29. ‘The Forever War’ by Joe Haldeman

Until I found The Forever War on the shelves of my favorite used bookstore, I’d never heard of this author, let alone this book. Then through sheer coincidence I discovered a couple of favorable reviews from two book bloggers I often read. Isn’t it strange how these things often work out? Well I’m pleased to report that this awesome piece of classic science fiction deserves all of its accolades.

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The year is 1996, and Earth is in the midst of an intergalactic war against a mysterious alien race known as the Taurans who have destroyed several of our exploration spaceships. Scientists are able to go further into space thanks to the discovery of collapsars, neutron stars that allow near instantaneous travel from one point in the universe to another. Earth’s best soldiers in the war consist of highly educated men and women most of who hold advanced degrees. Private William Mandella is a bight young physicist who has been drafted into the army to serve on the front lines of the most gruesome war in human history.

Mandella is initially unprepared for the rigorous training required. Most of the soldiers don’t survive the deadly training exercises. If this wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the issue of severe time dilation. As the war continues, the soldiers must go further and further into space. While a journey to one of the portal planets may only take a few months (thanks to the collapsars), time moves much slower than on Earth. This means that while only a short time has passed for Mandella, entire decades may have already passed back home. Throughout the novel, Mandella returns home only to discover challenges far greater than just fighting some aliens.

Haldeman doesn’t shy away from the violence in this book as this novel is based on the author’s own experiences fighting in Vietnam. There are several parallels such as fighting a completely alien civilization that seems nearly impossible to fully defeat. Haldeman also draws connections to how soldiers in Vietnam must have felt on returning home to a world they didn’t recognize and the severe displacement they must have experienced. As a sci-fi novel, Haldeman is able to take his concepts even further and yet they don’t feel so unbelievable. There are teaching machines that can cram an unbelievable amount of knowledge into the human brain in a matter of days. There’s also severe government conditioning right before a battle where the soldiers are implanted with false memories of the Taurans, meant to ignite severe hate and fuel motivation. Incredible spacesuits can protect the body against damage from extreme speeds of space travel. There are plenty of battles against the Taurans, both on the ground and in space. Although military strategy isn’t my cup of tea necessarily, the battles were some of the most intense I’ve ever read. More than the actual fighting, what really sold me on this book were Mandella’s experiences back home in between battles.

When he first returns home, Mandella can’t believe all of the changes to his home. Several decades have passed, and Earth is a dystopian nightmare with violence and drug use galore. The book uses the term “future shock” to describe how soldiers struggled to adapt to the differences in culture. Rather than continue to live on this unrecognizable world, Mandella would rather reenlist and return to space.

One of the most interesting facets to the book were the importance of sex and sexuality. In the beginning, there is a lot of casual sex among the soldiers (distraction from all the death). As time dilation sends Mandella further into the future, homosexuality becomes more common until it gets to the point where all humans are homosexual, and Mandella is practically the outcast because heterosexuality is considered an “emotional dysfunction” that is easily curable. Since this book was written in the 1970’s, there is a somewhat old-fashioned attitude towards homosexuality as a big deal rather than no deal at all. I found it interesting that in the far future, government scientists would condition human beings to be homosexual, mainly as means of population control. Despite his attitudes towards sex, I found Mandella to be a likable character and hoped that a happy ending could be found for this man out of his own time.

There’s also a bit of romance in this book as well. One of the main plots of the story involve Mandella’s relationship with fellow solider Marygay. The chances of them having any type of future is slim due to the mortality rate of the war. There’s also the issue of time dilation when they both get sent off to separate missions. In fact, there’s a heartbreaking scene where the two are desperately having as much fun as possible on a planet called Heaven because they know they will have to say goodbye to each other soon.

Although it took me some time to get into the book, once I did I was hooked. I highly recommend The Forever War as a gripping work of science fiction.

“Surely cowardice had nothing to do with his decision. Surely he had nothing so primitive and unmilitary as a will to live.”

 

Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts! Sound off with a comment down below. 

