A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensA Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Genre: Classic
Release Date: 1854
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

Something about the French Revolution?? Mostly a love triangle?? This was a very confusing novel, guys. And by confusing I mean really, really boring. The two go together. The plot is something like some old dude is found by his daughter Lucie, who is very beautiful and frail and everyone loves her because of course they do, and they go off to England where she marries a slightly less old although equally boring dude BUT THEN he goes to France because of reasons and is arrested, tried and sentenced to death by Guillotine. So Lucie is super upset about this turn of events and she and her dad go to France to save her boring husband BUT obviously because they are boring, keep up with me here, they spend a lot of time wringing their hands UNTIL some bloke comes along and is like I HAVE LOVED LUCIE I WILL SAVE HER HUSBAND because I think he is actually Damon Salvatore; he devises a plan Amber would be proud of, in which he takes on the name of Lucie’s boring husband and dies by Guillotine while actual husband escapes and they all live happily ever after. Except Damon. Because he’s dead.

This is a book that genuinely could have been fabulous if only Dickens had not included the main characters. Which is a strange thing to say unless you have read about Lucie, who is so inconsequential you could replace her with a block of cheese and no-one would notice (I told you I’d include this, Amber :D) and her boring husband and father whose names I’ve already forgotten and don’t care enough to look up. Sydney Carton, who is actually Damon Salvatore look in your hearts you know this to be true, is the only interesting ~main character and he’s not even in the majority of the book -___- It is the minor characters, such as the poor men and women who are part of the Revolution who are actually really fascinating to read about – my favourite was a female character who earned the nickname The Vengeance because of her merciless rage against the upper classes.

I also really liked Madame Defarge, a female revolutionary like The Vengeance, and is responsible in the novel for accusing many of the people who end up in prison of treason against the new agenda. I loved seeing the bits and pieces of Revolutionary France in all it’s glory and fear. The description of the trials in which the accused were sentenced was also very interesting, as was the insight into the french prisons and the atmosphere in which no-one could trust each other because anyone could be a spy; it was these small parts of the novel that redeemed it, in a way.

I mean, I wish I could finish this review with some profound comments but honestly, this book bored me into a near coma; I have rarely been so excited to finish a book if only so I could shove it on my bookshelf and forget about it.

A Historical Fiction Classic.
Page Count: 544

One comment on “A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

  1. Annette 23/04/2014 3:15 pm

    A long time ago I decided I “needed” to read this. I didn’t get very far before I decided I didn’t. I commend your perseverance….

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