Tuesday 30 June 2015

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

5 Stars/5

Warning, this review has spoilers for this book and the entire series.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the penultimate book and one of my favourite in the series. This book has more romance than any the rest of the Harry Potter series and has a teenage soap opera feel to it. When I first read this book I never guessed that Snape was the Half-Blood Prince and he had such a big role in this book and the next book.

Hermione says that love potions are not that dangerous but in the wrong hands it can be used very unethically and even as a date rape drug. I really liked learning more about Voldemort’s past and how young Tom Riddle became Voldemort. I love the Weasley family as they are kind and warm and the family that Harry had never had.

I did find it odd that Harry mourned more for Cedric, an acquaintance and kind of friend, than Sirius, his Godfather and someone he saw as a father figure. But I did like how Harry and Hermione’s friendship grows closer in this book as it always felt Harry was closer to Ron than Hermione. This is the one book which you can tell it was written by a woman, this is because the way Rowling wrote Hermione’s action and reactions to Ron fit perfectly to how most girls would act.

One thing is that Harry likes dull chicks, as while Ginny is described as being fun and feisty I just never saw it, and it felt I was told this, not shown it. Also Dumbledore is such a liar as he said he had told Harry everything about Voldemort and Harry, but he really didn’t, and it shows that even after all those years he still believes in The Greater Good (“The Greater Good”). Is it just me or does Professor Slughorn with his bald head and walrus moustache remind you of Jamie from Mythbusters?

I love Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this series. 

Saturday 27 June 2015

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

5 Stars/5

Warning, this review has spoilers for this book and the entire series.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book in the series and is one of the darkest in the series and hardest to read as it is so depressing. We can start seeing more of the puzzle pieces coming together and hints to what is coming, such as Petunia talking about that awful boy and the locket at Grimmauld Place.

Harry is depressed in this novel which makes reading this one not as fun as the previous books, and I do have to agree with Hermione and Lucius Malfoy that Harry does love playing the hero and it does start to grate on me. While I think their relationship is sweet and awkward I am not a fan of Cho as I think she is dull. Rereading this I had forgotten about Firenze becoming divination teacher. I feel very sorry for Neville, because I would much rather my parents died quick and clean than what happened to Neville’s parents and I feel he should have had more sympathy.

However two people I really don’t like are James and Sirius as they were jerks and while I don’t know if Snape was just as bad, they were bullies and it does not matter about their age, if anything bullying affects people the most at that age. Also they remind me of the boys at school who behaved very badly at school but always got away with it. On the other hand, I really hated Umbridge as she was the most relatable baddie in the series, and turns what is Harry’s only home he has known into somewhere he does not enjoy being.

One thing I never got is why the order never used muggle technology, for example phones, as it is much quicker than owls and Voldemort and his Death Eaters would never expect it. Also how did Harry get the marauder’s map as last we knew fake Moody had it and we never heard about him getting it back. Similarly, Harry should have been able to see the Thestrals since he was one year old when the first person he saw die was Lily, not Cedric.

While Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix is probably one of my least favourite of the Harry Potter series I still love it and would recommend it to anyone who has read the first four books.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

5 Stars/5

Warning, this review has spoilers for this book and the entire series.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book and, apart from the Deathly Hallows, is the most action packed with the Quidditch world cup and the three tasks happening throughout the book. This book is the turning point where the series changes, with its first death and with Voldemort being back. This book has a darker tone and shows the maturing of the novels and characters.

I feel the title of this book should have been Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament as the Goblet of Fire plays a very small in this book. Also Avada Kadavra does not seem the worse way to die, at least it is quick. The film missed out lots of stuff from this book such as SPEW, the twins and Bagman, Hagrid being a half giant and so much more.

The hormones have kicked in and you can see the main characters growing up and becoming the adults they later become. Poor Harry, he can never catch a break and is under loads of attention and pressure in this book. Ron, even though he is one of my favourite, did irritate me as he did not stick by his best friend, but this happens often with teenagers and I can understand him always being over looked and second best. I like how we get to know Neville more and about his past.

