Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, by Carol Wallace
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, by Carol Wallace, and based on the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 hearts ♥♥♥♥♥
As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world―both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew’s great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today’s audience.
Coming to theaters in August 2016 as Ben-Hur, a major motion picture from MGM and Paramount studios, the story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path.
Description from Amazon.com
I've known about a 2016 movie adaptation of "Ben-Hur" for some time, and have felt pretty excited to see how it will be. Thus, I was eager to read this novel and find out how (if the movie directors decide to stick to the book) what it would be like. Now, I've never read the original novel, and I've only seen the 1959 film with Charlton Heston once, but if the 2016 movie is anything like this newest book version of "Ben-Hur", it's going to be good!
At first, at receiving this book, I was a bit daunted at the amount of pages it contained (425 total)- perhaps because I hadn't looked beforehand and had been expecting a thin little movie adaptation. Turns out, that's not exactly the case- it's not even a movie adaptation- but I don't think it could have been done so well any other way.
While the book is slightly longer than some books, it didn't loose my interest for a moment. The climatic chariot race scene, which, in certain circumstances, could have turned out long, drawn-out, and even perhaps a little boring, was anything but- it was crafted in such a way that my eyes flew across the page in anticipation. And while some may not like the fact that the story switches between multiple character's points of views (more than five), it was that fact that intrigued me and made it so much more interesting. This is, I think, what made and didn't break the chariot scene I previously mentioned. A lot, I think, rode on that scene, and it was done beautifully.
The characters themselves, even the not-so-nice ones, were done beautifully, as well. I fell in love with all (or, mostly all) of them from the beginning. I had compassion for Judah, and though he isn't by any means a saint, that makes him more of a believable character. The other characters in the book were wonderful as well, making me wonder why some had never been in the 1959 movie version (and hoping they would be in this next one!).
One other plus for this movie is how they did portrayed Christ- He wasn't in it much, but I liked the way the incorporated Him into the story. I'm not really fond of Biblical-time-period books or movies that try to have Jesus in their story, but this one is an exception.
In anticipation for the movie, I also enjoyed looking through the full-color photos from the upcoming film that were at the center of the book.
One of the only downfalls with this book was the ending. It was good, but not quite what I was expecting.
Still, after reading such a great novel, I look forward to seeing the movie---only, I must confess, though I'm not normally a big book purist, I am for this one!
Note: I got this book free from Tyndale in exchange for doing a review. All opinions are my own.