Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sovay by Celia Rees

The year is 1794 and it seems the world is yearning for revolution, even the British. For Sovay Middleton, life as the daughter of a kind, wise landlord is not very adventurous at all. When her father and brother’s lives are threatened by the scent of uprising against the King, Sovay is suddenly thrown into a thrilling ride of a lifetime. From posing as a highwayman, dodging a spymaster’s evil and intricate schemes, to facing the sideways traps of the French Revolution, Sovay will do whatever it takes to find her father and bring justice to light.  From the author of Witch Child and Pirates! comes the epic story of one heroine’s quest for freedom and love amidst a fierce battle between revolution and power.
Sovay is not just a tale of a highway robbery nor a daring story of villainous spies, but a tale more intricate than any reader would suspect. Many reviews of Sovay include disappointment. While the plot is very long and the characters many, Sovay is one of the best reads I’ve read this year. It is not only a heroic story of how justice is sought, but it also opened up a door to history, the history of both our own country and of the civil unrest that both England and France experienced as they too struggled for a People’s Independence. This book has robbers, spymasters, Patriots, and suave Frenchmen all combined in a daring race for freedom. The book jacket has everyone fooled into thinking it is just about a girl who “robbed for love”, when in fact this synopsis does not in any way do it justice. Sovay is a much grander story than that and its plot and scenery changes three times during the course of Sovay’s tale. 

The first part is indeed about her escapades and highway robberies; the second takes places in London, where the evil spymaster Sir Dysart lurks in every alley. London is also where we meet some of the best characters and where we leave some of them behind. The third and final chapter in this story takes places in the heart of the Revolution–Paris, France. The characters are all very detailed in their own way and even though there are quite a few of them to remember, each one is unique in their own way.
Besides all the adventures and historical aspects, we have the romantic side. Some reviewers and readers were not satisfied with Sovay’s final decision. I, on the other hand, was glad the “romantic” part turned out the way it did–very surprising; I like to be kept guessing. Overall, I thought it was an excellent story. Perhaps a bit too much going on in the story all at once sometimes, but a historical masterpiece for young adults nonetheless. I was very sad when, at the end, everyone parted ways and the adventure was over. I do still wonder what happened to a few character that were never mentioned in the epilogue.... then again, you might could already guess.
Recommendation: I really enjoyed the historical detail throughout the novel. It was very surprising to me that Rees mentioned some of the things that were main points in the story. I'm very glad she did though; I believe Rees is speaking to her readers through many of the characters in Sovay. Keep her eyes peeled for great speeches from Gabriel, the Middleton's estate manager's son, and Virgil Bennett, "the American". I highly recommend reading Sovay for not only the exciting historical adventure, but for understanding why people fought for Independence and Freedom. I think many teens are not aware at how important history is. I hope that by reading Sovay, it will bring to life a history that shouldn't be left in the past. Ages 14+.

➔For more info on the characters and things mentioned in this book, please visit its Shelfari page.

This Book is For: Young Adults who enjoy historical fiction or fans of Celia Rees
This Book is Not For: Those who get easily scared by 400 pages or those you don't like history (but you should!)

Content: Some graphic violence (PG) | Cover: I don't like faces on covers!

The Last Straw: A "speech" by Gabriel to Sovay about liberty:
"I want to travel about the country. Spread the message of liberty... All I know is, I cannot go on as before, watching from the side, blocking my ears and eyes, stopping the channels to my heart at what is going on around me, at what is happening to my fellow man."

|Pages: 404|Published: 2008|Publisher:Bloomsbury|Price: Pbk. $9.99|
|Genre: Historical fiction, 1700s/18th Century, Adventure|
|Age Group: YA, age 14; themes may not be understood by younger teens|
|Enjoyed It: 5/5|Content Rating: 4/5|Cover: 3/5|
|Overall: 5/5|


1 comment:

Katie said...

This sounds really interesting, and the cover is awesome. I love historical fiction, and the longer the better! :)

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