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Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From a story perspective, this book is weaker than the original 7 books. It almost feels like a “greatest hits” collection, a sauntering lap of honour as the story brings the readers back to pivotal moments in the early books (yes, there’s time-travel involved).

That’s not to say that the story was poor. The originals had a purpose – an almighty quest that took 7 books to bring to closure. It was clear from the onset that this was an addendum, something that simultaneously brings an update to the fans on the state of affairs after 19 years in Potterverse (and 9 years since the publication of the last book), as well as to shoehorn a good story in there. So naturally the story needs to plumb the depths of the canon for familiarity’ sake.

I enjoyed the story very much. As I mentioned the story itself was competently done, but what I really liked was the fact that this was a father and son story. And I’m truly a sucker for those, seeing that I’m also a father of a 9 year old. Being a father made me emotionally susceptible to blatant plot twists involving father-son relationships, threatening my long held reputation as a stone cold-hearted bastard who doesn’t bat an eyelid at the supposedly tear-jerking moments in any book (which was first shattered, btw, by another father-son story). I see the challenges Harry has with his growing second child Albus as something that I have to brace myself facing. So this book actually gets three-stars, with a bonus one for being a father-son story.

(This is my review and I do whatever I want)

This was a fun romp, and I highly recommend this to Harry Potter fans. If you’ve not read HP before, give this a miss for now. Do yourself a favour, set aside any preconceived notions and preconceptions you may have surrounding the originals, and read them.

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Review: Speaks the Nightbird

Speaks the Nightbird
Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Can’t remember when I started).

A monster of a book. It was sitting in my TBR (or more accurately, TBL (to be listened)) pile for years, and I’ve finally gotten around to it.

It’s long, but it doesn’t contain a huge cast of characters – almost like a locked room mystery. All the action takes place in a frontier town called Fount Royal, founded by a loud overachiever called Bitwell. The story is set in 1699, and it revolves around the trial of a supposed witch in Fount Royal, Rachel Howarth, said to be responsible for two grisly deaths, including that of her own husband. British Empire magistrate Isaac Woodward and his clerk Matthew Corbett was summoned to put the witch on trial, and sentence her.

As the story flows along, we find that all is not as it seems in Fount Royal, and young Matthew increasingly believes that there are forces at play here that seem intent on a larger plot beyond the sentencing of a witch. Doesn’t help that Matthew is smitten by the beautiful widow whom he believes is framed for the murder. Running against time, Matthew attempts to uncover the clues that will exonerate Rachel and expose the truth.

I enjoyed the story more than I thought I would. I had expected a horror tale (and looked forward to it too!) given McCammon’s reputation. As the tale wore on I found not only was it *not* a horror tale, but an incredibly interesting whodunnit.

Worth a read.

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Review: Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread
Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

(can’t remember when I read and finished this, but definitely within the timeframe I put up here)

This was forgettable. I mean literally. I forgot what this collection of stories was about. I think I remember the description of a horse’s genitals, and one of the character’s apparently embarrassment over seeing it. That’s it.

Careless of me, really. I should look of the synopsis and redo this bloody review, because this defeats the purpose of me tracking the bloody books in the first place.

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Review: Farthing

Farthing
Farthing by Jo Walton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(It was read and finished sometime in June 2016)

Another excellent book, tangentially related to World War II. Again, I found myself liking it. All those things I used to mention about not liking books related to historical military wars, especially revolving around the wars in the 20th century, is turning out to be pretty rubbish.

I learned a lot about Jo Walton on this book, and it opened my eyes about the relationship (or rather, the market perception) about genre writers and their writing prowess is woefully misrepresented. Walton is an excellent writer, and by that I don’t mean story-wise (although that too wasn’t bad, in fact I wasn’t expecting a murder mystery. But then, I didn’t expect anything at all, not knowing much about the book beyond the back cover blurb). No, what I mean about Walton being an excellent writer is her prose is excellent. None of that Cassandra Clare, Veronica Roth level writing (although they are both published and deserve all their fame and success, because they put their work out there, unlike me, your typical armchair amateur book internet commenter).

I actually wrote quite a lot about the book in my book journal, and I’m not about to rehash or reproduce it here. Suffice it to say I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, and the story.

Moralistic. Read it.

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Review: The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Longer review in book journal.

This was an amazing book. Haven’t read it for reasons I need to get a psychologist to dissect, but ultimately got to it and it proved to be an hell of a read. Excellent story, excellent villain, great characters, great pacing. Writing a little sparse, but it worked.

Looking forward to watching the movie now! Ok, not like *now*, now, but soon.

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Review: Storyteller: Writing Lessons & More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop

Storyteller: Writing Lessons & More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers' Workshop
Storyteller: Writing Lessons & More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop by Kate Wilhelm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Didn’t track actual Finished Reading Date)

Very informative. I learned a lot here.

(Review in book journal)

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