reading notes: the sister and chains

26 03 2009

So I’ve finished two books since I last blogged: The Sister by Poppy Adams and Chains by Laura Halse Anderson.

The Sister I won in a draw from Melanie at The Indextrious Reader.  I’ve been wanting to read it for sometime so I was really excited when I won a copy of it and some other books and I decided it would be the first of the lot I read.  I did enjoy it, and I kept reading, eager to find out what happened, though something seemed to be lacking for me.  I complained before about the end of chapters in The Crimson Portrait, how there was too much made at the end of each chapter, but here I found I had the opposite problem.  Many chapters seemed to leave me too abruptly, still waiting more of the scene.  I’ve always been fascinated with the unreliable narrator though and I think that is what really intrigued me most about the novel.  There was a whole other story here, and I loved trying to figure that out my reading through the lines and gathering the hints and suggestions Adams wove into the narrative.

Though I enjoyed The Sister on that level, I felt a bit disappointed in my reading of it.  Chains, on the other hand, was a really engaging read.  Anderson’s novel takes place during the American Revolution.  It focuses on Isabel, a young slave girl who is supposed to be freed (with her baby sister) after her owner dies, but the inheriting nephew sells her to the Locktons, a couple who support the Loyalists.  The action takes place in New York and it is interesting seeing the Revolution through this perspective.  Isabel’s struggle to free herself and her sister kept my attention right from the start, and the persecution she experiences is absolutely heart-breaking.  Anderson does a good job of stressing the irony of slavery in a country that is fighting for independence without that message ever becoming preachy.  I found the characters well-developed and complex, with even Mrs. Lockton – Isabel’s chief persecutor – was more complicated and her actions more horrific because she is herself is a victim of abuse.  I have to say that my only problem with the book is that Isabel’s story will continue in another volume and according to Anderson’s website that won’t be till the fall of 2010.  It seems such a long wait when I’m so anxious to continue with Isabel’s journey.




2 responses

4 04 2009

I enjoyed your reviews. I liked The Sister well enough though I wouldn’t call it really outstanding. Chains sounds like something I might like-perhaps next February for Black history month. That way if I like it, the wait for the sequel won’t be so long.

4 04 2009

I agree with you on The Sister, Sandra. I didn’t find it lived up to all I’d heard about. You should definitely try Chains – and yes, it’s probably a good plan to wait until closer to when the sequel comes out so you won’t be as frustrated as I was when I finished the book 😉

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