Second Quarter (pg 124 – 196)
The plot begins to move along at a steady, fast pace during the second quarter of Assassin’s Creed. Although the first quarter seemed to move quite fast, it was the mostly due to the sudden rush of background information and change of tone when Ezio’s family is executed. This was used by the author as a sort of “ramping up” in order to get the plot moving. As previously discussed, I believe this is because the major events of the story have already been set, by the first Assassin’s Creed videogame.
One notable thing about this quarter was the obvious increase of gory killing scenes. Sometimes I feel as if describing this in avid detail was quite unnecessary. Although one may argue that it is part of the experience Assassin’s Creed fans are looking for, some might just want to read the book for the story. Some concepts in the novel admittedly force it to be rated mature, but I honestly don’t think the author needs to write something like “he slashed it round and cut halfway through the guard’s neck before he could recover” or “Ezio slammed the heavy falchion down on the man’s skull and split it in two” just because he can.
Also, a darker side of Ezio is exposed during this quarter when he brutally kills Francesco and Vieri de Pazzi, mercilessly stabbing them multiple times and treating their corpses with disrespect. He later feels remorse and arranges proper burials with masses for them, but I thought the sudden change in character in the heat of battle shows the hate and rage buried within him. This is a very interesting bit of character development I noted while reading.
The story is proving to be quite interesting thus far and I am excited to keep reading!
After reading the first quarter of Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key, I am absorbed in two different stories within one novel. In every other chapter the book changes perspectives. It switches between a Jewish family’s journey through the roundup in 1942 during Velodrome d’Hiver, and a modern American woman’s association with the Vel’d’Hiv when she is assigned to research the event for the magazine she works for because the sixteenth anniversary is coming up. The consistent change of viewpoint the story is being told from was hard to follow at the very beginning of the book, but as the stories go on, they become more comprehendable. Besides the researched topic being the time the family is living through, I am not yet quite sure how the different stories relate to each other and look forward to reading and learning more and discovering this.
So far, the development of the two stories has been contradicting. The evolution of the characters in the story from 1942 is relatively weak. They are seemingly thrown into the novel and it is left up to the reader to interrpret their relations and little to no background is given on them. Despite this approach Rosnay took when telling this story, the characters in the modern story are well introduced and detailed recaps of their background are given. Another way the stories within the novel differ, is the narration. The part told from 1942 is spoken in third person but mainly focuses on the young ten-year-old girl’s thoughts and actions. However, the journalist’s story 60 years later is told from her point of view, and she is forty five. The young girl’s denial and optomism throughout the negativity portrays her lack of understanding of the events taking place. After her research, the journalist can see the harsh ways these families were treated and validates all sadness the people who were involved face.
Despite the obvious difference in their ages, there is a connection between the two stories, through both the young girl and the journalist’s confusion with the larger event their focusing on, the Vel’d’Hiv. Except for brief conversations where she’s recognized the pain and sadness her parents have talked with, the girl is confused and does not understand what is going on. Despite the girl’s uncertainty, it does not affect the reader’s understanding of the events too much due to the third person the story is told from. This confusion of the event is connected to the other story as well, because when first given the assignment, the journalist did not even know of the Vel’d’Hiv. The journalist interviews a Parisian woman who talks about her confusion of the situation as a bystander who saw all these frightened Jewish families leaving in buses with policemen as well. Rosnay has discussed in interviews, that part of her inspiration of writing the book is to educate more people on this historical event because she thinks Vel’d’Hiv is often overlooked. I believe the concept of this confusion in both stories was purposely included by Rosnay to help the introduction to foreshadow later events, and to show the lack of knowledge of this situtation from multiple different perspectives.
There has been mention of the young girl, who’s name is Sarah, and a key she kept through the removal from her house, which can unlock the basement where her brother is hiding from the policemen. I look forward to learning the relevance this specific key has to do with the story, hense the relevance it has to the entire novel because of the title. Up to now, the story has been nothing less than captivating with the balance of the two stories. I look forward to learning how, seemingly seperate at the moment, these stories connect to help the larger plot in Sarah’s Key.
After reading the first quarter of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I am thoroughly intrigued! Though not much has happened in the plot thus far, Angelou’s writing style both captures the interest of the reader, but is yet very poetic. The majority of these first seventy pages has been oriented towards characterization and setting descriptions; this is really valuable to setting the stage for the book especially because, like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, Maya is young at the time of the novel. The accurate and specific descriptions give much life to the story, which is necessary to prove the authenticity of her memories.
