Rating: 0

Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe is a knights and chivalry type of book with feuding kingdoms, damsels in distress, and jousts to decide who wins these kingdoms and damsels. Ivanhoe is the son of a landowner who has been disowned by his father because he went off to become a knight of the king and goes on a pilgrimage. As is clear from the title, he comes back - he goes around in disguise becoming famous and doing good deeds. That's most of what happens in the book.

The two vehicles for moving the plot along are Ivanhoe's father and sister trying to keep the father's land together and a rich Jewish money lender and his daughter who try to keep from being persecuted or killed. Ivanhoe helps them both, partially because of the great beauty of the two women, and partially out of filial duty.

The form of evil in the book is the noblemen who want to take over the kingdom while the king and his knights are away on the pilgrimage that Ivanhoe has just returned from, and a corrupt church which is supporting these plans and trying to get as much money and power as possible.

There was a lot to work with in this books, particularly with the themes of filial duty, duty to one's religion or people, and the evils of persecuting other races and religions, all which appear throughout the book. I wasn't really touched by the book, though. There wasn't much focus on character development, which I tend to need in a book to get really involved. Though I think Scott was trying to make the point that not all Jews are evil people, I sometimes felt overwhelmed with anti-semitic sentiments all the same. And I don't personally have a lot of interest in sword fights and chivalry, so I didn't enjoy those portions of the book to much.

Overall, I give this book a '0' for mediocre writing, an active plot, some interesting themes, but some bad character development and an unsatisfying ending.


Return to Amanda's Review Page

All contents of this site copyright, contact amh@io.com with any questions or comments.