Review: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ by George Orwell

Intelligent, haunting and incredibly post-modern, Orwell’s bestselling novel is both refreshing and eye-opening in a time of socio-political turbulence.

There’s a reason why Nineteen Eighty-Four had a surge in popularity recently. The classic by George Orwell, written in 1949, feels worryingly timely in the aftermath of Trump, Brexit and more importantly, post-truth politics.

A growing scepticism towards journalism, (fake) news and facts has meant that aspects of reality itself have come into question, and our perspectives have narrowed. It’s easy to interpret the Party members’ blind faith in the one, Big Brother narrative as being somewhat similar to the restrictive environment of online echo chambers.

By far the most interesting part of the book though is the excerpt of “the book” by Goldstein. Although an easy opportunity for Orwell to make his commentary more apparent, it’s here where the writer really shows off his intelligent way of writing through a lengthy essay. Much like Winston, at this point in the novel we become a bit more enlightened about the dystopian world of Oceania and The Party that runs it.

Yet, with this being quite a way into the book, one does wonder if having this essay earlier on in the book in some way would help the reader understand the fictional environment better. Although, this would probably be difficult plot-wise, and like most apocalyptic-style stories, the big reveal as to how the world ended up the way it did is usually left until the end – if it is indeed mentioned at all.

Like any classic, the book does have a fair amount of ‘re-readability’ to it. With a lot of underlying points throughout, it would probably warrant a few more reads before a reader has a better understanding of the philosophical and psychological arguments Orwell is making. Not only that, but with a rather unconventional ending, a few re-reads would help with a lot of things.

Rating: 4/5

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Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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This is one of those books which I stayed up late to finish. Unfortunately, I stayed up so I could finish it and get on to other books, as sadly, this book did not grip me at all.

I think with this series it had an interesting premise, with a loose psychological background. However, I feel that the way in which it was written wasn’t very enticing for me as a reader…

But don’t get me wrong, this book answered a couple of unanswered questions from the last two books. It was near the end though that I started to become intrigued, but I don’t think it was out of curiosity.

There’s also the fact that this book deals with dual narrative (one chapter Tris, the next is Four and so on). But I really struggled with this concept. After becoming used to Tris’ narrative from the last two books, I was hoping this would continue. But, in this book, I found the dual narrative confusing. I was often reading Four’s narrative and it took me a couple of hints to realise I was reading from his perspective. I think it was only at the end that I finally got used to it – which is a shame.

Overall, I’d say that it was one of those series where I had to read on because I had read the others, but other than that there was nothing else “gripping” about it. The other disappointment is that the story was great, but it wasn’t enough to intrigue me – a real shame.

Have you read Allegiant? Let me know what you thought (NO SPOILERS) in the comments below!

Liam

Thoughts on the Catching Fire Movie

OK, so my attention wasn’t fully on the film itself. Once again, the movie is true to the book. Sadly, this means that I share my same views on the second film as I do on the second book – basically a developed copy of the first book.

In other news, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s acting is great in this movie so it is a shame that his death was announced recently.

However, I loved the Mockingjay book, so if it is as true to the book as the others, then I guess I will thoroughly enjoy the two films.

Liam

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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I’ve finished it! For those who don’t know, this is the second book in the Divergent trilogy, and I rather enjoyed it!

As I said in my Divergent review, I found that the book was true to the book, but a bit slow at the start. Thankfully, Insurgent was full of action and surprises, and explored an interesting route within the dystopian world.

Also – NO SPOILERS – but there were moments when reading that I dropped the book in shock. This book has its moments!

In the end, the book paves the way for a rather exciting conclusion, in the final book, Allegiant – which I’ve already started to read!

Liam