Number of Pages: 358
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: September 12, 2006
Originally titled, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party, this novel is the story of an African boy living in the chaos of Revolutionary Boston. Young Octavian is raised by an organization of philosophers who teach him in the fields of music, science, and other Classical works. His beautiful and musically talented mother, who was long ago a princess of some land far away, resides at the Novanglian College of Lucidity as well, and although she isn’t often allowed to play the role of mother, her son loves her with a devoted adoration. All is well until one day Octavian discovers what is actually going on behind the closed doors of the College, and he realizes that everything he has been told might not quite be the truth. Encompassing the topics of slavery, liberty, love, betrayal, and hope, The Pox Party is much more than a simple historical fiction novel.
I love historical fiction, and so when I heard about this book I just knew that I had to read it. However, once I began I realized that it was like no other historical fiction novel I had ever read before. The concept of this book was just so odd to me at first: an African boy living in a college, being treated like both a Prince and an experimental specimen all at the same time. Yet once I progressed further and further into the story it began to grow on me, and by the time I had finished it didn’t seem so strange to me after all, once I knew the historical reasoning behind it.
I really liked how M.T. Anderson altered his writing style to fit that of people who lived back in the 1700s in the Boston area. It added a lot more character to the book, and it made it more realistic as well. The plot had just the right amount of suspense to keep me interested almost the entire way through. The ending was a cliffhanger, but I nevertheless I still felt satisfied that I wasn’t left totally hanging. There were a few parts that were a bit slow, and still others that were sort of confusing, but other than that I have not complaints about this book.
One of my favorite quotes from this novel is:
“I do not know what I regret. I sit with my pen, and cannot find an end to that sentence.”
Overall, this was a great read. There is a sequel to this novel, which I will have to read soon.
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes.