Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Among Malay Pirates by G. A. Henty

I know I said I wanted to challenge myself by reading all of G. A. Henty's books, but I promptly forgot about it. Or rather, I had so many other books I wanted to read and I'm not good at e-books. All excuses I know, but well, I've finally finished another book(:

I started reading Among Malay Pirates for two reasons - the word Malay (which means it might be close to Singapore) and the fact that it began with an A. But unlike the other Henty Books I've read, this isn't a novel but a collection of 3/4 stories set in Asia.

The first story is the only one that's set around Malaysia/Indonesia. And, I'm very glad to see that Singapore gets a brief mention (although I also wish a story was set there). And I found the description of Durians very amusing:

"... and those who could overcome their repugnance to the disgusting odor of the durians found them delicious eating."

Strangely, I've always thought durians smelt nice. Then again, I love durians so the their smell means that a treat is coming.

And of course, rice gets a mention, although it's called "beastly". Again, I don't get it.

The stories themselves? Well, the plots are all pretty much the same. The brave soldier gets captured and then finds a way to escape. I believe there was only one of the stories where the plot differed (It was set on the ocean and about storms).

Personally, I think the stories were too short for the characters to develope fully. After reading this book, I realised that the strength of G.A. Henty would be the world-building and the characters. The plots feel the same (somehow), and although the characters are, to be frank, two-dimensional, they're somehow very endearing. It's a paradox I can't fully explain myself.

I liked the first story the best, and I think I would have liked the book a lot better if it focused on developing this story fully.

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