Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Planet of the Apes by Pierre BoulleBlurb

In the not-too-distant future, three astronauts land on what appears to be a planet just like Earth, with lush forests, a temperate climate, and breathable air. But while it appears to be a paradise, nothing is what it seems.

They soon discover the terrifying truth: On this world humans are savage beasts, and apes rule as their civilized masters. In an ironic novel of nonstop action and breathless intrigue, one man struggles to unlock the secret of a terrifying civilization, all the while wondering: Will he become the savior of the human race, or the final witness to its damnation? In a shocking climax that rivals that of the original movie, Boulle delivers the answer in a masterpiece of adventure, satire, and suspense.

My Perspective

This is the nineteenth book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle from Bradley at The Recommenders. Unfortunately you can’t read his thoughts on the book as the post seems to have been deleted.

Planet of the Apes is the story of three astronauts who land on a far off habited planet. Much to their horror, it is a planet where the roles of apes and humans seem to have been reversed.

Oh my! What a horrifying read! Wonderfully horrifying! I couldn’t put it down.

I don’t know if i can say i enjoyed this book. It was SO interesting and fantastically written yet the thought of what had happened was so horrifying that enjoyment is not what i got out of it.

The main character, Ulysse, is easy to like and relate to. He is well learned with a lot of knowledge, which definitely helps him in his situation. He presents his story as very factual although he does express his thoughts and emotions, he just doesn’t let them get in the way of recounting his experience. It was easy to like Zira and her fiance, Cornelius, and of course Nova, however some of the other characters you couldn’t really warm to…

This book gives SO much thought to the way we treat apes and animal rights. It doesn’t preach to you at all, nor give a solid opinion on for or against. It simply gives you a way to think about it in such a tangible way. Almost too tangible.

I would have liked if there had been a lot more explanation on the history. It seemed a bit quick and skimmed over compared to the rest of the book.

Overall this book was a great read. It was well written, thought provoking, exciting, and horrifying. I almost screeched when i read the end. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a story outside the “norm”.

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar WildeBlurb

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend, the girls to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds, pandemonium breaks loose.

Only a nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

My Perspective

I actually read this because i was impatiently awaiting April 1 so i could read Draekora, the third book in The Medoran Chronicles. I’d seen the movie with Colin Firth so knew the general story line however i actually didn’t realise it was written as a play!

The story is about two young gentlemen friends who get themselves in a bit of a pickle when their fictional alter egos fall in love, their lovers think their names are Ernest and they won’t accept a lover with any other name.

The characters are all equally lovable as well as irritating, which works well for the story.

I couldn’t help but giggle all the way through the story, knowing what was coming yet still laughing like it was a complete surprise.

Obviously as the story was written in 1899, the language is a bit heavy however like I’ve said before, i don’t mind that at all. Also as it was written in the format of a play, some might find it stilted because it doesn’t flow like a novel however I’ve read quite a few plays and i don’t really even notice it anymore.

Overall i thoroughly enjoyed reading The Importance of Being Ernest and it was a nice, quick read that left me unhindered to start reading Draekora as soon as it was released. I would definitely recommend it if you like classics and comedy.

The Sea Wolf by Jack London

The Sea Wolf by Jack LondonBlurb

The novel begins when Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Francisco Bay, and plucked from the sea by Larsen’s seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. This ship’s evil captain, Wolf Larsen – The Sea-Wolf – is a murderous tyrant who uses his superhuman strength to torture and destroy, his brilliant mind to invent sick games, and his relentless will to control his mutinous crew. Pressed into service as a cabin boy by the ruthless captain, Van Weyden becomes an unwilling participant in a brutal shipboard drama. Larsen’s increasingly violent abuse of the crew fuels a mounting tension that ultimately boils into mutiny, shipwreck, and a desperate confrontation.

My Perspective

Having just read and enjoyed Treasure Island, I was definitely looking for something similar so I browsed all the classics that I’ve downloaded onto my Kobo and The Sea Wolf caught my eye. It wasn’t what I expected though!

