to try one out, and while I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure if I'll take another venture in.

Writing: 3.75/5
The writing, while pretty good, wasn't as good as it could have been. It seemed as Brian Jacques was semi-trying to write deep POV. He didn't pull it off very well. And there was a really annoying quirk that pulled me out of the writing more than once where he would blend two sentences together with just a comma which should have been replaced by a period. Gah, grammar issues. I tried to overlook it and enjoy the story. Other than that, it was fairly well-written, just not spectacular.

Setting: 4.5/5
It wasn't spectacular. I couldn't really tell if it was supposed to be in a separate world from the text, although my friend at church assured me so (I think). Other than that, it seemed pretty good, just nothing stood out.

Plot: 4/5
Well? You've seen me say before I couldn't pinpoint the plot, but I loved it. I sort of pinpointed the plot, it just wasn't a very dynamic or moving one. There wasn't even a reason to be searching for the lost Great Eyes of the Doomwyte other than the adventure, and there was absolutely no clear idea what they were going to do with them when they acquired them all! SPOILERS When they got them, all they did was rebury them, which was...a huge anticlimax, to say the least. SPOILERS They ran into trouble and everything, so there was excitement, or it would have been, if I had been more invested in the characters, but I'll get to that in the next section.

Character Development: 3.5/5
I know why I didn't connect with the characters well. There was no clear protagonist. I'm serious! There was no protagonist. There characters were fairly well-developed, but there was no clear main character. The characters were a little more two-dimensional than three-dimensional, but they were well enough developed that I was invested enough to keep reading.

In review, I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I had been younger. It was definitely an adventure story for a younger reader, although it has a more mature tone. I don't know, maybe being a writer has made me more picky about stories, but I'm not sure if I enjoyed it enough to read more of the series.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Favorites: Star Wars Episodes V and VI

 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi

Recommended For: Ages Eight to Adult

Rating: PG (for sci-fi action violence) and PG (for sci-fi action violence)

After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.

Somewhere in 2009, I watched these movies for the first time. And became obsessed with them. While I certainly am not obsessed any more, I still enjoy watching the Star Wars movies, despite some of their...obvious plot problems. Not to mention the bad acting in the Prequel Trilogy. Oh, and the fact that George Lucas can't direct a movie? Which is probably why these two movies are my favorite of the Star Wars Saga (so far, since the new one hasn't been released yet...). George Lucas didn't direct them, which is probably why they are just better than the others. (Although, maybe it's just me, but Luke looks funny on the front of the Return of the Jedi cover...)

Anyway. We rewatched the Star Wars movies (all except A New Hope) recently in honor of the new movie coming out, and to introduce our friend to it before The Force Awakens is released. (We watched the movies out of order, but that's beside the point.)

Not having George Lucas direct these movies really made them better than the others, I think. Plus, Luke is just awesome, and I relate to him really well. Apparently we're the same personality type. (Well, as much as a fictional character can have a personality type.) 

These movies are just really, really good. I especially love the happy ending of Return of the Jedi.

And that's the end! Sorry if this is a lame post. I really can't think of much more to say about these movies. (Other than Luke is a much better guy than Anakin? But I guess that's just a given.) I can't wait until the new Star Wars movie comes out. Out of curiosity, who's planning on going to see it in theaters?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Movie Review: Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

Rating: PG 

Recommended for: Ages 10 and up

The evil Trade Federation, led by Nute Gunray, is planning to take over the peaceful world of Naboo. Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to confront the leaders. But not everything goes to plan. The two Jedi escape, and along with their new Gungan friend, Jar Jar Binks head to Naboo to warn Queen Amidala, but droids have already started to capture Naboo and the Queen is not safe there. Eventually, they land on Tatooine, where they become friends with a young boy known as Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon is curious about the boy, and sees a bright future for him. The group must now find a way of getting to Coruscant and to finally solve this trade dispute, but there is someone else hiding in the shadows. Are the Sith really extinct? Is the Queen really who she says she is? And what's so special about this young boy?

This movie is my least favorite of all the Star Wars movies but since we were showing it to a friend, we had to watch it before watching Episode 2. There a things that could have been done better in this movie.

Technical: 3/5

The special effects in this movie are great and if you didn't already know that something wasn't real, such as the spaceships, you would have a hard time noticing that it wasn't real. I have a hard time noticing bad acting but I do think that the acting could have probably be done better. I have seen much worse acting. There are many things about this movie that are confusing. A lot of it has to do with worldbuilding that is not really explained or it can be hard to catch the explanation.

