Saturday, April 20, 2019

"Uncommon" Book Reviews: Mini-Reviews of 5 Lesser Known Novels

New books are popular, and for good reason.  These stories are for us, today.  The plots and themes often deal with current issues.  We can relate to the characters as they go through the same things we face-high school, college, jobs (in the contemporary genre, at least).  The authors are still alive and can be contacted for interviews, fan mail, or just to share tidbits about their new releases.  Covers are shiny and new and beautiful.  New books, however, often have content that we at Rebellious Writing are rebelling against.

Old books...are less popular.  And for good reason.  The writing can be hard to understand.  The messages and characters are different.  And the author is likely some middle-aged person writing in some stuffy study by typewriter or something.  And probably dead.

In our effort to escape the content found in newer books, we turn to these older books.  Perhaps, despite the dry, stuffy writing, we can find a story to satisfy our thirst for reading-without sacrificing our standards.

And then we find the truth: sometimes older books aren’t so great either.

It’s a fact of life.  Not every new book is full of lust and gore (yay for that), and not every old book is clean.

Today I’m going to cater to some of our readers who love older novels and recommend a few good ones.  And maybe some of those folks who usually avoid these kind of books might be inspired to pick up one of these and give something different a try.  :)

(Click the book title to be taken to the Goodreads page.)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Everyone’s heard of this, I’m sure.  If you haven’t, I can only assume you’ve spent the last 16 years locked in prison, trying to write a book about making Italy into one nation.  It’s a long, dragging read.  You’ll want to throw yourself out a window a few times because it’s so confusing.  But it’s worth it.  According to my sister, who loves this book to pieces, “You’ll learn all sorts of things.  You’ll learn how convince people to commit suicide, to convince people to not commit suicide, to make it look like someone committed suicide, how to communicate with a quadriplegic, how to overprice chicken, how to sail, how to escape prison in sixteen years, how to rescue someone, how to befriend assassins, how to make friends with pirates, how to politely insult someone, and so much more.”

The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter

Celtic lore lovers?  Here you are!  Dashing Scottish heroes, epic ladies, and lots of high adventure!  Kind of like Braveheart but without the R rating.  :)  And lots more side plots and fun book features like that.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll enjoy the action.  There’s a lot of characters to suit fantasy novelists, and it’s nicely written as well.

The Traitor’s Gate by Avi

So I was very dubious of this book when I first started reading it.  It’s not my genre, not my time period...basically the only reason I picked this was because a friend gave it to me and I enjoyed other books I’d read from this author.  But it started to get a little interesting...then more interesting...then I was reading as fast as I could.  I would say “a moving little mystery novel set in foggy London."  Kinda cute.  Kinda eye-opening to the time period (like a Charles Dickens novel, but easier to read).

Lysbeth and Pearl Maiden by H. Rider Haggard

Pearl Maiden has always been a favorite book of mine.  A historical fiction novel set during the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD about a Jewish orphan girl.  It’s cute.  A love triangle...but with the girl not being able to pick either of her lovers because neither of them share her convictions.  For lovers of roman and/or Jewish history, it’s a must read!

Lysbeth, however...the first time I read it, I got bored and stopped.  Yes, I actually didn’t finish it (which rarely happens).  But I eventually forgot I didn’t like it and picked it up again...and read the whole thing...and loved it.  Kind of a love triangle again (hmmmm) but with a totally different take on it!

Both are highly recommended!

Any older (aka, not newly released) books y’all like and recommend?  Have you read any of these?  Remember, there’s no shame in reading and loving older books.  Nor is there shame in loving a book that no one else has read, where there’s not even a fandom to share it with.

Read what you like.  But try new things.

Keep reading, Y'all!
~Julian Daventry


  1. Oh, my sister just finished The Count of Monte Cristo, and now it is her favorite book! I want to try it sometime, and those others look good, too! Thanks for sharing, Julian. :)

  2. Sounds like the first book has a lot to do with suicide, lol. I've watched tons of movies based on Dumas' books, but never really liked them enough to want to pick up any of his books ... and his books are so long. I do think it's interesting that Dumas wrote more novels than anyone else (I think over 600, right?). But then he died pennyless ... and in debt ... guess he was depressed and not good with his money.

    Avi's books are written so interestingly, and I always want to read more books by that author ... that one sounds good!

    And that last book sounds just like my type ;D

  3. Ooh, the Scottish Chief sounds like something I might just have to try and find!