Tuesday, May 9, 2017

REVIEW || Alex & Eliza

Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.
1777. Albany, New York.
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.
Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history


There's this thing I'm going to start doing before I review books. It's called "Grain of Salt" obviously, and basically what this little section will contain is everything you need to know about me before you read my review of this book. Everyone's reviews are basically just opinions and nobody is completely neutral. This review is my opinion, it's not fact. Just because I hate something doesn't mean YOU will. We're all different people approaching stories from different angles. 

Here's how I approached this story: I absolutely loved the broadway musical Hamilton. I love the HBO John Adams series, I love the tv show Turn, I'm a pretty big fan of historically set dramas, and I enjoy deep stories with "slow" moments describing scenery and backgrounds and giving me history. I don't mind drudging through slow moments. Sometimes they're important. I'm just a really big fan of detail and depth. And I am the biggest fan of love stories. I almost can't read a book unless it has a love story.

SO KEEP ALL OF THE "GRAIN OF SALT" SHIT IN MIND WHEN I TELL YOU THIS REVIEW IS GIVING ME A LOT OF FRUSTRATION BECAUSE IT'S NOTHING OF WHAT I WANTED. To be clear, what I wanted was more quality Alex and Eliza stories. What I got was a cliche romance about two people whose names are Alex and Eliza, and they vaguely resemble historical figures.

This is a historical romance aboUT ALEXANDER HAMILTON AND ELIZA SCHUYLER DO YOU KNOW HOW FREAKIN EXCITED I WAS FOR THIS BOOK??? THIS BOOK REPRESENTS EVERYTHING I LOVE: HISTORY! ROMANCE! AND HAMILTON! When I read that synopsis I fell instantly in love. Just short of having pirates, this book is everything I love. I realize I've basically restated the same thing for three sentences in a row, but I am just really in love with the entire concept of this book okay?

But I'm also like really overwhelmed. I haven't written a review in nearly a year, so I'm a little rusty. Also I have a LOT of feelings about this book. It's moments like this where I wish I was a BookTuber so I could just scream my emotions with various facial expressions instead of having to articulate myself *sigh* the struggle.

I'm overwhelmed because I had high expectations for this book and was unfortunately disappointed. This book takes a really unimaginative, basic, rosy view on a complicated relationship during a nasty time in history. The author stripped these rich historical characters of their depth and left them as paper dolls, and it makes me very sad.

I always was under the impression that Hamilton was a hot headed, brilliant, womanizer, who clawed his way up in the world. He was as much of a force to be reckoned with as the hurricane that destroyed his home island in his youth. In this book, however, he's only interested in getting Eliza. There's mention of his past as a flirt, but as a reader I never got to actually see it. Historical Hamilton is a go getter, and in the book he very rarely went and got.

Big historical names like Lafayette, and Laurens, and John Andre, are all characters in this book that play impactive roles. However, the author doesn't develop them at all. The characters come into the picture, and then they leave and they're forgotten. As a reader, I wasn't given enough time with these characters to care about them later on when their story peaked.

Eliza, Peggy, and Angelica are all individually interesting historical characters. In the book though, they're basically interchangeable replicas of each other. All three of them are great beauties with sharp tongues, which wouldn't really be an issue except the author kept pointing these two traits out to the readers throughout the entire story. Oh and it must be noted, multiple times, that they're all great beauties but Eliza is the best without KNOWING she's the best.

And it frustrates me even more because the author info dumps a lot of the Schuyler family history. I know she did her research. She gave it all to me in the book! But she didn't infuse it into the characters. She just drops a history lesson, and then doesn't apply that history to the characters. It's like there's two separate platforms in the book: All the historical research, and then a love story involving historical names only.

Without my attachment to the historical background, and just looking at this story from a romance point of view, this is a sweet little tale of love during the revolutionary war. It's cute, and entertaining, but it still short changes its character development and info dumps. It's a solid 3 out of 5 star book.

But I am very much hung up on the historical inaccuracies so I'm giving it 2/5 stars.

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