Since the novel began, only a few minor plot events have taken place. The majority of the first quarter is describing the life of her and her brother, Bailey, living with their grandmother and uncle in Stamps, Arkansas after their parents divorce. Maya describes the way that she and her family interacted with the community, especially the “powhitetrash,” and also discusses her self-image at the time; this is shocking to the reader considering how young she was. I’m interested to see how her self-esteem changes as the novel goes on, because at the moment it is very low. She even describes how ugly she thinks she is and goes on to say that she though she was “really white and a cruel fairy stepmother, who was understandably jealous of my beauty, had turned me into a too-big Negro girl, with nappy black hair, broad feet and a space between her teeth that would hold a number-two pencil” (4-5). It is descriptions like this that make the majority of the characters very relatable and realistic.
Though the primary focus of this section of the novel has been characterization, a couple important plot events occurred, including Maya’s father coming to take her and Bailey to live with their mother in St. Louis. Although it is wonderful that the children got to be with their father and are now living with their mother, this transition made me sad to read. Not only were they moved from California to Stamps during the time of their parent’s divorce, but now they are being uprooted again to go live with a family that they thought abandoned them; Maya describes in regards to her mother that she understood “why she had sent me away. She was too beautiful to have children” (59). However harsh their relationships were with Momma and Uncle Willy, the kids loved them and it made me upset to have to watch that goodbye. They had to pack up their lives and go live with a stranger they call Mother Dear.
Because of the way the book seems to be headed, I think both children will develop strong and loving relationships with their new family and will benefit from being in St. Louis. I am very excited to see what Angelou has left to say! Her writing is absolutely captivating and I can’t wait to read more.
First Quarter (pg 1 – 123)
The first quarter of Assassin’s Creed – Renaissance moved along at a very fast pace, quickly escalating from the main character Ezio’s carefree everyday life, albeit filled with fighting, to the capture and execution of half of his family. The abrupt inclusion of major conflict was shocking but exhilarating, immediately pulling me into the story. Although there is a huge lack of background information in the beginning, the book fills the reader in later on.
Upon reading, I found the novel is clearly meant for mature audiences as it frequently depicts gory scenes of death, as well as having numerous sexual references. Also, the author’s use of vocabulary is quite extensive. However, throughout the story, I occasionally had points of disagreement Bowden’s style. This was mostly in sentence size, as they sometimes felt too long and chunky. Furthermore, sometimes the author would summarize a sequence of events in an extremely brief manner. Although these shortened descriptions were of admittedly trivial scenes, personally, it gave me a sense that the author was rushed as if he needed to fit the whole story into a book of a certain size. However upon thinking this makes complete sense as this book was based on the video game: Assassin’s Creed.
I have always thought of Assassin’s Creed only as a simple fighting video game, filled with the meaningless slaughter of “bad guys” with little background information whatsoever. As someone who has never actually played the game and has only seen a few ads and clips of gameplay, this was the assumption I made. However by making the story behind the game into a book, Bowden is allowing readers like me to connect with Ezio and the reasoning behind the way he has chosen to live.
The story thus far has already been filled to the brim with action, and the foreshadowing of a revolution is compelling me to read the remainder of the novel. In fact, I might go and do just that right now. 🙂
After reading the first quarter of this novel, I feel both disappointed yet exhilarated. While the first four chapter were filled with action, excitement, and suspense, I felt as if the rest of the first part of the novel did not fill me with the same strong feelings. I found myself wanting the book to travel at a faster pace, yet I understand the author’s need to develop these characters due to the length of the series. Additionally, I enjoy the perspective in which this novel was written because the reader is forced to worry about the main character battling both a life-threatening illness and an incredibly difficult case at the same time. I enjoy how this book is written in a women’s perspective because when a person generally thinks of FBI, an image of a strong man pops into their head. This novel helps to battle these gender stereotypes.
The characters in this novel seem very relatable due to how two of the main characters have gone through divorces which is a reality for a lot of families today. Although I cannot relate to the novel in this sense, I relate to both of Raleigh’s sons, Jason and Teddy, because I am an athletic powerhouse like Jason and intelligent like Teddy. Also, the plot of this novel is very believable because in this day in age, crimes such as the ones presented in the novel do occur. The ways in which the case is being solved can also relate to modern day crime solving methods because the technology and techniques the crime solvers are using are relevant. The main plot line is quite slow at this point in the novel, yet a new spark of interest was recently added at the tail end of this section of the novel which describes a new newlywed couple who may be the killer’s next target. The plot is suspenseful because the reader does not know what will happen to this new couple and how Lindsay Boxer, the main character, will deal with her life-threatening illness.
The only change I would make in this novel so far is that I would take out the underlying issue with Lindsay’s new partner at work because it seems a little unnecessary. While older readers might enjoy a little spark between criminal case partners, I find this distracting to the overall plot of the novel. I understand that it may need to develop further to become relevant to the plot or if this “crush” helps Lindsay feel more empathetic to the reader yet at this point in the story, I could do without it. So far, the novel needs only small tweaks, yet I hope that the pace picks up significantly heading into the second quarter of the novel.