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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review: El Dorado

El Dorado: Further Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel (I've been trying to space out my book reviews but it's just that I've recently read so many great books that I really want to review...just let me know if it gets annoying and I'll try to stop.  Really, I will.)
A popular sequel to the classic adventure tale, The Scarlet Pimpernel, this suspenseful story unfolds against the backdrop of the French Revolution. An irresistible blend of political intrigue, colorful period detail, and vibrant characterizations, it recounts the mysterious Pimpernel's attempts to rescue the young Dauphin from imprisonment. [This summary doesn't do the book justice at all, but don't go and read Wikipedia's summary - it's full of spoilers]
There are some books that touch me in a very special and personal way but they are extremely rare.  In fact, at the moment, there are only four that qualify to be on that list and El Dorado is one of them.  I discovered TSP in general one or two months ago and I've read about six of the books.  El Dorado is without a doubt my favorite.  It was sort of funny when I first read The Scarlet Pimpernel because I stayed up until midnight reading the first book and then because I couldn't bear to leave the world of the French Revolution, I started reading El Dorado (I picked it because I knew it was Ally's favorite).  I rarely ever cry so hard during a book that there are actual tears falling (although every book on my special list has affected me that way), but this was one of those rare times.  The arrest...the prison scene...the letter to  I was emotionally drained when I finished three in the morning.  I'm glad that I'm a fast reader or else I would never have finished it in one sitting and then I probably wouldn't have gotten any sleep anyway because I'd have been too eager to find out What Happened Next.
Anyways.  On to the book review.  I was quite sure that Something Bad was going to happen (I had heard vague rumours) but I was lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that nothing really exciting seemed to be happening.  Armand was mooning about a French actress (I quite enjoyed this part because it reminded me of Marius and Cosette...).  Of course I was thrilled when Sir Percy appeared and frustrated with Armand for not trusting him but still, everything was going quite well...and then It happened.
The invincible Scarlet Pimpernel is finally captured.  I figured that wasn't a spoiler since it happens quite early in the book...his arrest (in a bad sort of way).  It was absolutely horrible what they do to him...and then the book skips over to Marguerite in England, leaving us on quite a cliff-hanger.  Of course, Marguerite, being the amazing wife that she is, hurries to France despite the dangers, with Sir Andrew Ffoulkes as her escort (Sir Andrew is awesome.  Almost as awesome as Percy.  And the way he sticks by Marguerite through it all...)
Chauvelin finds them and offers to let Marguerite see Sir Percy in prison.  And what follows is one of the most heartbreakingly gorgeous, tear jerking, melt-in-a-puddle-at-the-sheer-romance-of-it-all scenes in literature.  It is the ultimate Scarlet Pimpernel scene, period.  And it has some amazing quotes in it.  But it is a very hard scene to read, especially near the end.
But it ends happily.  Ooops...was that a spoiler?  Never mind.  Anyway, you should know that it ends happily because there's really so much heartbreak in this book that you might put it down before you reach the end :)

Oh...about Armand.  I've never been able to hate him because after Percy gets captured he's so torn up and heartbroken about what his foolishness has done to all of them, that I can't help but feel sorry for him.  So I don't belong to the We Hate Armand club (of which Ally is the proud leader).  Anyway, I think hating Chauvelin in the book takes up all my energy - Chauvelin was horrible in this one...he was at his worst I think.  In fact I was sure that I would never, ever forgive him...but then I read Sir Percy Hits Back (which is a whole other book review) and that sort of changed.  I actually did never forgive him for El Dorado but SPHB softened my feelings toward him (although I'll admit he deserved everything he got).  Bit of a digression there...

This book is amazing.  If you're a fan of TSP, read it.  If you've already read it, read it again.  I've read it three times and each time I've loved it even more.

Vive The Scarlet Pimpernel!

1 comment:

Hayden said...

Grrrr. For the TSP fan that I am, I've read precious few of the books...only three :( I just can't find them anywhere. Hopefully, though, we'll be getting WiFi soon so I can read them in ebook form. Normally I hate ebooks...but if El Dorado is this good, I need to read it in any way I can!

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