Reviews

Matrix, by Lauren Groff

soahfi's review against another edition

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challenging emotional hopeful inspiring mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

angeldevil666's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

ceri_reads_books's review against another edition

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emotional reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

m_lof's review against another edition

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reflective

4.75

lavenderdafrog1's review against another edition

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adventurous reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

j_m_alexander's review against another edition

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emotional informative inspiring reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

 "She rides out of the forest alone. Seventeen years old, in the cold March drizzle, Marie who comes from France."

Yes, this is a book about a nun during the late-twelfth and early-thirteenth centuries; it is a story that is largely insular, "an island of women", but it is a dramatic and powerful tale told in a masterful way. The pages are filled with seething rage, constant longing, and communal love. This is a fascinating and gripping read - yes, about a nunnery.

“She could give up the burn of singular love inside her and turn into a larger love, she could build around the other women an abbey of the spirit to protect them from cold and wet... she would build an invisible abbey made out of her own self.”

I am tempted to say this is the story of one woman, Marie, and what the will of an individual can accomplish in a world not intended to respect or even allow such a force coming from a woman, but this would not be quite right, because as much as Matrix is about this character, this leader, it is equally about community and the strength of a unified sisterhood. Marie is a woman of singular strength, but a woman born out of and wielding the knowledge that the power of women together is something wholly else.

“Marie sees again the Ladies’ Army pouring down a hillside in the Byzantine Empire, riding astride unwomanly, shouting, swords drawn, their hair loosed and flying behind them, all in the white and red tunics, ululating, fearsome”

Just a tremendous novel, not quite like anything else I have read. If I am not mistaken, there is no individual male that ever has an active role in the book, at least there is no dialogue or direct interaction between a man and Marie spelled out on the page. There are some groupings of men mentioned that influence the action, and there is at least one singular man that had an impact on Marie, but no direct interaction - it is subtle and artfully done. Marie was subverting the patriarchal powers that be and that meant knowing when to avoid and when to strike in order to protect her Abbey and her own power therein.

“Women act counter to the laws of submission when they remove themselves from availability.”

Groff's writing is beautiful and brutal, she does not spare the reader the graphic nature of life and death. Many a horrid end is detailed, and so too are lustful or violent scenes, but rarely does it feel dwelled upon - descriptions can be seemingly brief and vivid. The story is that of a life well told and again Groff manages dichotomy, as her story seems long, but the book is not - she manages to say much in what is a fairly slight novel.

“Foolish creature, old Marie would say to that child. Open your hands and let your life go. It has never been yours to do with what you will.” 

beatriks's review against another edition

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challenging informative inspiring reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

Intriguing book. I’m a fan of Lauren Groff ever since the Monsters of Templeton. It is fascinating that she takes on different genres and makes a beautiful book of it every time. 

Strong female character, beautiful writing (I’ve highlighted so many sentences) and a creative plot.

What’s up next, Lauren?

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

ssjames's review against another edition

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slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

2.0

alexgalloway26's review against another edition

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4.0

4 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I never thought I would be moved by a book about nuns. The book takes place in France from 1158- the early 1200s. Queen Eleanor has sent the main character, Marie, to be charge of an abbey. What grows is an enriching story of survival and just life. I do like how Lauren Groff tied in climate crisis and political strife into the narrative as well. It took a while to get used to the narrative voice and how the story was being told. What a great and expansive character study of these women and the author does an amazing job with making you care for these characters. Will certainly be picking up more of this author’s books.

rschulze2's review against another edition

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challenging emotional hopeful mysterious reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0