Classic Book Review: The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The Last of the Mohicans (The Leatherstocking Tales #2)
by James Fenimore Cooper

3 out of 5 stars


When the two Munro sisters, Cora and Alice, are captured by the evil Huron Magua, Natty Bumpo and his Mohican friends, Uncas and Chingachgook, must track them down and free them.

For the most part, I liked the writing style which reflects the time period very well. The writing has a very ornate style, and the dialogue is especially antiquated at times. I love the richness of the language, but wish it was a little more clear sometimes.

The characters are well-written, but I didn’t care about them very much. They are not very complex characters. There is so much time spent on the action of the plot, that we barely have any restful moments to really get to know our characters or develop any emotions for them. I would have liked to see more intimate details of their friendships and family relationships. There are a few very powerful scenes where we do get glimpses of their emotional ties, but it wasn’t enough to make me love the characters or be invested in their relationships.

The plot moves quickly with lots of details that add to the suspense of each moment. The plot does get repetitive though. They are captured, and then escape, and they get recaptured and are rescued, only to be recaptured again. Each time is different though, with a lot of different elements and terrain and secondary characters. There are some good plot points with deceptive disguises, and wood lore, and native legends. It kept my interest.

I knew there would be a lot of violence in this book, but wow. There was a lot of senseless and horrible violence in this book. And not just the menfolk fighting and scalping and shooting each other. The poor women and children that suffered and died too. Ugh. Really sad.

I found the intricacies of the political relationships of different native tribes to be very confusing, and not at all clearly explained. This is not helped by the fact that everyone and everything is called by at least two or three different names. Sometimes Magua’s tribe are called Hurons, sometimes Mingoes. Another tribe are called sometimes the Delawares and sometimes Lenape. Mohicans are also a part of the larger Delaware tribe, so it’s hard to know which Delaware character is being referred to when. It wasn’t until the end of the book that I finally understood that “Yengeese” means English. Ugh. If this was just clearly explained, maybe it would make more sense.

Every character has several different nicknames, proper names, names in French, Native American nicknames, and on and on. Nathaniel Bumpo is mostly referred to simply as “the scout”, but he is also called “La Longue Carabine” and Hawk-Eye. Every character is so hard to keep track of, because you have to memorize their three different names.

Overall, it was an entertaining read, but I didn’t love it. It was fine.

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