 

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27./28. ‘Behind a Mask’ and ‘Jack and Jill’ by Louisa May Alcott

Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since my last review. Unfortunately, work has been extremely crazy. Then, I decided it was time to go on a little vacation. Now that I’m fully rested, it’s time to get back to business! As I work diligently to catch up on my blog, I thought it would be a good idea to do a double review. Fortunately, it helps that both books are by the same author. I recently participated in The Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge and decided to read and review three of her works. After finishing Little Women, I decided to try a couple of her lesser known works. Honestly, I couldn’t have chosen two very different books that show just how much Alcott’s style changed over her lifetime. The first is Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott,a collection of her early “blood and thunder tales” that started her career.

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Alcott started writing these sensational works for periodicals as a means for her poor family to make some money. Alcott usually wrote these tales anonymously or under a pseudonym, the most popular one being “A.M. Barnard.” Fortunately, young Ms. Alcott possessed quite the talent as an author of thrillers, and I can’t help but wonder if her own pent-up rage helped her with her writing process. In the introduction of my copy, Madeleine Stern talks about some of the hardships Alcott endured, including the harassment by a wealthy man who hired her to care for his sister. Who knew that Louisa May Alcott had her own #MeToo moment? It would appear this incident alone served as the fire which would ignite the creation of some rather dangerous characters, such as Jean Muir in the opening novella “Behind a Mask, or A Woman’s Power.” Hired as a governess by a wealthy family to oversee the education of the youngest daughter, Jean appears to be hiding many secrets as she manages to charm every male member of the household ultimately becoming the instrument of the family’s downfall.

For me, “Behind a Mask” was the strongest story in this collection. Alcott captured that atmosphere perfected later by Daphne du Maurier. As the audience, we learn early that Jean is up to no good and watch helplessly as she slowly orchestrates her grand plan. The pacing of the piece is perfect, and this story serves as a rare occasion where the villain ends up on top. This story sets the tone for the three following shorter works. The concept of the “masks” we wear to hide our true intentions is a theme that runs through all of the stories. Each one features a character who is not what she (or he) initially appears to be. Often, the motive is revenge for a wrong committed long ago. In the case of Jean Muir, her actions are dictated due to the limitations of women in a pre-feminist society. Alcott definitely exercises her power in the creation of a woman who is a powerful force using nothing but her acting skills and her intelligence.

Both “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment” and “The Mysterious Key and What it Opened” are perfect revenge tales. Despite both being shorter than the first story, I still thought they were long enough to set the pacing and tension for the final reveals at the end. Pauline was scorned horribly by the man she was to marry, so she uses her new lover to get even with him. We learn that the ex-boyfriend is not all he is cracked up to be: gambling addict, alcoholic, and borderline abusive. In fact, it seems like Pauline and her new love Manuel could just flaunt their new romance in front of him and that would be enough. Unfortunately, Pauline’s obsession with making her ex suffer leads to some rather tragic consequences. “The Mysterious Key” takes us back to Britain, and sets up the suspense early with a death and the appearance of a mysterious male child. The truth behind the mystery is not discovered until many years later and is far more convoluted than any reader could ever guess. I really enjoyed this one quite a lot because it took place over several years and had some really charming moments despite being one of Alcott’s revenge stories.

With the final tale “The Abbot’s Ghost” I was hopeful for some real supernatural fun. Unfortunately, this story was the weakest in the collection for me. There is the appearance of a ghost at the end, but it is actually a very small scene in the story. This tale focuses more on the secrets of the Treherne family with quite a few love triangles thrown in for good measure. This one just didn’t do it for me, but I may have been burned out on Gothic fiction by the time I got to this one.

As a word of warning, there are some cases of politically incorrect dialogue in some of these stories. For example, a character of Latin descent is referred to as “hot-blooded.” Another story features a character use the word “idiot” to describe someone with a developmental disability, something that would be completely unacceptable by today’s standards. I also couldn’t help notice that there was a lot of romance between characters who were cousins. Perhaps this was more a common practice during that time period. I would definitely recommend this book for Alcott scholars or those that just love some old-fashioned Gothic romance.

“Human minds are more full of mysteries than any written book and more changeable than the cloud shapes in the air.”

Now that I’ve examined Alcott during her pre-Little Women days, let’s take a look at an example from her later life, the warm-hearted Jack and Jill: A Village Story (1880). It was quite a change moving from Alcott’s dark fiction to a story written about and for children.

