Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

iconiconI read Robin McKinley's Sunshine last summer, and it immediately became one of my favorite vampire books. So after reading the Twilight saga earlier this year, I developed a craving to read Sunshine again.

Last summer I checked Sunshine out from the library, but I discovered at the time that a new edition, with a redesigned cover, was coming out in October. My bookstore took its sweet time stocking the book, so I stopped checking for it and eventually forgot. When I got a Barnes and Noble gift card from my aunt this summer, however, I thought of Sunshine — and they had it! I'm pleased to say that it's a lovely trade paperback — there's nothing better to me than the feeling of a trade paperback in my hands.

You can see my original review of Sunshine by clicking here. I have to say, though, as much as I loved it the first time around, I think it was even better the second. It's written in the character's voice, which can be kind of rambling at times; I think I skimmed many of the longer paragraphs last time. This time, however, I devoured (and adored) every word. It's like a grown-up version of Twilight — just as addicting, but with more power and character development.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

iconiconNote: The image links to Barnes & Noble's paperback and ebook edition of Villette.  If you would prefer a free ebook edition, you can download a nicely formatted one for free at Girlebooks.com.

I love the Brontë sisters' books, but there were a few I had yet to read, so I set out to read them. Villette was the next on my list after Agnes Grey, and having finished it at long last, I confess I need a break from the Brontës' world — or should I say from Charlotte.

I love Jane Eyre — there's no doubt about that. Even though Charlotte is not my favorite of the three (I prefer Anne's Tenant of Wildfell Hall to all the others), I've always loved Jane for her independence, and her story for the mystery and its gothic influences. I also enjoyed Shirley quite a bit, and for a similar reason: The title character was so spirited!

Villette, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. I've heard that one of the complaints of Shirley was that the plot was so meandering — but whoever complained of that one's plot couldn't possibly have read Villette. It takes forever to figure out where the plot is going, and really never does succeed in making the reader care about the heroine, Lucy Snowe.

What frightens me is that Charlotte's first novel, The Professor, which was unpublished until after her death — and is the only one I have left to read — is supposed to be an even less passionate version of Villette. Even less passionate? I expect it will be as dry as cardboard.

I hate to say it, but unlike Anne, who shows clear improvement in her writing between Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, I don't think Charlotte's writing improves over time at all. In fact, I think she gets wordier and less focused with each book she writes!