Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wow. It's been quite some time since I have written a review over here. But you all know how life gets. Complicated, busy, and occassionally dragged down by the world-suck. It's the books that suffer. But today, on my birthday, I have had the time to sit down and for once in a long while, update you as to a review. Awesome.

It appears to be a fiesta of Laurie Halse Anderson over here, because the title I most recently devoured was by her as well (Medeia having recently reviewed Wintergirls). And devoured is the most appropriate word.

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. -- (Summary from Goodreads. Thanks Goodreads!)

I have never read anything by Anderson that I have not loved and was struck especially by Speak when I read it in sixth grade (oh. so long ago), but this book has completely revived why I love her books so much. Isabel's character was a fantastic narrator, with all of the emotions from growing older paired with the severity of her situation and tactfully intertwined. She gave a different view on the Revolution than I have ever read and I was completely caught up in the changing moods of loyalty as she learned about the bigger war surrounding her. But that didn't leave her personal battles unattended. Oh no. My heart was with her every step of the way.

Don't think because it's a historical fiction that it was at all short on action either. There was plenty. Spying and secrets and battles and fires and imprisonment and running away and and and... just so good. I was not bored at any point and I read this entire novel this afternoon.

I also loved how educational it was (EWwwww... Educationalllll. I can hear your thoughts, because I generally share them). But it was kind of refreshing to see the Revolution taken on from a different POV, no more the gung-ho patriot that we've read a million times. There is nothing wrong with the Johnny Tremains of the book world, just that there are soooo.... many.... of them....

So find yourself a copy! It's worth the read and *drum roll please* there is going to be a sequel in 2010!

Celebrating a birthday by books,

Aella Siofra

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Happy (late) birthday, Aella!
I'm really glad you posted, not only because I love and missed your reviews, but also because I have been considering checking this one out for awhile but wasn't sure about it. But your review sold me on it, and I got it from the library and am reading it now and it's awesome. So thank you. :)