As must be obvious to you all, I love reading. I love the adventure, the escape, the romance, the mystery, the thought-provoking, the sweet... Well I love everything about it. Growing up on a farm the way I did, a book gave me the ability to go anywhere, anytime, and do anything. Now, with kids of my own and a life firmly routed in my southern Alberta home, it does exactly the same thing.
I also do a lot of re-reading. When you read as frequently and as much as I do, re-reading a story - and being able to find the same joy and adventure in it as if it were the first time - is a very important, very necessary ability. After all, while there are parts of the year that I only manage a few novels in a month, there are also periods of the year when I end up reading a novel a day. If I had to buy a brand new book every time I opened one to read, I’d be bankrupt in a flash. (And that doesn’t even take in to account the expansive bookshelves of e-books purchased and waiting for me to read, or the ever present piles of paper and hardcover books that linger and collect around the house begging for their turn in my hands...)
So as I pulled out my paperback of Life’s Defeat last weekend to begin re-reading I couldn’t help but wonder if the story would sink it’s claws in me as it has in the past. Would I’d be as equally captivated and horrified of Rochester acts this time as I was when in Fall 2015 when I read them the first time? Would the small but important romance story-line shine through the dark as brightly? Would I love the story, the developed world, the characters, and the thrills and chills of it the way I did before?
The answer is quite simply: yes.
by Rebekah Raymond
The dark and twisty turns of the plot kept me on edge. Twists I had, within the time since my last re-read of the story, vaguely forgotten, once again shocked and teased me. More than once I had to put the book down and walk away because my emotions or thoughts were amped up. Fear, worry, wonder, sorrow, hope, anger and more... It’s during reading books like this one that I’m sure my kids must think I’m crazy because I’ll randomly shout out (at the book? at the characters? at the universe?) questions - why? what are you doing?!? what’s wrong with you!?! - or frustrations - no! don’t do that! what’s wrong with you!?! - and other such things.
There was also one unfortunate incident when I threw the book down on the living room floor and stormed from the room, but I’ll simply leave it up to you to read the book and try to figure out when I may have done that.
Here again, I found myself somehow fascinated with Rochester - even though I know all the atrocities he’s committed and will continue to commit. He’s sort of like a massive accident on the side of the highway and I’m the lookie-loo who stares at the carnage in horror. The depth of his depravity is such you can’t help but watch, can’t help but wonder, but always there is are questions burning: what will it take to stop him? What will it take to end his madness? How far will his evil go before he’s finished?
As I got to the end of this book and read the last pages, last paragraphs and last words, I found myself closing the back cover and staring at nothing for some time. And it was then I remembered doing the exact same thing after finishing the story the first time around. I sat there contemplating the complexities of the future that these characters would be facing, some of which I’ve read already in the second book and some that has yet to reach me. I stared at the walls of my living room and pictures of the past that had shaped some of the characters danced in my head too, for I’ve had the chance to see some of that already as well. And in those long moments I faced the grim realizations that life for these people, these characters, it would never be an easy one - no matter the good they would be able to create, the opportunities and chances for something better that come their way, they would always be entrenched in a difficult life. Yet in that difficult life, as in their military factions, they would be forever banded in blood, brothers and sisters sharing a common cause and goal. And that - those bonds are, I think, the one thing that keeps the fire of hope burning so brightly for them all.
If you’d like to read my original review of Life’s Defeat which was published here on the blog in October 2015, you can see it here.
And don’t forget to enter the February FAOM Giveaway - included in the prizes are a paperback copy of Life’s Defeat, as well as an e-copy of the book too!
Until next time... Happy Reading!!!