Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Title: On the Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta

Main character: 4/5
Taylor was a dynamic and rich character. Although she and I are very different, I was able to connect with her because the basic needs and human desires were the same, as well as how she reacted to many of them. Initially I wasn't sure if I would like Taylor as a character, but she grew on me throughout the book. Marchetta's writing shone brilliantly in her ability to create a flawed and struggling character without turning off the reader or making them bored/annoyed.

Secondary characters: 5/5
Wow, I absolutely loved the secondary cast of characters. Each of them were richly detailed and beautifully rounded; everyone from the original Five to Jonah Griggs, Santangelo, Raffy and Ben. The problem is that because the novel is written in first-person, several characters who seem interesting are left slightly one-sided until the very end, when Taylor finally sees them for what they actually are and then finally, so can the reader.

Writing style: 4/5
I'm so glad that I pushed on with this story. The opening seemed like it wasn't going to be my type of plot or writing style, but it continued to improve throughout the story. Another problem with the beginning was that we were thrown right into the action and I was completely confused, but it cleared up as we learned more and more. Marchetta's writing style is descriptive and gorgeous without being over the top, and while most of the time I prefer action oriented writing, I found that Marchetta's style didn't put me off and in fact I enjoyed the beautiful details. Another fun part was the fact that I was laughing in the middle just because of the random quirks of the characters or just so caught up in what was happening.

Plot: 5/5
Wow, I think the plot was one of the showstoppers. I guess this ties together with writing style though because you need an incredibly skilled writer to pull off this kind of interwoven plot with so many small and intricate details that all work together. The territory war was the first thing that drew me in and from there I was caught up in the emotional and strategic warfare between these kids and what it meant to them. From there, Marchetta continued to make the plot more complex and broad, weaving in little details throughout the whole story to make it deep and meaningful.

Ending: 4.5/5
Gorgeous. My only knock was that it was a little drawn out, but it really explored what had happened and what it meant in the fullest detail. All the loose ends were tied up without it having to state facts (subtlety is another bonus point on Marchetta's writing style), and I'll admit I was sobbing at the end.

Cover: Probably one of my only knocks on the book, I wasn't a huge fan of the cover. Looking back, it makes sense but it didn't immediately draw me into the book.

Rating: 9/10

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