Here There Be Books (BL)

I love books with great characters who go on adventures and/or solve mysteries re: invading aliens/vampires/etc. I blog about those books at Here There Be Books!

 

This is the BookLikes thingy for HTBB.

The Mark of Zorro (Penguin Classics)

The Mark of Zorro - Johnston McCulley, Robert E. Morsberger, Katherine M. Morsberger -- Originally reviewed at Here There Be Books. --A coworker of mine is pretty obsessed with Zorro, and after a while she interested me enough to try and read one of the books. I'm familiar with some of the movies, and I like sword-fighting dashing young heroes who always have something witty to say, so I figured it was a pretty safe be that I'd like The Mark of Zorro.The Mark of Zorro is the first Zorro book, and it was originally published serially. Serialized stories are almost always action-packed, exciting, and rather wordy-- think Alexandre Dumas or the Sherlock Holmes stories. Every chapter either ends on a note that moves the story forward and wants to keep you reading. In The Mark of Zorro, the chapters tended to end on a "and then something shocking and/or exciting happened!" note, which meant the book moved like lightning. I was not actually expecting to like that formula, though, so imagine how surprised I was when I found myself eagerly reading chapter after chapter like a pigeon who found a stash of seeds.It was so exciting! I'm going to use that word a lot, but that's exactly what The Mark of Zorro is. It's exciting, and romantic, and it hardly has any of the horrible early pulp fiction problems that I hate.It was also rather wordy in some places, like I said. That's because serial novelists got paid by the word (think Dickens), so while some parts are fantastic and energetic, other parts are just too much. I think I skimmed most of them, now that I think back on it. The first page is a real killer in too-much department, but don't let it fool you-- the chapter ends in a really great way.About Zorro/Don Deigo-- was I not supposed to know that they were the same person? There's a big reveal/explanation at the end of the book, but, like...I already knew all the stuff that's being explained! Would people reading it for the first time and with no previous knowledge of Zorro not really have figured it out during the course of the book anyway? Hm. No idea.Anyway, I actually really like Zorro/Diego. Diego I found funny and somewhat campy and he lightened the novel up a lot. Zorro was dashing and exciting and everything I could want in a hero, really.His love interest, Lolita, was fine for the most part, but whenever the two of them got together there were even more exclamation marks than when they were apart, and it got quite distracting. But I loved how Zorro wooed her, and how Diego kept striking out. I didn't expect to like their romance so much, actually, since I tend to despair of any strong women existing in a pulp novel. But Lolita is quite strong, and I liked her.The plot is good, too, with lots of those sword fights I love and lots of vengeance against bad dudes, which I also love. It ends rather abruptly, and in a way that I think meant Mr McCulley wasn't planning on writing any more Zorro novels. It was a bit surprising, that, especially since the Zorro in the movies is always taking such pains to hide his identity.Anyway, I really, really liked The Mark of Zorro! I was pleasantly surprised, and I'm glad I read it. I'm definitely going to read some other Zorro books.

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