Classic, Swashbuckling Tales...
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Set amid the events of The French Revolution, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a swashbuckling tale full of adventure, romance, and intrigue. England's daring hero, named for a "humble English wayside flower" (page 40) rebels against the Reign of Terror in France, saving countless people from the guillotine. But the French agent Chauvelin is determined to reveal The Scarlet Pimpernel's true identity and see him perish at the fate he has saved so many others from.
This novel was such good fun! I thought it was remarkable how the Scarlet Pimpernel and his league put themselves in danger by choice, to save innocent lives, when they could have simply let it be. These are really characters to root for. And it was so humorous sometimes, the things they did to evade the Frenchman.
It is fairly obvious who the hero of the novel is, although his identity isn't revealed until later on in the book. I won't spoil it, still. Marguerite, the narrator of most of the events, was a (mostly)passive but likeable and sympathetic main character. All in all, I very much enjoyed the story and the characters within it.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tarzan. Everyone knows the tale of the man-ape. The orphan child who was adopted by animals. But most people are not familiar with more than what Disney tells us--with how the story originated with Edgar Rice Burroughs. In this adventurous tale, we learn how Tarzan came to be raised by apes, learn English, and become acquainted with the lovely Jane Porter.
Wow. I know it was to be expected, but this is a far cry from the story Disney told, and I couldn't be happier about that. This was an exciting story. And however much the events seemed unrealistic, unbelievable...I got so caught up in the story and found it so easy to suspend my disbelief. I'll applaud Burroughs for that, and for coming up with such a fun, original tale.
One more note: Most people hate cliffhangers. I absolutely love them. I love the anticipation(and even slight frustration) they can make you feel.
But that was a devious, DEVIOUS ending.
(Oh, another note: 23 SEQUELS. *dies*)
The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Like the famous Scarlet Pimpernel and Tarzan of the Apes, The Mark of Zorro has inspired countless films and spin-offs. In Old California, a corrupt government oppresses the common people. But not if their masked defender, Zorro, has anything to do about it.
Meal mush and goat's milk! That's it, I'm off to watch the movie. I adored this. Zorro was a champion, always brilliant(and maybe almost too perfect) but so easy to root for. This was a lively, adventurious, surprisingly romantic tale, and overall, very simplistic in its telling. I'd highly recommend this one in any case, but especially if you're trying to get into the classics. This would be a great start!
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What do you think? Have you read any of these? (If you liked one, you'd probably like the others.) Are there any other classic adventure stories you'd like to recommend?