This entire series is very British apart from the Yule Ball which is very American as at most school dances I went to, we don’t partner up but just go as group of friends unless they are already a couple. There are a few plot holes which don’t make sense, firstly the rules said that only 3 people were allowed in the tournament so why did they not stop Harry continuing. Also I don’t get how the people that meant the most to Cedric and Krum are girls that they have only been going out with for a few weeks. The biggest plot hole in this book is how Voldemort got his wand back as he was a kind of spirit when he fled from attacking infant Harry.

I cannot recommend Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and the entire series highly enough. 

Monday 22 June 2015

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

5 Stars/5

Warning, this review has spoilers for this book and the entire series.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series and you can tell that the tone of the books are getting darker. I felt this book was faster paced and better story than the first two book as when I first read it I did not expect that Sirius was innocent. This Harry Potter book is unique as it is the only novel without Voldemort, which shows that his followers can be just as dangerous.

Harry feels trapped in this book as he is over protected, for his safety and feels no one is telling him anything. I really like Lupin as I can relate to him, he has a tragic affliction yet it never affected how he treated people and was a very good teacher. However, while Sirius is an interesting character I don’t love him like so many others do.

While I love this book there are somethings that don’t make sense. Firstly Bogarts in this book don’t show real fears, as even when I was 10 my fears are not things like spiders and mummy’s but more abstract like harm happening to my family. Another thing is how come Fred and George never noticed that an unknown man was in either Percy or Ron’s room on the marauders’ map? Also if Hogsmead is the only muggle free place then how come most wizards have no understanding of the muggle world? Finally it is obvious the Rowling had not planned the Deathly Hallows as here is this all powerful invisibility cloak which is meant to hide a person from everything but apparently can be seen on a map made by teenage boys.

I love Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the entire series and I would recommend it to everyone. 

Saturday 20 June 2015

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

5 Stars/5

Warning, this review has spoilers for this book and the entire series.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second in the amazing Harry Potter series but it is not one of my favourites in the series. This book is still a kids book and feels innocent with it being more morally black and white than subsequent novels. Plus I never get how wizards can manage normal life without learning basic stuff like maths and science.

In this book, during the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore, it has a massive spoiler about the ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, particularly if you have read the Half-Blood Prince. This and all the books in this series have so many layers where at first it seems a simple story but also a story of good vs evil and the strength of love.

The trio of friends has not really changed since the first book, but Harry is a bit snappier as he has got people believing he is attacking students. I like how Hogwarts feels like another character and changes in each book. I also like Dobby as he is loveable and Lockhart who makes me smile especially with the valentines Dwarves.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is an amazing book full of mystery and danger and I would recommend it to fans of the first book. 

Thursday 18 June 2015

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

5 Stars/5

Warning, this review has spoilers for this book and the entire series.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a brilliant book and the start of a world changing series. The Harry Potter series is a big part of my life and influenced my childhood. I probably will not be able to add anything that has not been said before. I also won’t describe the story as almost everyone must know it by now and if not where have you been hiding the past 15 years? While the writing is not bad, you can tell the Rowling has improved as the series went on.

One pet peeve I have with this book is that it is not called The Sorcerer’s Stone but The Philosopher’s Stone, that’s because philosopher’s stone has lots of lore and myth surrounding it and I am not sure why they changed it for America. One thing I discovered, and probably only British people will get this, but when reading this book did anyone else have Stephen Fry’s voice narrating it to them?

Harry is a kind and brave person and I like that even after years of abuse and neglect by the Dursley’s he has not turned out bitter and emotionally scarred. Ron is one of my favourite characters of the series as he is normal, and does not feel he is good enough. Hermione is annoying in this book as she is a know it all and just too perfect.

