Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Elusive Pimpernel, Broken for You--Reviews

Not really a pimpernel, but it's a flower shot from my stock photos.

For the Reading Challenge this week I finished two of the books on my list. Some of the titles are bound to go more quickly than others, and in reading it's just as well to come out of the gates strong and worry about pacing one's self later.

The Elusive Pimpernel read very fast. It is an adventure book, and even though it's not terribly historically accurate, I don't know that it's any less accurate than the entertainments filmed by Oliver Stone, say.... (Before I go on, I'm compelled to do the word play stuff: If you misspelled the title The Illusive Pimpernel, it would still fit, but the meaning would be different. Then it would be as though this were a fable or a morality tale. Which it sort of is, but not. And if you separated the letters, The Elusive Pimp, Ernel, it would change entirely and be about some entrepreneur trying to stay out of the way of cops and mob bosses.)

The story takes place during the French Revolution. The Scarlet Pimpernel (an early incarnation of the superhero with a secret identity) is involved with his "League of the Scarlet Pimpernel" in saving aristocrats from the guillotine in France. Elusive is actually the third book in the series, and the best one is the first one, The Scarlet Pimpernel. It didn't seem to matter much that I had missed the second book (although if I read the second book, I'll know from a character in the third some of what happened in the second. But it's not like these are mysteries: as a reader, one knows that the Pimpernel will succeed, it's just a questions of how and how many close calls and inescapable situations he has to get out of first).

I think Marguerite (Sir Percy's wife) is a stronger character in the first book. She's still strong-willed and determined in this one, but even the villain notes that she's not behaving as the most clever woman in Europe this time. Anyway, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a good romp; and if one needs or wants another Pimpernel fix, The Elusive Pimpernel is exciting good fun.

Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos

This really is broken.

Broken for You is an award winner (Pacfic Northwest Bookseller Award, Quill Awards, and Washington State Book Award; it was also a TODAY Bookclub choice), but its plot summary may strike potential readers as something suitable for showing on Hallmark Network.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed getting to know the characters. They seemed real to me, even if the events had some strechy-circumstances / coincidences. The Seattle local color was very convincing. It was a relatively short book; it kept me turning pages and wanting more. Think of the kind of intensity Rowling creates in her Harry Potter plots, only with better characters and better writing style.

Broken for You is one of the few books that I wanted to keep reading all the time so much that I listened to parts of it on my MP3 player and then read pages when I could get back to them. One interesting phenomenon for me: I went through the ending twice: 1st time I read the pages, second time I listened to the last chapters on audiobook. When I read the pages, I was affected, but I didn't cry; when I listened to the last chapters, I couldn't stop crying in some parts.

Anyway, I give it a strong recommendation: Read this book!!

(Also in this post, I learned about span style formats and no longer using "font" or "font size")

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