The Sea Wolf is the story of Humphrey Van Weyden, a gentleman who becomes shipwrecked and is rescued by the sealing schooner, The Ghost. Rather than being dropped at the nearest port, he is put to work as cabin boy under Captain Wolf Larsen, who is known as one of the meanest captains in the sealing industry. Who he discovers is much more than simply a cruel man though and through his own intellect and previous study, he is able to connect with Wolf unlike any other person has before.

I quite liked Humphrey. At first i found him to be a bit insufferable however he soon got over himself and embraced his circumstances to the best of his ability. I respected him all the more with how hard he worked and the strength of character that he developed was very satisfying. Wolf Larsen was a completely fascinating character. I could not bring myself to hate him despite his evil ways. I found it hard to love Miss Brewster however i had to remind myself of the era in which she came from and when in context, she showed a lot of courage and bravery.

This book is not just a “sea faring tale”. The philosophical aspects it explores are intense and extremely challenging to one’s ideals. As i had no idea that the book involved any of that, i was a little bit unprepared however soon adjusted.

I enjoyed the basic story and adventure and i felt that it was written at quite an even pace. I did find it ended quite abruptly however really, it ended as it should have.

Overall it was an extremely well written book twisting adventure with philosophy. It certainly isn’t for the fainthearted of words and if you think, like i did, that it’s another “Treasure Island” – think again. This is more like a Tolstoy crossed with Treasure Island! I would definitely recommend this as a great classic and if you like stories that actually have a bit of substance to them.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

29485885Blurb

A mysterious seaman hides at a country inn; cut-throats raid a sleepy English village; suddenly, young Jim Hawkins becomes the owner of a map leading to a lost tropical island and a fortune in stolen gold. Three adventurers–Jim, Squire Trelawney, and Dr. Livesey–set out to find the treasure. — But they trust the one they should most fear, Long John Silver. Charming, brave, ruthless, murderous, Silver fills the squire’s ship with pirates. And on the desolate, fever-infested island, the quest for gold becomes a deadly war of hide and seek. Desperate defenders against merciless killers battling over a cursed treasure won with blood, buried with blood, sought with blood. Incredible wealth that Jim and his friends can only claim…

My Perspective

Treasure Island is the story of how Jim Hawkins came to be in possession of a treasure map and the journey and adventure he went on with Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney to acquire it.

I’m really in the mood for adventure stories at the moment so this is exactly what I felt like reading.

I really liked Jim. He was an easygoing young man, eager to please, hardworking, quick thinking and he had a lot of courage. Doctor Livesey was also an easy character to like whether Squire Trelawney I found a bit too freely spoken and over confident. John Silver was friendly and very easy to like, which of course made me suspicious. The rest of the crew were typical pirates, or “buccaneers”, self interested, not too smart, violent and drunk on rum all the time.

The story was very interesting and well paced, keeping you on your toes and turning the pages quickly. I did find some of the language hard to understand at times however it added to the feel of the story so I wouldn’t change it.

Overall it was a really enjoyable story, well written and full of adventure. I would definitely recommend it if you like classics, adventure stories or historical fiction.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

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Blurb

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighborhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

My Perspective

I’m pretty proud to say that I’ve now read all of Jane Austen’s major novels, Mansfield Park being the last one. I’m a pretty huge Jane Austen fan so i think it’s only proper that i am acquainted with all of her works!

Mansfield Park follows the early life of Fanny Price, who at a young age is sent to live at Mansfield Park with her wealthy uncle, aunt and cousins, as an act of charity towards her larger, poorer family. Fanny is extremely shy and quiet however she soon adapts with the support of her elder cousin, Edmund. However with the arrival of the Crawford’s into the neighbourhood, much drama and scandal ensues with Fanny’s heart caught in the middle.