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Jack and Jill takes place in Harmony Village, a small town in New England. Jack Minot and Jane “Jill” Pecq are best friends and next door neighbors. One day, right before Christmas, the two are involved in a terrible sledding accident. The aftermath leads to the two children recovering in their respective homes, Jack from a broken leg and Jill from an injured back. The book takes place over the next year with the two friends learning valuable life lessons from their mothers as well as their multitude of friends.

It’s hard to believe that this book was written by the same author who once refused to write Little Women calling it “moral pap for the young.” Alcott practically beats you over the head with highly moralistic lessons and instructions on how to be a better person. After reading Jack and Jill, I felt the overwhelming need to run to my local church, confess that I once took my brother’s binoculars without his permission, and then demand to be bathed in holy water. Granted, this was a book meant to have youngsters as the main audience so perhaps Alcott felt obligated to make the book more of a teaching tool than anything else. Maybe her outlook on writing moralistic fiction had changed by this time.

Similar to the format of Little Women, each chapter is practically a self-contained story in itself. Most of the narrative focuses on Jack and Jill, but there are some chapters dedicated to some of the other children and their own individual struggles. There’s Merry who loves beauty and nature, but whose family are farmers with little time for such pleasantries. Molly has to be a mother to her younger brother due to the neglect from her father. Jack’s older brother Frank, my personal favorite, is a bookish boy who is obsessed with engineering. Each chapter focuses on a dilemma facing one of the youngsters, resulting in a valuable life lesson at the end.

I can see the character of Jill as being a child version of Jo March, but I honestly became annoyed in regards to some of the more sexist parts. There’s one scene where it is debated on whether girls should attend college like the boys. Several discussions take place within the book regarding a girl becoming a proper “young woman.” I realize that Alcott, a staunch feminist, was showing us the beliefs and attitudes of the times rather than preaching these ideals. I was rather shocked near the end by Mrs. Minot’s decision that the children should postpone any further schooling and instead should focus on other attributes such as physical health.  By the end of the book, Jack, Jill, and Frank appear to be getting educated at home, so perhaps this is showing us Alcott’s disdain for the state of public education at the time.

Jack and Jill is a charming story about children trying to be the best versions of themselves they can be. It was nice to see the characters grow both intellectually and socially. Despite being dated, this book is a guide to a better way to live.

I enjoyed taking part in this reading challenge for the second year so special thanks to In the Bookcase for hosting and inviting me to participate. Louisa May Alcott was a writer who was able to show us both the bad and the good parts of human nature.

“Do your best while you live, and I don’t believe anything good is lost, whether we have it a long or a short time.”

 

Have you read either of these books? I’d love to know your thoughts! Sound off with a comment down below. 

 

 

26. ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott

For the second year in a row, I’m participating in the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge. This year is also special because it marks the 150th anniversary of Alcott’s most beloved novel of all time. For this reason, I thought Little Women would make an excellent choice as my first review for the challenge. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read it, but I do have vague memories of the film version starring Winona Ryder as Jo. Overall, I was very pleased with Little Women. I not only found it to be a very charming story about the importance of family, but I was quite surprised with some of the directions Alcott decided to take in terms of plot. Sometimes a book comes along that just makes you feel all warm inside. There’s a indomitable spirit that runs through Little Women that I found as quite the beacon of hope in even the darkest of times.

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During my research on the book, I learned that Louisa May Alcott originally did not want to write this “book for girls” preferring to stay with the more adult thrillers she had been penning for quite some time. She finally agreed in the hopes that the publisher would return the favor by helping her father publish his own idea for a book. Despite her initial reservations, I think that it’s safe to say she made the right call as Little Women is heralded as one of the greatest works of nineteenth-century literature. Alcott even manages to insert many of her own beliefs into the book, making a case that Little Women stands as a strong piece of feminist fiction.

The “little women” of the book’s title refers to four close-knit sisters living with their mother during the American Civil War. Meg, the oldest, loves her family but dreams of living a life of riches with fancy balls and beautiful houses. The second oldest is tomboy Jo who is very outspoken and rebellious. Her one dream is that she may one day become a successful writer and escape the expected duties of a typical woman. Then we have the gentle and shy Beth who loves music and is quite gifted on the piano. The youngest is Amy whose artistic talent is matched only by her occasional selfishness. While their father is away helping as a pastor on the battlefront, the girls are cared for by their mother who they affectionately call “Marmee.” Throughout the novel, Mrs. March stands as someone who is trying to bring out nothing but the best in her four girls, as each works to eliminate a significant character flaw. For example, Jo attempts to calm her rather fiery temper (with rather mixed results).

