Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Review (Spoiler Free)

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This weeks book is the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, the third in the insanely popular Harry Potter series. It is a bit of a departure from the first two, the wizarding world becoming a bit darker. Like all Harry Potter books this one centres around a mystery. It’s a good one, full of characteristic Rowling hints and twists and clues that you only get on a re-read.

-Introduces some great characters, Lupin, Sirus Black. Two of my favourites and most people’s I bet. Dementors also show up which adds a second layer of danger and intrigue. Really, this book really fleshes out the story and the characters, especially what happened in the past, in the war against Voldermort. Those events are so pivotal to the story that it’s cool getting more information.

Overall I would say that this book is darker, there’s a feeling of growing dread of fear that wasn’t present as much as before. The main characters are also growing and changing, becoming more rebellious, less childish. An atmosphere of tension grows throughout the book which tests Harry and his pals.

Unfortunately it’s not all roses. I have to talk about Time Travel I suppose, at least a little bit. It works in this book, as well as time travel ever does, which means its a bit wonky. Time stuff always brings up the same questions in everything. Why don’t they just go back and do stuff, blah blah blah. Its one of those things that you can’t think about too much or it will fall apart. Just have to accept it, Rowling throws in some justifications so it’s best to just hold onto those.

Overall, this book is great, as all of the Harry Potter books are. If you were looking for a review to take it apart and give criticisms then this is the wrong blog for that. I love this book, its got a great mystery, cool new characters, and does a great job of bridging the gap between the more childlike first two books with the more serious later novels.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Review (No Spoilers)

 

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This week’s novel is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This is the second instalment in J.K. Rowling’s insanely popular Harry Potter series. A series that was without a doubt the central building block in my love of reading and fantasy. Prior to cracking this book open I hadn’t really it in quite a long time, preferring to keep my memories fond.

To no surprise of mine, it held up completely. Chamber of Secrets builds upon and expands the magical world of the first book. As I wrote about in my previous Harry Potter review, the novels are mystery books masquerading as action fantasy books. The mystery in this novel is just as engaging and well put together as in the first book. A mysterious monsters running around the school attacking people. What’s not to love?

The character building continues also, especially between Harry and Ron, this book helps build the bromance that will grow and be challenged throughout the whole series. Other memorable characters are introduced (yay Dobby!) and overall the Harry Potter world is expanded and made deeper.

The book builds to a great conclusion with Harry, Ron, and Hermione doggedly searching for clues, slowly putting the pieces together just in time. The final showdown is pulse-pounding and sets up events that happen down the line. In fact, if you look at the series as a whole, Chamber of Secrets is one of the most important, with the gang learning things that will come in handy down the road.

Honestly I could talk about this book for a lot longer but I don’t want to get into spoiler territory for anyone who hasn’t read them. Although if you haven’t then I pity you. This book is great, Harry Potter in general is great and that’s not the nostalgia talking. (At least not all nostalgia). There’s a reason that this series is one of if not the most popular and successful of all time. They’re simply magical. I’m going to be working my way through the series, reviewing each book so look forward to that!

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Building a Fantasy Franken-Author

There are no perfect authors. No one can be the best at every aspect of writing a novel. For a while I’ve been kicking around the idea of creating the best possible fantasy author, Frankenstein style. My ground rules are no more than four authors. Five seemed to many and three too few. Also each author can only bring one aspect of their game. Without further ado here are my picks.

The Humour of Terry Pratchett: I think this is the least controversial of all of my picks. Terry Pratchett’s books are a goldmine of stellar jokes and gags. His novels are jam-packed them. The ability to write jokes on a page and not have it come off as too corny or out of place is rare, and that’s why Sir Terry gets a place on my list. 

The Characters of Joe Abercrombie: It’s no secret that Joe Abercrombie is my favourite author of all time. He was going to be on this list, no matter what. However that doesn’t mean that his place is undeserved. Abercrombie’s character building is my favourite aspect of his game. He manages to write character that are both larger than life but also believable and relatable. In my opinion, it’s this that makes his stellar First Law Trilogy as good as it is. Due to this, Joe Abercrombie gets the second place on my list.

The Prose of Mark Lawrence: I hear a sound. It’s the cry of thousands of Patrick Rothfuss fans crying out in rage. I get it. He writes good. I just prefer Mark Lawrence. His writing is gritty yet beautiful. Poetic and grounded, prose that pulls you in and holds you tight. This was the hardest category for me to chose but I feel confident in my pick. Lawrence gets the nod due to his strong, consistent prose.

The Worldbuilding of J.K. Rowling: First Rothfuss fans and now the Sanderson army. At first it seemed like Sanderson’s category to win but in the end I had to give it to Rowling. Sanderson’s world-building is almost too deep, so much so that I feel it would dominate the novel. Rowling however, brings an amazing balance of whimsy and magic with well thought out worldbuilding. Some may argue this, say that there are elements that don’t make total sense. *Cough* Time Turners. *Cough* The rules of Quidditch don’t make sense. But to those haters I say phooey. The world of Harry Potter is magical and real all at once. I feel I could do no better than the biggest, most important writer of my childhood and so I choose J.K. Rowling to round out the last spot of my FrankeAuthor.

What do you think? Do you agree? Of course you don’t! What would your picks be? Let me know!

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (No Spoilers)

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This week’s book was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. It’s celebrating it’s twentieth anniversary so now is as good as a time as ever. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this books and series in my life. This book sits alongside Fellowship of the Ring, as the novels that nurtured my love of reading. Like so many other people this book pulled me in and didn’t let me go for years.

I read and reread the books so many times when i was growing up. I wanted badly to go to Hogwarts, to live in J.K Rowling’s world. As such, it’s impossible for me to take off my nostalgia glasses and properly review this book.

I hadn’t read it in years and yet the magic inside was just as I remembered. The book is extremely charming and witty. It pulls you into the deep world, telling you just enough to give you little glimpses of it.

The characters feel real and you immediately root for them. Coming back and seeing how Harry, Ron, and Hermione all become friends was great. I always love the moments where great friendships are born and this is one of my favourites.

Pacing is a real strength of this novel, the plot speeds along at breakneck speed. At their core Harry Potter books are mysteries and this one is no different. Rowling leads the readers to ask certain questions and provides clues to keep them guessing.

I know people have issues with the series but I feel that they come along in later books when the plot becomes more complicated and the magic more involved.

Overall the Philosophers Stone is a great read, easy and addicting. If you haven’t read it yet I can’t recommend it enough. The magic that resides within it’s pages is too good to not be experienced.

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