The story is well written with plenty of rich descriptions and character development. It is slower paced with a definite slow build up of tension and climax.

I’m not sure what i thought of Fanny. In some ways i really liked her, however her frail temperament really irritated me. I appreciated how reserved and thoughtful she was, especially in comparison with the other female characters. Most of the other characters annoyed me or i was indifferent towards. I really wanted to love Edmund however i could only just like him (and half the time i thought he was an idiot for being so blind). To be honest i was a little disappointed in the characters. It wasn’t that they weren’t well written – i just couldn’t grab hold of them and endear them like the characters in most of Jane’s other novels.

I also found the story ended very quickly and a bit oddly – it was wrapped up like an epilogue. I found this surprising because the novel itself was quite slow paced and nothing happened quickly.

Overall it was still a great novel, the intricacies of English society well explored. I would probably say it’s my least favourite Jane Austen novel though so if you’re going to start reading Jane Austen, maybe don’t start with this one.

 

 

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane AustenBlurb

Written at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Persuasion is a tale of love, heartache and the determination of one woman as she strives to reignite a lost love. Anne Elliot is persuaded by her friends and family to reject a marriage proposal from Captain Wentworth because he lacks in fortune and rank. More than seven years later, when he returns home from the Navy, Anne realises she still has strong feelings for him, but Wentworth only appears to have eyes for a friend of Anne’s. 

My Perspective

As i mentioned in my review of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, after visiting The Jane Austen Centre in Bath when we were traveling through the UK, I had an urge to start reading all of her novels.

Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot. Having been persuaded to break off her engagement at 19 to Mr Wentworth, she is now 27 and no man has ever been able to replace him. Having left on bitter terms, he vowing never to forgive her, it has been eight years since they last met. However through family circumstance, their worlds soon collide once more.

Having watched the newest version of “Persuasion”, I already knew the general gist of the storyline. This did not take away from the story though as the book is a lot richer in detail.

It was well written in true Jane Austen style. For those not used to older novels, it was a little slow to start off with however that is the style of the time and I still found it interesting. You are given a lot of back story and information and it helps to give a greater depth to the story.

I loved Anne. She was sweet, good natured and steady. I also really liked Wentworth. The other characters were equal mixtures of frustrating, loveable, loathsome and charming.

I found that the ending fell a little flat. There was quite a bit of drama and suspense throughout the book and the ending didn’t seem to match.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and I would definitely recommend it to those who like period fiction.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey by Jane AustenBlurb

In Northanger Abbey, a young woman’s penchant for sensational Gothic novels leads to misunderstandings in the matters of the heart. Austen’s first, this is considered by many to be among her most charming novels.

My Perspective

After visiting The Jane Austen Centre in Bath when we were traveling through the UK, I had an urge to start reading all of her novels. I’ve read the more popular ones: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma already, however I hadn’t read Northanger Abbey nor Persuasion. As both of these are set in Bath, I wanted to read them almost immediately! I started with the one that was written first, Northanger Abbey.

Northanger Abbey is about Catherine Morland, the eldest daughter of a clergyman. She is invited to travel to Bath with a childless couple she is family friends with in the village. Rather naive and innocent, her visit introduces to her both friendship and love as well as lies and betrayal.

If you’re not used to older novels, then the wordiness may probably get to you. I however, find it does not lose my interest at all.

The beginning took you almost straight into the story and it was a page turner from then onwards. Most of the time I could not turn the page fast enough in knowing what would happen next.

The characters were brilliantly written and you went from love to hate to outrage and everything in between. There were parts where I could have throttled some of the characters and I was in dread of what they would do next.

I really enjoyed the book and I love Jane Austen and her writing style. Her books always please. I wouldn’t say this was my favourite of her novels, I much prefer Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility – I found this wasn’t as well written as either of those – however it is shorter and was quite a quick read.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book however not as Jane Austen’s best – it is however, still amazing as Jane Austen is a brilliant author!