Setting: 4/5

This is a sci-fi movie and there are spaceships with gravity that can travel at the speed of light, if they're working. The culture of each planet is unique and very different from the others. There are weird aliens and some people, especially the queen of Naboo, dress strangely. There are planets that are just an entire city and some that are a desert. All of the places are done well.

Plot: 4/5

There are a couple plots in this movie, the political one being the most confusing. There is a trade federation that is trying to take over a planet. The other plot has to do with a Jedi Qui-Gon, finding a boy who he wants to train as a Jedi. This is where the cosmic humanism comes in. In these movies they do talk about it and Qui-Gon is the main one to give a lesson on it in this movie, though Yoda also is usually the one to talk about it. This movie also starts setting up for the original trilogy and it hints at things.

Characters: 4/5

There is a rather large cast of characters so I will just focus on the main ones. There are a couple villains, two Sith and an alien with the trade federation. The Emperor, Darth Sidious, is in this movie and he sends his apprentice, Darth Maul who is pretty creepy, to find the people who escaped. There is Qui-Gon who will disobey and do what he wants even if he is told no and he also takes risks. His apprentice Obi-wan does tell him that he should obey more. Padme is someone who cares about her people but does take some bad advice that causes problems later. Anakin is a reckless young boy who Qui-Gon thinks will fulfill some prophecy which is never explained where it came from. He is smart with some things. Jar Jar Binks is also in this movie, he is clumsy and dumb and many people hate him a lot.

There are good things and bad things in these movies and if you have seen the original trilogy and you like back stories then you will probably like it. If you do not like back stories then you will probably not like it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review: Greensleeves

Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Rating: PG (for romance)

Recommended for: Ages 15 to Adult

For eighteen-year-old Shannon Lightley, life’s been an endless parade across Europe, following either her actress mother or her renowned journalist father. Paris, Milan, London—Shannon has been everywhere, but somewhere along the way, she realizes she’s really…nowhere.

Having graduated from high school and about to board yet another flight for yet another destination, Shannon is offered an alternative: stay in Portland, Oregon, with her parents’ close friend and help his law firm investigate a group of strangers living near the local university. A will with a substantial inheritance is being contested, and Shannon’s task is to gather information on the unlikely recipients of the money.

Using an assumed name and working as a waitress in a diner, Shannon finds herself entirely on her own for the first time in her life; and as the long summer days go by, she tries to sort out who she really is and what her future holds.

A week ago, I didn't know this book existed. Last Thursday, I came across a link to this review on Twitter. Odd, because I rarely actually scroll through my Twitter feed, and even more rarely click on any links (unless they're behind-the-scenes information on Doctor Who; those I can scarcely resist). I suppose it was the author name that intrigued me: Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Since the review made it sound incredibly interesting, it was $1.99 on kindle, I still have gift card (I tend to hoard it for moments like this), I'd really enjoyed the author's The Golden Goblet and Moccasin Trail and my library doesn't have Greensleeves, I decided on impulse to buy it. It's definitely for a different audience than those books; those are middle grade historical fiction and Newbery Honors. Greensleeves is a 60s teen contemporary novel with a dash of mystery and intrigue and a lot about finding direction in life.

I rarely read contemporary teen fiction, 50 years old or otherwise. If I read any era of contemporary, it's usually middle grade. As for teen fiction, I have a friend who reads a lot of it and her reviews are usually enough to steel my determination to avoid it. A lot of the teen fiction books I hear about sound wildly inappropriate, my main reason for avoiding them, other than the fact that I generally enjoy adventure the most. Greensleeves certainly isn't. There is kissing in the book, and Shan does analyze how different guys make her feel, but it's rather less than what's in The Hunger Games. (In case you're wondering why I make the comparison, since I also did it in my Cinderella post, THG is basically my as-far-as-I'll-go-on-Content, which I realize isn't incredibly far.)

I have a lot of unread books on my kindle, yes, bought ones as well as free ones. It's mostly typical for me to download a book and let it sit there. However, Saturday came and since I'd spent Friday out in the woods with my sisters and our friend filming an impromptu movie, stayed up past midnight to show her Star Wars, and then gotten up earlier than I would have liked so I'd be up before her parents came to pick her up, following that up with a trip to the post office and several hours editing our movie, and a 45 minute nap (I never take naps) because I was so tired, I really didn't feel like trudging through the really old books that don't get good until halfway through, and I wanted something different. Besides, Greensleeves had intrigued me. So I did little else from that late afternoon until late Sunday afternoon besides read that book. (Of course I didn't read it during church, just to and from church.)

