06 July, 2010

Book Review: Beyond the Chocolate War

*possible minor spoilers from previous novel*
Title: Beyond the Chocolate War
Author: Robert Cormier
Genre: Realism
Page Count: 278
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover Rating: 0 out of 5. I hate this cover. It's old, and I think the illustration is not very good. It doesn't capture the essence of the book! The one above isn't the one on the copy I have, but it's similar.

Inside flap:

The school year is drawing to a close. For the students, for Brother Leon, the new headmaster, for the members of the secret organization called the Vigils, the chocolate sale is only a memory. But for Jerry Renault, brutally beaten because he defied the Vigils, and for all the others drawn into the whirlpool of cruelty, intrigue, and deceit, the violence and humiliation of those past events are still a living presence.
   Only Archie Costello, who runs the Vigils, seems unchanged. Remote, cool, devious, Archie continues his effortless manipulation of others' lives. But Obie, once Archie's right-hand man, has started to go his own way. Seeking to maneuver the invulnerable Archie into a position of weakness, Obie is driven to a desperate act of vengeance and is forced to confront--and to recognize--the unmasked face of evil.

I can neither label this as good or bad. Is Cormier a good writer and is the writing quality good? Yes. Is it a good book in the sense that I was attached to the page? Yes. Is it a good book for portraying the awful, cruel, and awful things humanity does to each other? Yes. Does is realistically and convincingly show the Trinity school's atmosphere? Yes.

This book is disturbing. Disturbing and dark. Suicide, attempted murder, manipulation, power games, control, bullying, attempted rape, all sorts of violence and psychological damage. The Chocolate War had a lot of this stuff, but I think Cormier put in more of the bad side of people in the sequel.

*WARNING. As mentioned above, this book gets violent*

Do I recommend this book? Yes. But it's not something I'd reread.

-----The Golden Eagle


Elliot Grace said...

...I've read everything Cormier managed to put on a shelf:)

"Fade" is my favorite.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never read Fade, but I've heard of it.