Revolution (by Jennifer Donnelly)

15 01 2013

RevolutionThoroughly enchanted with two of Donnelly’s previous works, the cat expected to love Revolution equally as  much. Alas, there were too many kinks here that prevented her to really like this book and give it anything more than a 3-star rating. The standout element in Revolution is still Donnelly’s lush prose, which admittedly sometimes crosses over into the overly dramatic. For some this is an annoyance they won’t be able to get past, but if you read a Victorian novel once in a while, you’ll see it’s really not that different from those exploits, so this is definitely something the cat can live with. Also, Donnelly can pull off the multiple point of view with pizzazz… Donnelly has given her two protagonists a distinct voice, bringing out the differences in the two girls (even though both are angsty in their own way). However… the characters she came up with in Revolution just don’t hold up.

First there’s Andi – gothic teen angst is my middle name. She’s 17, a senior at the most snobbish Brooklyn high school imaginable (seriously do these school exist besides on Gossip Girl?), but because her father thinks she has to work on her senior thesis rather than mope around and mourn her dead brother Truman and drown her sorrow in her music, he takes her off to Paris, where Andi almost coincidentally discovers the diary of the 18th century Alex(andrine) who witnessed the French Revolution first hand. This is where Revolution turns into a historical novel linking Andi’s (not so quiet) revolution to that of Alexandrine’s, but Donnelly wouldn’t be Donnelly if she didn’t throw in a romance.

At first the two plotlines are woven together quite believably, but the whole books takes a turn for the supernatural towards the last quarter, which completely killed all previous (mild) enjoyment. Talk about a twist in the tale! Buzzkill! Revolution felt like a book by an author who lost herself in her own story and just didn’t find an out… Maybe Donnelly needed Andi’s precious key here? Donnelly has also never been a very sparse writer, which means that the flaws are just so blatant,… something the cat could definitely overlook in The Tea Rose, but not so much in Revolution, unfortunately…

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