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Overall it is fast paced, but long. I liked the action sequences and the author's creation of distinct personalities for his heros. While I had to read this over a long period of time, I found I enjoyed it most when I could put in a couple of hours at a time and fully submerge myself in the author's world. I would recommend picking this up for a vacation book or if you know you'll be able to keep at it night after night.
The author uses a convincing historical and period backdrop for his tale. It feels real which aids the story. The romantic nature of his heros leads to a wonderful story of comradship and loyalty, good versus evil, etc. Many things to like, but I did not find it deserves quite as lofty a pedestal as most of these other reviewers do.
In the original French, there are only three (3) books - 1. The Three Musketeers 2. Twenty Years After and 3. Ten Years Later. But when translated, most English editions split the behemoth Ten Years Later into a Trilogy (and some four - which make it all the more confusing!).
The reading list should be 1. The Three Musketeers 2. Twenty Years After and 3a. The Vicomte de Bragelonne 3b. Louise de la Valliere and 3c. The Man in the Iron Mask. Five books - that's the total series!
I highly recommend this series from Oxford University Press containing the complete unabridged and annotated versions of all of these books. The notes are located in the back of each book so as not to slow down the flow of the text. Most of the notes give additional info on historic characters and places. And a few point out that Dumas was a better storyteller than historian, as keeping dates seems to be such a nuisance!
Based mostly around the character of D'Artagnan, a young man trying to enter the Musketeers, the personal bodyguard of the King of France. Befitting a King, his bodyguard contingent is very large, but D'Artagnan befriends three of the company: Athos, Porthos and Aramis, in addition to their captain, whose name I cannot recall as I am writing this review. Befitting the central character, this book is written with the exuberance of youth in such intoxicating measure that the reader cannot help but feel genuine affection for the loyal, heroic, though occasionally hotheaded D'Artagnan and his well-matched friends.
The book slows down near the end for some rather unexciting, though very important, character development which itself leads to a vital development in the story. However, despite the fact the plot does tend to drag a bit in this section, it is, indeed, very important and, more importantly, the slowdown in that portion allows the frightful pace of the next few chapters to feel that much more urgent.
All in all, this book is just a rollicking good time. For people who want to read a well written book with an intense plot, characters for whom one can feel genuine affection and a vivid sense of setting: this is a book that belongs in one's personal library.
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He packs his things and literally drags his nephew with him to Iceland, where they are to begin their awesome journey. It seemed to me that everything that took place in the novel took place where it should have, one of the marks of a true author.
Also, the novel was not rushed, which is one of the most common problem with adventure stories. This book made me want to read more of Verne's writting. The novel definitely deserves to be a
I especially like these types of books because, they seem that they could actualy be real and certain places mentioned could actually exist. The book starts off with a young boy telling the story. His name is Harry and he lives in Hanburg with his uncle. His uncle's name is Professor Hardwigg. He is a professor of many different sciences like philosophy, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, and many other sciences. In the beginning of the book the Professor makes a discovery. His discovery is a small piece of paper that is called a Runic manuscript. The hard part was trying to figure out what langauge the paper was writen in, but once it was deciphered it appeared to have directions that lead to the center of the earth. So professor Hardwigg being the adventurer that he was, was ready to set off for Ireland, which is were the paper said to go first. Harry being only 13 had no choice in the matter but to go. They took a ten day trip on a boat to Ireland and when they got there, they were supposed to go to base of a mountain where there was a cave that they would enter that would lead them to the center of the earth. The cave seemed to go down and down forever where it lead them to the very depths of the earth. When they reached the center of the earth they came across a blue sky and an ocean. They built a raft to go across it and in the middle of crossing they ecountered two prehistoric monsters fighting around them. In the story they also encounter living fire. In the center of the earth any wrong step of wrong turn could lead to most certainly death or being trapped down there forever. To find out more details and what happens in the rest of the book, you will just have to read it for yourself.
Like I mentioned before the reading experience of this book was very good. The characters were very well developed, because of the information given about them and also how they were used throughout the story. Professor Hardwigg for example was a great character because he was a very smart man, but also a great adventurer. In the book as soon as the professor figured out what the paper ment he was ready to begin the journey. Harry was another great and well developed character, because of the information that was given in the beginning. Also, who would have thought that a 13 year old boy could have cracked the code before his smart uncle, so he plays a great role in this story.
The plot was very well developed and very well laid out. The story went step by step not leaving out anything and everything was very well explained. In the story they talked about having to learn to repel and in the story it told exactly how and why they did this.
I would recommend this book to anyone with an open mind and to people that think that this could actualy happen. Overall I enjoyed reading this book very much and I hope that this review will help anyone interested in reading it or people just reviewing it.
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While the story itself is particularly unusual, the satirical element which Swift applied to it adds another level of comprehension. If understood, one could have a nice chuckle at the way Swift mockingly portrays ideas and people through the various cultures which Gulliver encounters. Some similes, however, are intended to get a more serious meaning across. For example, in his first journey of the book, Gulliver finds himself in the country of Lilliput where the people are only six inches tall, save the king who is seven. In this land there are two groups which were distinguished by which side a person breaks their eggs on. One king published an edict commanding all his subjects to break their eggs on the small side, but many would've picked death over breaking their eggs on the 'wrong' side, so many did. By this, Swift meant to throw contempt on the exaggerated importance that people place on their differences, as on which side one breaks an egg is a very trivial thing. The two groups mentioned represent the Catholic and Protestant religions, between which were many wars and massacres during the 1500's when the Protestants first appeared.
Gulliver's Travels takes the reader to many lands, all different and unique ' each adding another perspective on traditional beliefs and ways of thinking. Gulliver changes as much as the scenery around him, and after each voyage he has changed dramatically. At the end he has transformed so much that I feel really sorry for his family ' although it's only love that could allow them to put up with his strange behaviors.