This work has been described as Alcott’s most biographical novel, as the inspiration for the four March girls are based on Alcott herself and her sisters (guess which one is Louisa). They can all be described as dreamers striving for success, but they have a lot to learn, as they work to improve themselves both academically and morally. I was impressed with how Alcott manages to insert her own philosophy into this novel. For example, there’s a scene where the youngest Amy gets into trouble and suffers corporal punishment from her teacher due to her misbehavior. The family immediately pulls her out of that school, reflecting the Alcott family’s disdain at treating children in this manner. Now, the book does occasionally talk of possessing “womanly values” which would sadly make some female readers want to vomit. However, Alcott does make Little Women cutting edge through the very feminist character of Jo.

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Jo March-the original fierce girl.

I don’t think Little Women would have been successful without the inclusion of Jo March. This is a character who struggled to find her role in society. Brash and argumentative, you never knew what she going to do or say next. I loved the scene where Jo cuts off all of her hair in order to raise money for her mother to go see her father. There’s just something particularly appealing about watching this character in a world of proper manners. Everything “girly” goes against her nature. Although she is self-aware of her character traits, she is someone who doesn’t back down. Her relationship with Laurie, the rich boy next door, was extremely charming making them one of the best double acts I’ve encountered in fiction. Another great moment was Jo’s first encounter with Laurie’s scary and frosty guardian who quickly warms to Jo and later, the rest of the March family. This isn’t to say there was anything wrong with the other sisters; for me, Jo March elevated a great novel into something truly legendary.

Despite being a work of nineteenth-century literature, the writing makes this novel quite an easy read. The chapters are short, and each one is almost a short story within itself. I would be doing a great disservice to this review if I did not name my favorite chapter called “Castles in the Air.” It is beautifully written, and if nothing else, you should read that one chapter as a selling point to read the entire book. This isn’t to say the book is for everyone’s tastes. Little Women, at times, can comes across as quite preachy with discussions on religion and moral commentary. None of the advice giving bothered me though because there was such a feeling of kindness behind all of it, that it left me feeling as though I was a better person for having read it.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a message of hope contained within Alcott’s prose. Although we never witness scenes of war firsthand, the outcomes from the conflict are felt throughout the book. Despite all the fun in telling stories to each other and playing make believe, Jo and her sister strive to find their places in the world. They must find a way to fulfill the domestic roles that are expected while trying to become more and stand as individuals. Despite the hardships they face, one quality that unites the girls are their unfailing devotion to family. Perhaps that is the true reason this novel shines bright.

Little Women is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful classics I have ever read, and I think the reason I loved it so much is that it teaches the importance of gratitude. Although the March family doesn’t have a lot in the way of money and possessions, they are rich in the bonds that unite them. In today’s technological world, we often rely on more convenient methods of communication. We don’t actually spend time talking to one another. Family time has become an almost forgotten commodity. Although we can stand to learn a lot from the March sisters, the most important lesson of all is that we shouldn’t lose sight of time with our loved ones. Also, there’s something to be said about enjoying more childlike pursuits. Throughout the novel, the girls are usually engaged in some “frivolous” activity like performing plays or telling silly stories to each other. These activities would be unheard of by today’s youth. So maybe Louisa May Alcott had the right idea. Stop and look at what’s truly important in life. Spend time with your family. Do something silly. Most importantly, love and be grateful.

“Wouldn’t it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true, and we could live in them? I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”

 

This book counts towards one of my challenges for the year. You can track my progress by clicking here.

Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts! Sound off with a comment down below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25. ‘Dark Eden’ by Chris Beckett

I had never heard of Dark Eden or its author Chris Beckett prior to picking up this book. They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but honestly do you blame me? It was a must have. I am pleased to say that there is definitely substance beneath the gorgeous cover. Dark Eden was compelling science fiction that manages to to tell a familiar story in a rather inventive way.

