Review: Jane Eyre

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a timeless classic! This was my first time reading Jane Eyre and I can see myself revisiting it again in a few years. Initially, I thought the beginning was slow and I couldn’t understand what the fuss around this book was about, but now I realize that it serves as a perfect explanation of Jane’s character and her actions in her adult life.

Bronte’s writing is so good at conveying emotions and moods. Her characters’ introspections are illuminating and touching. This is navel-gazing done right.

At its heart, Jane Eyre is a romance novel, but not a kind of lusty, throbbing organs romance. The emotions in this novel left me breathless sometimes. When things were good, I felt elated along with the characters. When things turn sour, as I dreaded they would, I was just as tormented as the unfortunate parties involved.

Even though I couldn’t empathize with some of Jane’s decisions concerning Mr. Rochester, I still respected her for her strength of character for doing such difficult tasks.

This novel is just lovely. I’m curious how the new film will interpret it.

Several people including my lovely co-workers here at Goodreads have commented about how *weird* the book is. Yes, the whole romance is a bit creepy and Jane’s affections for Mr. Rochester seem rather servile.  But I just attribute it to the time the book was written. That and I’m often touched by strange creepy things.  What I thought was more creepy was that Jane actually considered marrying her first cousin! Times sure do change.

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Review: Warrior

Warrior (The Blades of The Rose, #1)Warrior by Zoe Archer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was hard to put this book in shelves. I want to call it paranormal-romance, but the two main characters are both human. But there’s magic involved, and that’s paranormal, isn’t it? I also want to call it historical fiction because there’s fiction about historical events, like Genghis Khan’s takeover of China, but it’s more like the characters talk about that event — they’re not actually living through it.

Either way, this book was one of the better paranormal romance books I’ve read. The main character, Thalia, is an English woman living in a very rural area of Mongolia. She’s tasked with the duty of protecting sources of magic from evil people who want to use the magic for their evil purposes. Chance brings a retired soldier, Captain Huntley, to her door and together, they go on a quest to find the source and protect it from the evil people. All in all, not a ground-breaking plot, but an enjoyable ride.

In Felicia Day’s review, she mentioned lots of steamy passages and naughty bits, which is definitely true. For those steamy passages alone, I’d probably give it an NC-17 rating, but if you overlook that, the story and the way the characters interact with each other is actually very endearing. At first, I found the instant attraction very hard to believe, but as the book delved more into the background of the characters, I grew to accept it.

I had to knock a star down for Warrior though, because of the whole damsel in distress issue. While the author takes pains in telling us that Thalia isn’t a wilting English flower and can hold her own while riding a horse and shooting arrows, I was peeved that the author still needed to write in a burly, ex-soldier who’s only want in life is to protect her from danger. And she Thalia lets him! It kinda defeats the purpose of building up a strong female lead only to have her overshadowed by some masculine (and that word is used to describe Captain Huntley very often), muscled man.

I think if I could turn the over-analyzing part of my brain off when I read this, I would enjoy it a lot more. Not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but it could be better.

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Review: Thorn Queen (Dark Swan book 2)

Thorn Queen (Dark Swan, #2) Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead

4 of 5 stars

I dove eagerly into Thorn Queen as soon as I finished reading Storm Born. Richelle Mead is a straight-forward writer and an excellent story-teller. Her descriptions of the other world and supporting characters made it incredibly easy to relate to Eugenie Markham, the main character. (Yes, that’s the main character’s name. I hated it at first, and I still cringe sometimes when I read it.)

So much happened around the main plot in Thorn Queen that it wasn’t until I was halfway through the apex of the storyline that I realized that that was what the book was about. The relationship and internal character angst distracted me from seeing that there was an ever larger conflict and mystery to be solved by the main character.

The last quarter of the book sped by quickly because everything was so tense that I couldn’t put it down till things were resolved. There was action scene after action scene, and then after that, it was a bedroom action scene. I literally finished the book while waiting for a light to change on the street because I was walking while reading. That’s how hard it is to put down.

Even though when I started this series, I thought I’d have trouble believing a story about a woman who spends half her time in the real world and half her time in some other dimension fairy world, it actually works. Towards the end of this book, I started thinking of the fairy world as more permanent and real than the human world that Eugenie also inhabited.

Thorn Queen has enough lead up into the story for people who never read the first book in the series, but I highly suggest reading the first book to just get the emotional baggage and background of all the characters. It makes the interactions in this book all the more worthwhile. Although the plot was decent and the mystery not bad, what I really liked about Thorn Queen was the way characters related and hated each other. It was like fast-paced, magical, soap opera.

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