I really enjoyed it. Shannon is a girl who really doesn't know what she wants out of life. I'm sure everyone's felt that way at some point. And even though I do know what I want from life and I am pursuing some of those things, I still can't help feeling directionless and like I'm waiting for something to happen. Shan goes under cover to help her Uncle Frosty investigate a strange will, but also because she's tired of Shan Lightley and her problems, and just wants to be someone else for awhile. She's trying to find herself. While I don't exactly identify with her struggle for identity, I can understand her fears that people wouldn't like her if they knew the real her. Probably why I liked it, besides the natural intrigue of the peculiar will and the interesting, varied people named in it which is bound to excite me, is because I can understand her struggles.

I have to say, though, my favorite character is Sherry. Gone are the days when I didn't like guy characters simply because they were guys. Sherry (his full name is George Maynard Sherrill) is an interesting guy. He’s good and smart and intellectual, kind of shy, very perceptive, extremely curious, and he wants to learn just to know things. He studied Greek because he wanted to know how people in Greece sounded. He wanted to learn integral calculus so he would know what people were talking about when they said “integral calculus.” I didn’t like Dave Kulka. He kind of reminded me of Dean Priest from the Emily of New Moon books by L. M. Montgomery, and that’s not exactly a good association. The characters are all very well developed, and so is the little world Shan stepped into when she went to College Street and became Georgetta Einszweiler Smith. It all felt so real.

Greensleeves is a good book. The ending was slightly unsatisfactory due to being a bit inconclusive, but I guess I can make up my own epilogue. I’d say it’s geared towards older teen girls and that’s probably the best audience for it, but I would recommend it. It gave me a nice weekend and some food for thought.

(P.S. Do you prefer story-of-my-experience-with-the-book reviews or literary analysis reviews?)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Favorites: Gilligan's Island

Gilligan's Island 

Recommended for: All ages

Rating: G

 A tour boat gets caught in a storm on a three hour tour and lands on an uncharted desert isle. The crew and passengers then try to find a way back to Hawaii.

Recently I've been re-watching a lot of these episodes and it reminded me how much I enjoyed watching this show.

 It is not a serious show and there are a lot of things that don't make sense, such as the amount of visitors they get on an uncharted desert isle. There are also animals that are unrealistic and the characters are also unrealistic. These are the things that make the show so funny. 

The characters are the main thing that makes this show so amusing. The Professor knows everything and has a book on everything. It never explains why he brought so many books on a three hour tour. The Howells are always talking about money, which they brought quite a bit of with them along with all of their luggage. There is also the movie star Ginger Grant who is always saying how something happened in a movie that she was in. Mary Ann is a farm girl and is my favorite one of the seven. The Skipper orders Gilligan around and helps run the island. Gilligan is clumsy and is always messing up their chances of getting rescued. He can't keep a secret but they continue to ask him to keep them. Sometimes part of an episode will be of a dream he has. Mary Ann is if not always, almost always good in his dreams. The dreams are always amusing.

 This show isn't realistic but is definitely funny and I would recommend it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Movie Review: Aladdin



Recommended for: All ages

Rating: G

 Disney's beloved masterpiece will make your heart race and your spirit soar. Experience the laughter, adventure and Academy Award-winning music (1992: Best Music, Original Song, "A Whole New World," Original Score) for the first time on Blu-ray and Digital HD. And now Aladdin shines even brighter with never-before-seen tributes to the enchanting talent of Robin Williams, the "Genius behind the Genie."
 I have wanted to see this movie again for a long time, but I had to wait for it to come out on DVD this fall to see it again. 

Technical: 4/5

 This is an animated film and is like the other Disney movies that came out around that time. The people were drawn pretty realistically, definitely better than the animation in Lilo and Stitch. Animation takes a lot of work, so overall I would say that it is great for this style.

Setting: 4/5

 This movie is set somewhere in the Middle East in a place called Agraba. They are not very specific about when and where exactly they are. Genie does impersonate and mention modern things. I don't know how historically accurate it is, but it fits for the movie. 

Plot: 4/5

 The story follows Aladdin who is a thief. He is used by Jafar to try to get the magic lamp, because he is the only one allowed into where it is kept. Aladdin finds the lamp and tries to use the Genie to be allowed to marry the princess, Jasmine. This is not a realistic story with things like a magic carpet, Genie, and a bird that can have a real conversation, but it is fine for fantasy. I like how in the story Genie tells Aladdin to tell the truth and when he doesn't, bad things happen.

