I was motivated to re-read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens after selecting the book Artful by Peter David from the Kindle First program back in June. I finally got around to the re-read and I enjoyed it as much as the last two times (once as a child around age eight and again in college around age sixteen). I tried writing a review for Oliver Twist but eventually gave up. What can be said that hasn't already been said? Reviewing a classic is tough business! My take on it was not intellectual in the least and since it is a social commentary... well, my review ended up sounding foolish.
I love Oliver Twist because of the villains. There, I said it. I am evil. I can become intrigued by villains who are mistreating a nine year old who has the mental capacity of a six year old. This is not to say that when the villains get their comeuppance that I wasn't just as captivated. Even more so, it's the best part of the tale.
I initially gave the read four stars but then bumped it down to three and a half. The ending doesn't sit well with me. Nature vs nurture. That sort of thing just bothers. The twist about his mother's sister, barf. Also, making Fagin out to be a devil and then referring to him as the Jew. How Dickens didn't realise this would be insulting to so many people... a let down. My mother told me (when I read it as a child) that by the end he had stopped that foolishness. So, in a way, it's good to see that people do overcome their ignorance.
I selected Artful from the Kindle First program because at the time I was thinking... hell yeah, a story about Dodger! If anything, Oliver Twist is acted upon by all the other characters in the story and so everyone else seemed three times more interesting. Dodger was no exception. When I read what the book was about I thought, 'oh, a twist with vamps. OK!' Click and download. I hadn't even thought through what I was doing. This is some type of fan fiction. I don't like fan fiction. I came to this realisation after completing the first chapter. Head, meet desk.
I didn't even read enough to find out if Dodger was turned into something not worth reading. Obviously, his character is amazing in Oliver Twist because of the mysterious quality. Whether or not that quality remains intact in this book, I do not know. I stopped reading around 13% (chapter four).
The introduction had me in agreement, I was still on board. When the vampyre business showed up, I was sceptical but still willing to go along. When I got to the first chapter is when I became somewhat angry. The writing was -HORRIBLE-. I had figured that there was some type of gatekeeper with the Kindle First program. Nope. I'd just been lucky before. This book needs serious work! It seemed like the author tried to copy Dickens style and failed miserably at it. I tried, but by chapter four I had had enough.
Perhaps it was a mistake to re-read Oliver Twist before starting this? I think I'll try again sometime next year just to make sure. :P