I would recommend this book to anyone with an appetite for literature, as Gulliver's Travels is an excellent satire of the ways of the thinking in the early 1700's. Also, the author does a good job in describing the lands which Gulliver visits in great detail. Although Swift may not have written this book with intense action scenes and steamy romance, it is definitely a work worthy of the people of today.
Your perspective on literature can change, too. Reading a story for a second time can give you a completely different view of it. "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, which I enjoyed as a sort of an adventure story when I was a kid, now reads as a harsh criticism of society in general and the institution of slavery in particular.
The same thing is true of "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift. The first thing I realized upon opening the cover of this book as a college student was that I probably had never really read it before.
I knew the basic plot of Lemuel Gulliver's first two voyages to Lilliput and Brobdingnag, home of the tiny and giant people, respectively, but he had two other voyages of which I was not even aware: to a land of philosophers who are so lost in thought they can't see the simplest practical details, Laputa, and to a land ruled by wise and gentle horses or Houyhnhnms and peopled by wild, beastly human-like creatures called Yahoos.
While this book has become famous and even beloved by children, Jonathan Swift was certainly not trying to write a children's book.
Swift was well known for his sharp, biting wit, and his bitter criticism of 18th century England and all her ills. This is the man who, to point out how ridiculous English prejudices had become, wrote "A Modest Proposal" which suggested that the Irish raise their children as cattle, to be eaten as meat, and thereby solve the problems of poverty and starvation faced in that country. As horrible as that proposal is, it was only an extension of the kinds of solutions being proposed at the time.
So, although "Gulliver's Travels" is entertaining, entertainment was not Swift's primary purpose. Swift used this tale of a guillable traveler exploring strange lands to point out some of the inane and ridiculous elements of his own society.
For example, in describing the government of Lilliput, Swift explains that officials are selected based on how well they can play two games, Rope-Dancing and Leaping and Creeping. These two games required great skill in balance, entertained the watching public, and placed the politicians in rather ridiculous positions, perhaps not so differently from elections of leaders in the 18th century and even in modern times.
Give this book a look again, or for the first time. Even in cases in which the exact object of Swift's satire has been forgotten, his sweeping social commentary still rings true. Sometimes it really does seem that we are all a bunch of Yahoos.
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Jim Hawkins, a young boy that helps to run an inn finds himself stumbling into an adventure after another. After the death of an old pirate that lived in the inn, he founds a treasure map in the dead pirate's chest that more than he thought are after... He sails with his adult friends to find this treasure aboard the great Hispaniola. When a dreadful plot of treachery and mutiny is exposed, Jim begins to see how dangerous this sea adventure really is. Once upon the island, Jim and his friends find it harder than ever to keep grasp of life...
A truly great book with the classic theme that never grows old. The old-English and pirate slang that is written in this book is a bit tricky but does not interfer with the plot and the adventure.
So, all hands on deck and grab Treasure Island!
'Treasure Island' is absolutely great. From the beginning to the end its filled with non-stop action. Jim Hawkins is telling the story, so as young people are, he is straight to the point. No unnecessary details are given which will certainly appeal to youngsters and best of all it is written in simple and plain English. For children this is a must-read.
If you think 'pirates', 'treasures' are too childish for you then I suggest you read it in your leisure moments. I'm sure you won't be able to put it aside till you've read the last page!
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The basic idea of the book is this: Oliver Twist is a poor orphan cast to the most depressing scenes, struggling against the menace and corruption of lower London. Dickens wrote this book, not only to criticize the failed government poor laws, but to reflect on his own early childhood, of the poverty and loneliness he had faced. Oliver meets a wide cast of characters, in a wide range of good and evil. At the bottom rests Fagin, the greedy and malicious Jew that manipulates children to steal for him. He has a network of thieves about him, and innocent Oliver seems trapped. However, he manages to escape to some wealthy and very kind people, who coincidentially are tied to his mysterious birth.
This book is very suspenseful and touching and a pretty good one for class study (I usually like book selecions for English). My advice is to read in attention and speculation - be sure to pay attention to the chiming of bells. ...If you're reading for fun, it's great entertainment too, and a lot less work. Have patience and a good attitude! ;-)
Inside are some of the major characters in the realm of fiction; Fagin and his gang of child thieves, including the Artful Dodger. Nancy, the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold. Master Charles Bates (was this a pun even then?) Bad Bill Sikes, who shows the darker edge to all of this dangerous fun, and the innocent, pure Oliver Twist, who is the very definition of nature over nurture.
A great book, and one that I am glad to have finally read.
The plot is simple. A boy escapes his orphan home to live in London with a group of thieves and pickpockets. He's saved from this depraved life by a kindly, lonely old gentleman. But the villains, Bill Sykes and especially Fagin, fear that the boy may rat them out and so they kidnap him back. Can Oliver make it back to the life he deserves?
Oliver's story is not a very originally one, but it is enlivened by some of the greatest characters I've ever seen written. My personal favourites and there are many, are Noah Claypole who becomes a principle player and a very funny one at that, near the book's conclusion; and Mr. Brownlow, who's catchphrase "I'll eat my own head" had me bursting into laughter.
The book is diminished by its excessive sentimentality at the conclusion. Its female characters, apart from the courageous Nancy, are written in a golden light so as to become fantasies rather than the gloriously dirty reality of their male counterparts. A sub-plot between Mary and her boyfriend is ridiculously excessive.
Against these weaknesses, the book is a triumph of character. Often memorably played on screen, the two villains have become more famous than the title character, who is slightly simpering. Fagin is deliciously smarmy and Sykes is evil incarnate. They get their comuppance in justifiably brutal fashion. Dickens like most of us was a sucker for a happy ending.
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