Book Review: The Great Gatsby (Francis Scott Fitzgerald)

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Book: 78/100

I read this book on the recommendation of Zoë, who was really impressed with it. I am so glad I gave it a try. Not only did it pull me out of my reading slump, it was an easy, enjoyable read in superb English.

The Narrartor of the book, Nick Carraway, tells the story about the tragic life of mysterious billionaire Jay Gatsby. Gatsby, his neighbor, throws lavish parties where everyone in town is welcome. He sends a special invitation to Nick to attend and Nick is immediately impressed by the mysterious man. Nick realizes that Jay is obsessed with having a reunion with his one true love Daisy Buchanan. Daisy, a society queen, is Nick’s cousin and is married to Tom Buchanan, a rich, obnoxious man. Five years previous to the book’s events, Jay and Daisy had a romantic relationship before he went to war. When Jay was unable to return as early as promised, she married Tom out of desperation and loneliness.

Five years later Daisy is unhappy in her marriage. Tom constantly cheats on her and his current mistress Myrtle Wilson is a married woman whose husband is oblivious to her extracurricular activities. Gatsby moves into a mansion close to hers, but never makes contact with her until he learns that Nick Carraway can arrange a meeting between the two. Their love is reignited, and it is sweet, but there are too many things happening around them to control the drama that develops because of it. What will happen to their relationship once Tom finds out? What will Myrtle’s husband do when he finds out that his wife is cheating?

Rating: 9/10

This book was a feast to read. It manages to be a quick, enjoyable read that stems from a time period of English literature I don’t often enjoy. It is a tragic book and has a sad ending. I found the fact that no one would attend Gatsby’s funeral particularly sad as he had opened his house to partygoers and no one would even return that kindness in death. In the end, Daisy was a disappointment. Eventually she was just as bad as Tom, selfish and despicable and hiding the truth. Seeing the events unfold through Nick Carraway’s eyes distances the reader makes everything much more dramatic – he is there and witnesses everything first hand. He was an innocent bystander in it all, his greatest crime introducing Daisy and Gatsby again. In the end he also lost everyone – the girl he fell for, his friend and his cousin.

While I have sympathy with Nick, I have the most sympathy for Jay Gatsby. Here is a guy, courageous enough to go to war, and comes back to find out that the girl he loved went and married a man essentially for his bank balance. Then he builds a mansion close to her, but never reaches out and still pines after her. In the end he certainly gets the worst end of the deal.

All in all, this is a classic I will read again and will recommend it to people. It isn’t unreadable, and there is now a movie to accompany it. I will hopefully soon see the movie and will also then be able to say if it brings justice to the novel.

Have you read Gatsby? What did you think about it and the movie adaption?

Book Review: The Fiery Heart (Richelle Mead)

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Book: 77/100

I’ve been so excited to read this book. I should really start sticking to my rule of only reading a series when all the books have been released, because this waiting for books is really not for me. I found this book as enjoyable as all the other books in the Bloodlines series.

Sydney has finally stopped feeling guilty for loving Moroi vampire Adrian – even if it is something the Alchemists, of which she is a part of, would never accept and that the consequences of them finding out would be dire. When her younger and very competitive sister, Zoe, arrives as a back-up Alchemist, she knows she needs to be very careful how she goes about things.  She constantly sneaks away to be with Adrian, finding ways to break the hold the Alchemist tattoo hold on its members and her witch/coven activities – another thing the Alchemists wouldn’t appreciate – by claiming she is doing extracurricular activities for her teacher Ms. Terwillinger, who started Sydney with the whole witching business. Zoe becomes increasingly irritated by her sister’s disappearance, but has no reason to suspect more than the dire need of good education Sydney claims to have.

Adrian is still struggling with his Spirit induced depression and madness, and eventually agrees to go on anti depressants after a drunken rampage. With the right medicine, Adrian becomes a stable person, although he is not able to access any of his powers. He secretly fears that he will not be able to heal someone he loves if they are ever fatally wounded, but keeps on taking the medicine so he can be the least of things Sydney worries about.

Jill Dragomir is still finding a way to deal with the fact that she is the illegitimate child of a royal Moroi bloodline. Sent away into hiding for her own safety by the Queen of their race, who is also her sister, Jill finally adjusts to a human schedule after months of drama. Her attraction to her bodyguard, Eddie Castile, still remains, but she tries to ignore it because he makes it clear he doesn’t deserve her.  Strangely enough, the girl who found out she is actually Royal is the most sane of everyone hidden away in Palm Springs.

As things heat up in Sydney’s world, will she be able to hide her relationship from her sister and the Alchemists? What will happen if they find out? And will Adrian be able to keep insanity at bay?

Rating: 7/10

The Fiery Heart was everything I hoped it would be. I knew that some things was certain to happen, so I wasn’t overly surprised, but I found the way it ended to be very sneaky – no one will be missing the next book.

I applauded that Sydney didn’t take another whole book to deny her feelings – that would have been exhausting. I‘ve found her enjoyable from the start – the passionate scholar who is able to do and be things no one will ever think of. Writing witchcraft into the books was risky, but it turned out to be a tool that leads Sydney towards her own empowerment, and isn’t overbearing to the original storyline.

Adrian is such a fascinating male lead. I find this series really cool because he is such a messed up guy. He isn’t this ridiculously brave and strong traditional lead – he is a guy who finds his power through so many other things, and is still learning a lot about himself. Richelle Mead really describes his crazy very well, and how he is in need of real help. His struggle with alcohol brings some real life issues into the mix too. His love for Sydney is so strong and tangible. She is the perfect girl for him – and that is so amazing because no one would ever be able to realistically expect the logical Sydney to fall for artistic, crazy Adrian.

Lastly, I think I need to mention that I thought switching the story between Adrian and Sydney’s POV worked out fine. It was obviously risky, and I’ve found it annoying in other books.

It is clearly recommended that you read the previous books in the series before this one, but the book is very much recommended if you are a YA reader.