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One hundred and sixty-three years ago, two astronauts named Tommy and Angela were stranded on a planet they named Eden. While the remainder of their team journeyed back to Earth in order to bring back a rescue team, the two castaways began having children. Nearly two centuries later, the “Family” consists of 532 people all descended from Tommy and Angela. As a result of incest, several members of Family have birth defects such as a cleft palate (called “Batface”) or clubbed feet. The inhabitants all live in Circle Valley, where the landing vehicle originally came down, because Angela told her children to stay together so they could be found when rescue from Earth finally arrived. This rule was passed down from generation to generation, and now everyone is afraid to venture out from Circle Valley in case rescue finally arrives. As the population continues to grow and food becomes scarce, there is a real danger of being wiped out within a few more generations. However, the old traditions continue to stand due to the fear of being left behind once help finally arrives. One day, someone makes the decision for change that alters life on Eden from that point forward.

John Redlantern is one of the teenagers (“newhairs”) of Family. He feels closed off from the world and stuck in the endless cycle of routine. John often gets into trouble with the group leaders and elders because he asks the questions everyone else is afraid to ask. Outside of Circle Valley lies Snowy Dark, a place of unfathomable cold. Nobody knows what lies on the other side, but John wants to brave the journey to discover more to this world. Finding the nobody will listen, John leads a small group of those that are willing to break away from the rigid structure of Family. His actions lead to some drastic changes, not all of them good.

In creating Eden, author Chris Beckett has designed a truly fascinating world. The planet lacks a sun, and light is derived from the bioluminescent plant and animal life. The trees (called Lantern trees) tap into the molten core of the planet bringing up heat and fruit. I loved the descriptions of all the wildlife because it leads you to try to imagine what these creatures. Despite being a very alien world, Beckett manages to make every aspect appear logical. The details of Eden are told naturally through the characters’ eyes.

Beckett should also be applauded for the development of the society of Eden. Life among Family centers on powerful and rigid rituals: retelling the story of the original inhabitants, worshipping the few remaining relics, and maintaining the primary law of staying in Circle Valley. There are several themes that run through this book, but for me the greatest achievement is how this group best represents a dysfunctional family system. In my research, I discovered that in addition to being a writer, Chris Beckett is also a social worker. As a therapist, I found this book endlessly fascinating. I think that the ideas crafted here can be applied to examining how our family systems can become fixed and rigid.

Linguistic drift has given has given the people of Eden unique words when retelling the history of their ancestors, such as “police veekle”, “rayed yoh”, and “Jesus Juice” instead of “police vehicle”, “radio”, and “Jesus and the Jews” The word very is nonexistent so the inhabitants simply double the adjective, such as “cold cold”, “sad sad” etc. The word “slip” refers to having sex with someone, and Family has a very polyamorous society with babies being born and the mothers unsure of which male is the father.

The characters are interesting, diverse, and well-developed. Although the main character of the book, John Redlantern is a flawed character and your typical anti-hero. We can sympathize with his decision for change and exploring the world beyond Snowy Dark, but often his actions are more out of self-interest in being respected as the leader of the tribe. John’s lover and friend Tina Spiketree also becomes an interesting and thought-provoking character, particularly in regards to women’s rights (or lack of). Most of the story alternates between John and Tina’s perspectives, with a few other characters occasionally thrown in throughout the narrative.

The power of storytelling is an important theme running throughout Dark Eden. The origin story of Tommy and Angela is told multiple times. Over the course of time, details and meaning are altered to fit what works in the best interests for Family’s moral well-being. I love how we never get a flashback to Tommy and Angela. It works so much better to learn the story through the current characters’ eyes. There is a moment near the end where we learn a few more details, but the author leaves it to us the readers to put it all together. As a therapist, I have always been fascinated by narrative theory. Particularly, it is interesting to examine how narratives can change over time. John wants more than change from the repeating cycle of rituals that symbolize Family. He wants to be the center of the story, the hero. Rather than give a happy ending, Beckett gives us a realistic ending.

I learned that this is the first book of a trilogy, but it definitely works as a stand-alone work of brilliant science fiction.  I highly recommend you add this book to your TBR list if you are wanting to read a work of accomplished science fiction. I will definitely be reading more Chris Beckett in the future.

“That was what Eden was like. We were trapped inside a dark little cave with no way out of it. And even though I’d never known anything else, and probably never would do, I longed and longer for that different world that was full of light. I don’t mean just longed for it in a sad wistful way. I longer for it like a blind person must long to see. I longer for it like you’d long for air if you couldn’t breathe.”

Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts! Sound off with a comment down below. 

 

24. ‘The Black Arrow’ by Robert Louis Stevenson

Last year, I read and reviewed two works by Robert Louis Stevenson. I really enjoyed both Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for vastly different reasons so I was excited about the prospect of tackling another Stevenson classic. Fellow bibliophile and blogger Joelendil recommended this one to me so special shout out to you kind Sir. While The Black Arrow is not as universally celebrated as the other two, I did find it to be quite an enjoyable little adventure with lots of action and intrigue.

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This was a great used bookstore find. If only books were still this price!

The Black Arrow is set during the turbulent period in British history known as the Wars of the Roses. If you are like me and slept a lot in high school, no need to fear as a knowledge of the history is not necessary to enjoy this book. Basically, the Wars of the Roses were a series of English civil wars for control of the throne during the fifteenth century. The two opposing factions were the House of Lancaster (symbolized by a red rose) and the House of York (represented by a white rose). It spanned off and one for several decades. That’s about all you really need to know. I will end the brief history lesson here to focus on the book itself.

The main character is Richard (Dick) Shelton, a young ward to the knight Sir Daniel Brackley. As the story begins, Brackley’s men are attacked by the mysterious group known as “The Black Arrow.” After reading a message that Sir Daniel may have been responsible for the murder of his father, young Dick begins to suspect that he may have been loyal to the wrong person. Not that his guardian is duplicitous mind you. I mean sure Sir Daniel is known for switching sides often during the war to promote his own self interest. There is also the matter of kidnapping women and arranging marriages to those that serve him. So in a nutshell, yes Sir Daniel is the real dick of this story (sorry had to do it). As young Shelton’s loyalties are tested, he finds himself going on one daring adventure after another to both avenge his father and rescue his true love. Oh, did I forget to mention that there is romance as well? Remember when I said that one of Sir Daniel’s pastimes is kidnapping young ladies and marrying them off. Well, Joanna Sedley is the latest of these conquests who manages to escape from Sir Daniel disguised as a boy. Using the alias John Matcham, she soon becomes friends with Dick who does not suspect anything suspicious about his new partner in crime.

Finally, a strong female lead in a Stevenson novel! Of course, Joan does spend the first part of the novel dressed as a boy. Then, the remainder of the novel consists of Dick trying to rescue her as the classic damsel in distress. Alright, so Stevenson isn’t known for his strong female characters. The time that Joan is disguised as his alter ego leads to some rather funny moments for the clueless Dick. The classic “girl pretending to be a boy” has been a trope in fiction from the classics all the way up to modern movies. Once our hero learns that his new friend is really a girl, he professes his undying love to her. Literally, in less than a page. Oh well, I guess the role-play will be fun. I get that Stevenson was more interested in getting the story to move along to the more action-packed parts.

The story does move along at a rapid pace, with plenty of fights, daring escapes, and intrigue. I found Dick Shelton to exemplify the qualities of a true hero. He is a brave person who wants to do what is right. Unfortunately, I felt like some of the plot threads didn’t come together perfectly. For example, the first half of the book seemed to focus on the death of young Richard’s father. Later, it almost becomes more of a side story. When I researched this book, I learned that it was written and printed in installments (common practice of the times). Also, Stevenson was not in the best health so that could attribute for some of these issues.

Another problem for me with Black Arrow was the dialogue. Stevenson felt it necessary to write the dialogue in the speech used during that time period. While I applaud his efforts to be authentic, the dialogue really slowed this book down for me. I think I would have been alright with modernizing the language. Stevenson took some other liberties with the novel in regards to history, such as adjusting the age for the future King Richard III. In his own self-criticism of the work, Stevenson used the term “tushery” due to the archaic language. I will give Stevenson credit for giving me a word that I plan to use as much as possible. I mean you can’t help but smile at the word “tushery” right?

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable romp with plenty of adventure and intrigue that might be hampered down a little by the antiquated language. I will definitely continue to read the works of the great Robert Louis Stevenson.

“Wisdom, indeed, moved him to be gone; but love and curiosity were stronger.”

This book counts towards one of my challenges for the year. You can track my progress by clicking here.

Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts! Sound off with a comment down below.