Thank you so much for all your kind words in connection with my one year blogiversary! I have loved sharing reviews and my nerdy love of books with you all. And I look forward to many more years of book blogging!
Today I am finally back with a review of two more books in War and Peace. I am officially over half way through this masterpiece! Woohoo!
I finished book 8 really quickly. It was my first experience in this book where I really couldn’t put it down because of the action and character development. I was hooked!
The start of book 9 was a lot harder for me. We begin with a lot of military descriptions and I had a hard time getting as excited about that. But the end of book 9 takes us back to the lives of several of the main characters, which I really enjoyed.
Books 8 & 9 of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy cover a lot of time and continues to introduce more characters. In book 8, Natasha is seduced by the rake Anatole Kuragin who makes her think they will elope but really wants to ruin her reputation. She becomes so enraptured by him that she believes herself in love and foolishly agrees to these plans. Luckily, Sonya discovers their plans and Natasha does not run away with Anatole. But her reputation is tarnished and she breaks her engagement with Prince Andrew, who is unable to completely forgive her. Book 9 starts with a detailed description of life on the war front including a glimpse of Napoleon and descriptions of the Emperor Alexander’s plans for his army. We also get a look at Nicholas Rostov who has matured and is now an officer. Later in the book, we learn of Natasha’s serious illness and her search for God. At the end of the book, all of Moscow is thrust into the patriot spirit as they prepare for the war against Napoleon that is coming ever closer to their doors.
Again, book 8 was an exciting and quick read for me. I was shocked by Natasha’s behavior and how easily she was convinced that she loved Anatole. It broke my heart to see him use her so ill and then to see her break Prince Andrew’s heart in turn. I am still hoping they come back together in a later book.
Nicholas Rostov was an intriguing character when we saw him in book 9. His bravery on the battle field but hesitation in killing the enemy complicated his character. He is no longer the immature, overly-patriotic boy of earlier books. As he gains experience, he begins to learn that war and patriotism are not so easily understood or desirable. I also love that he truly loves Sonya and wants to marry for love.
Natasha drove me crazy in book 8 because of how naive and easily besotted she became. But I actually found myself drawn to her changing character in book 9. She begins that book dreadfully ill but is able to find healing–both physically and mentally–through God. I hope we continue to see her progress and change in future books.
The end of book 9 felt cyclical of the very first part of the book when all the young men were going to war the first time. Here we have Petya and his friends overwhelmed by the Emperor and their desires to serve in the army. Their naivety and patriotism reminds me of Nicholas and Boris at the start of the novel. They lack experience and judgment of the true natures of war. But I am intrigued by how their experiences will change them.
Themes I am enjoying/pondering:
- How do religion and God heal where medicine cannot? I have several ideas in answer to this question that I think are poignant and interesting.
- What is the purpose of war? Nicholas seems to be pondering this after the battle he is awarded at. Why do people go to war?
I continue to be amazed by the grandeur of this novel. So much time has past and we still meet new characters. Truly, this is an amazing feat.
I feel really motivated to continue reading as I have cleared the half way point and am slowly moving towards the end!