I love this book and the entire series and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

The Blue Moon

3 Stars/5

St John’s, a lonely space-island on the edge of the Asteroid Belt, forbids any contact with the rest of the solar system, but this has never bothered Emmy. That is until on her 19th birthday when The Blue Moon disappears from the sky along with her mother. Now Emmy is desperate to escape St John’s so that she can find someone to help her find her mum. With a sinister leader eyes searching for The Blue Moon, will Emmy, along with some new friends discover the moon’s secret and be able to find it in time.

The Blue Moon was a likeable YA sci-fi adventure which has mystery and is a fun read. However, is was a fairly simple book and I felt that is was written for a younger age group than advertised.

Emmy was a bit of a confusing character because at some points she seemed younger than 19 years old as she seemed very naïve, but at other times much older as she was very responsible and was ok to be living on her own for practically all the time. There are a few secondary characters such as detective Shankar, Kokopelli and Honey Tiger, but I felt we could have gotten to know them better.

This is an enjoyable book but I did feel it was marketed at the wrong age group. I would recommend The Blue Moon to fans of Death on the Empress by Stuart Harper.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

A Chronicle of Chaos

3 Stars/5

Thanks to D M Cain for giving me this book to review.

War has raged on the human realm for centuries between the Children of Light and the Brotherhood of Shadow, but now 5 demons have been summoned to destroy the Children of Light once and for all. Chaos is an up and coming solider in the Children of Light whose fighting skills are as big as his arrogance. Anathema is the youngest of the five demons summoned and is determined to prove he belongs on the human realm as such as the others. When coincidence causes Chaos and Anathema to meet, not knowing who the other is, they form an unusual friendship but as they grow closer they must decide which is more important, their duty or growing desire for each other.

A Chronicle of Chaos is an enjoyable YA novel which was well written, fast paced and full of action. I was a little wary starting this book as it sounded very dark but I liked it and had an interesting concept revolving around good and evil.

The one problem I had with this book was that the two main characters weren’t very likeable. Chaos is an immature and petulant person, but is brave and desperate for approval as he wants to live up to his destiny. Anathema is an evil character who is arrogant and wants to prove himself but is also conflicted, mostly about Chaos.

An original fantasy novel and I look forward to reading the next book The Shield of Soren. I would recommend A Chronicle of Chaos to fans of The Belgariad by David Eddings. 

Saturday 6 June 2015

Hidden Deep

3 Stars/5

Ryann has recently moved back to her childhood home after her parent’s messy divorce, the same place where 10 years ago where she almost died and was saved by a mysterious boy. After swimming in a pond, she meets the young man who saved her, Lad and becomes more and more drawn to the woods and the enigmatic man who is keeping secrets. Lad knows the law, don’t get caught and don’t get too close to humans, but he has never been able to forget Ryann, but will he go against everything he has known to have a chance with the girl of his dreams?

Hidden Deep is an enjoyable light paranormal novel which was fast paced and hard to put down. There was not much action and it was very predictable but had a lot of romance. I have never read a paranormal book with these mythical creatures in them and it was interesting.

I liked Ryann as, even though she is a bit immature, she had an inner strength and is relatable especially with the situation with her parents. Lad was a shy sweet guy but also was strong, mysterious and protective. However, the romance was a bit irritating as it had insta-love and a bit of a love triangle, but Ryann and Lad did have good chemistry.

I look forward to reading the next book Hidden Heart. I would recommend Hidden Deep to fans of Wings by Aprilynne Pike and Ever Shade by Alexia Purdy.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Then Again

2 Stars/5

Thanks to Michael Carney for giving me this book to review.

In the last few minutes of 1999 most people are celebrating but Outcast Angel Jesse and a group of genetically enhanced trainee humans, are trying to save a Russian politician from an assassin. But as the last seconds of the millennium count down time goes back a few minutes, and happens again and again. Will Jesse and his team be able to find what is happening and prevent the assassin?

Then Again is an OK short story about angels and humans with special talents. As there was lots of characters and not much time, I found it hard to connect to them. Also I did not like that the story was not linier, as it kept on jumping around in time and it threw me out of what was happening. It was an interesting story and I would recommend to fans of paranormal/superhero type stories.