Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Old Reads, (Fairly) New Reviews, Part III

Okay, watch out, blogger friends! I'm going to warn you - you are about to see what happens when Amelia reads a book she did not like!
It might not be a pretty picture...you'll just have to love me anyway.
Ehh...it was okay. As a former ballerina, I absolutely loved how ballet was incorporated into the story; it wasnt just used as a way to describe the characters, but it had its own place in the story.
But past this general positive, my feelings about the book get a little more confused. This is the only Eva Ibbotson I've read (and you know, while it wasnt an awful read, I certainly dont feel the impulse to go out and read more of her stuff) and her writing style is descriptive and at times even elegant but her characters are very vacillated and her story pacing is really, REALLY weird.

This is first and foremost a romance story (there's little to no actual "HISTORY" here) and so therefore the romantic aspect should be the most important and the one that carries the weight of the story. Well, the whole thing just left me feeling rather confused: the relationship is way, way too rushed at the expense of a moderately-paced blossoming love story in which the reader gets to know the characters well and really see their relationship grow. What could have been sweet and "romantic" gets questionable and downright tawdry. And I consider myself one of the last true Romantics running around today. I love "happily-ever-afters." I love "true love" and all that jazz. But this is just weird.

Now granted, there were some good dialogue segments here and there, but not evenly or properly spaced throughout the story. And this is just a personal pet peeve of mine, but I don't understand why authors feel the need to include "previous encounters" of the love interest... THIS IS NOT A CARFAX HISTORY REPORT! I dont want to know all the other people who have driven your car!!! And I am certainly not a progressive, but I found it just a bit weird that this seemingly good-natured, innocent but grounded character would be so quick to tramp herself up. When the main character (who is at the ripe old age of 18 i might add) communicates a willingness to live as a "kept woman," that's trampy. How is that romantic? Like I said before, the characters' profiles just seem to constantly contradict each other. The ballerina in me was satisfied, and there were SOME parts of the Harriett-Rom romance that i thought was sweet (i like it when guys "rescue" girls--not because girls cant do anything for themselves, but because guys need to get off their butts and be productive! Not because we're weak, because WE'RE WORTH IT!) but overall, not one of my favorites.

Rating: 2/5.
A Company of Swans - Eva Ibbotson
- September 6, 2007 by Puffin (first published 1985)
- Paperback, 384 pages
- GR Reviews: 32% (5 stars), 36% (4 stars), 22% (3 stars), 7% (2 stars), 1% (1 star)

2 shout-outs!:

Cate said...

Aw, darn. I was hoping this would be a good one. :/ Thanks for the honest review, though!

Christina T said...

I've read four Eva Ibbotson books and the one I liked the most was The Dragonfly Pool which is more MG rather than YA. I have never read Barbara Cartland but from the way my mother describes those novels, Eva Ibbotson's books are similar to those older romances. The last one I read annoyed me so much that I will not be reading any of Ibbotson's other books. I have never read A Company of Swans and it really didn't appeal to me that much. I think these novels would appeal to older women rather than teenagers. Even then the heroines are typically annoying and don't have an authentic voice. The books had this over the top old Hollywood acting kind of feel to them (scenes where there is a close up of the heroine's face and there are tears in her eyes, etc.)Your review is very good and very accurate concerning Ibbotson.

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