Characters: 5/5

  The villain, Jafar, is an evil adviser to the Sultan who is trying to get power, a realistic motive. Jasmine is the princess who is being forced into a marriage. She has never left the palace, so one day she sneaks out to see what it's like. At the beginning of the story, Aladdin is just trying to survive but as is shown later on, he doesn't always know the best way of going about things. He is still a likable person who has not had anyone to guide him.

I like this movie and would recommend it especially if you like Disney movies.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Review: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I...really don't have a good excuse. But we're back!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Recommended for: Ages 12 to Adult (reading level, mild romance, action violence)

In the year 1792, Sir Percy and Lady Marguerite Blakeney are the darlings of British society—he is known as one of the wealthiest men in England and a dimwit; she is French, a stunning former actress, and the cleverest woman in Europe—and they find themselves at the center of a deadly political intrigue. The Reign of Terror controls France, and every day aristocrats in Paris fall victim to Madame la Guillotine. Only one man can rescue them—the Scarlet Pimpernel—a master of disguises who leaves a calling card bearing only a signature red flower. As the fascinating connection between the Blakeneys and this mysterious hero is revealed, they are forced to choose between love and loyalty in order to avoid the French agent Chauvelin, who relentlessly hunts the Scarlet Pimpernel.
My friends, especially my friend Ashley, told me that I had to read this book. I downloaded it to my kindle, and didn't really read it. Ashely kept getting onto me about reading it, and I would just be like, "yeah, I'm going to." I'd read a few chapters when I was half asleep and gotten completely lost on it, and I just kind of didn't care. I kept thinking I probably needed to just start over, but I had other things to read.

When Masked, a modernized webseries adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel, began, I started to think about this story again. After all, my friends wouldn't really let me avoid it. I watched the first episode. I hadn't really intended to, I wanted to read the book first, but Ashley posted it on her blog and so I went ahead and watched it. I didn't really know what to expect, and I can't say it really piqued my interest, but I saw the hype over this book. And perhaps got a bit of a spoiler, but I'm not mad.

After I listened to Little Dorrit, I found myself with a bit of a book hangover, and I didn't want to listen to anything else. But I had more sewing to do and my friends had been on me about this book for so long that I just said to myself, "fine, I'll listen to The Scarlet Pimpernel" and turned it on on Spotify.

I'm not sure when I realized "this is a really good book!" but it was long before that moment when it was at least half past midnight and I was telling myself I needed to put aside the sewing projects for the night, turn off the audio book, and not pick up my kindle to continue so I could actually go to sleep. It's just SOOOOO good. Even though my sewing project was very difficult, I wanted to work on it every possible moment because I just had to listen to more of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

I was told to just file away the information in the first few chapters and wait for Sir Percy to show up. It's when Sir Percy shows up that things really get going, before that it's admittedly a bit boring, but after? Oh my goodness, there's no putting that book down! The farther along the book gets, the more exciting it is, the more intense, the more nerve-wracking. I just had to know what would happen, if Marguerite would be able to avert the consequences of her desperate actions, or if her decisions would lead to the most horrendous outcome. 
It's clean, too. There is a romantic aspect to it, and there is a point where Marguerite really wants Percy to kiss her, but (1) they're married, and (2) this was written at the end of the Victorian era so it's still handled in a pretty clean way.

This book also made me think. At a time when miscommunications between people I know in real life were potentially hurtling things towards a very bad conclusion (thankfully averted), the fact that a little communication would have prevented the events of The Scarlet Pimpernel entirely really stuck out to me. So many things go wrong because people fail to communicate. It can destroy so much. Marguerite should have communicated with her husband, Sir Percy. They both loved each other so much, yet they were driven apart by a lack of vital communication.

I love the characters. I don't want to say which character I love so much because spoilers, but suffice it to say that I dreamed I was meeting him and having a really hard time not fangirling. In my dream. He's so brilliant and selfless and brave. And the forerunner of secret identity superheroes. How can it get any better than that? I also love Marguerite, of course. Sure, she's a character I want to tell what to do, but I still love her. And she turned out to be really brave too. Though she made a grievous mistake in trying to save her brother whom she loves so much, she does all she can to right it.

And the ending! So many twists. So much brilliancy. Such a perfect conclusion. But couldn't it have gone on forever? 

In short, The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of the best, most exciting classics I've ever read or listened to. Perhaps I used to be confused as to why so many of my friends love this book so much, but now I'm up there with the biggest fans among them. Highly recommended.