Posts Tagged With: JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

Synopsis from Amazon.co.uk

Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him.

My Review

This was a fantastic ending to the series, I really enjoyed re-reading this book. Having only read it once before and disliking it then, I couldn’t remember barely anything about what happened in this book, so it was almost like reading it for the first time. You finish Half-Blood Prince with a lot of answers and Rowling keeps you waiting in the finale, not letting you know the truth until near the end of the book, but keeps you going with lots of anguish and action. Finding Voldemorts Horcruxes is the basis for this book, and that’s what majority of the book is about. I enjoyed the ending, with the surprises that it brought, although some bits made me sad. My one concern about this book, is being that it’s plugged as a children’s book, yet there’s a sudden appearance of swear words, such as b*stard, and I’m not sure that’s very appropriate.

This is a great series overall, and should be recommended to every young and old reader alike, because although it’s said to be a children’s series, people of all ages can appreciate and enjoy the series.

5/5

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling

Synopsis from Amazon.co.uk

Lord Voldemort is acting out in the open, continuing his reign of terror which was temporarily stopped almost 15 years ago. The press have been questioning the events at the Ministry which led to the admission of Voldemort’s return, and of course Harry’s name is mentioned a number of times. Harry’s got his problems, but his anxiety is nothing compared to Hermione’s when the OWL results are delivered. There’s a new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, an assortment of new characters and creatures, and startling revelations about past characters and events. Accepting his destiny, Harry continues to behave as teenagers do, enjoying his time with his friends, developing his relationships outside of his usual circle, and learning more about how he must, eventually, do what he is destined to do.

My Review

This was a really enjoyable read and definitely one of the better books of the series. I could barely remember anything when I started re-reading this book, so it was almost like reading it for the first time again, and it was great! Shrouded in mystery from the very first page, it keeps you eager to read on. This book has moved on completely from the last book with regards to Harry’s stroppy behaviour, and I was very glad of that. In this book Harry moves from anger to obsession, which is much more readable, and I could feel the dread growing throughout the book, knowing that the ending would be a big one. It was both shocking and terribly sad, and makes you much more aware of what you might be going into in the 7th and last book. This book has some very powerful scenes, and a lot more character development for some of the ‘background’ characters such as Ginny, Luna and Draco, making the series so much more compelling. Rowling uses this book to pave the way for the ending and she does it very well, leaving readers eager for the final volume.

5/5

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling

Synopsis from Amazon.co.uk

Over the summer, gossip has turned Harry’s tragic and heroic encounter with Voldemort at the Triwizard Tournament into an excuse to ridicule and discount the teenager. Even Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of the school, has come under scrutiny from the Ministry of Magic, which refuses to officially acknowledge the terrifying truth: that Voldemort is back. Enter a particularly loathsome new character: the toad-like and simpering Dolores Umbridge, senior undersecretary to the minister of Magic, who takes over the vacant position of defence against dark arts teacher–and in no time manages to become the high inquisitor of Hogwarts. Life isn’t getting any easier for Harry Potter. With an overwhelming course load as the fifth years prepare for their examinations, devastating changes in the Gryffindor Quidditch team line-up, vivid dreams about long hallways and closed doors, and increasing pain in his lightning-shaped scar, Harry’s resilience is sorely tested.

My Review

I think this has now become my least favourite of the series. It dragged on for what seemed forever, and it was only in the last 125 pages that the book became more engaging. I think Rowling could have cut out most of the long Umbridge passages and the book wouldn’t have lost anything at all. I also disliked how Harry suddenly changed so much between the end of Goblet of Fire, and the beginning of this book, and I just found all the angry shouting quite annoying. I also hated the big twist at the ending, and wish that hadn’t happened. I did enjoy some things about this book though, like Fred and George, the battles and Dumbledore’s revelation at the end of the book. I just can’t help but think there was no need for this book to be so long, and I think that would be a negative for a lot of readers.

3.5/5

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

the-tales-of-beedle-the-bard

Synopsis from Amazon:

‘You’ve never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?’ said Ron incredulously. ‘You’re kidding, right?’ (From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) Published by the Children’s High Level Group in association with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the first new book from J. K. Rowling since the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Tales of Beedle the Bard played a crucial role in assisting Harry, with his friends Ron and Hermione, to finally defeat Lord Voldemort. Fans will be thrilled to have this opportunity to read the tales in full. An exciting addition to the canon of Harry Potter, the tales reveal the wonderful versatility of the author, as she tackles with relish the structure and varying tones of a classic fairy tale. There are five tales: ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’, recounted in Deathly Hallows, plus ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’, ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’, ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’, and ‘Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’. Each has its own magical character and will bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril. Translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger, the tales are introduced and illustrated by J. K. Rowling. Also included are notes by Professor Albus Dumbledore, which appear by kind permission of the Hogwarts Headmasters’ Archive. CHLG is a charity co-founded by J. K. Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP and campaigns to protect and promote children’s rights and make life better for vulnerable young people. The Children’s High Level Group is a charity established under English law. Registered Charity Number: 1112575.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, this book is for you. It contains five wizard fairytales, and notes made by the Professor Albus Dumbledore. Like with Muggle fairytales, they contain moral messages and words of wisdom to the budding wizard. They are short and thoroughly enjoyable. The notes made by Dumbledore had me chuckling – what a great character! I loved how the books linked back to the Harry Potter series, making the book a must-have for Potter fans.

My favourite Tale was “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump“- very funny. A great washer woman. A fiery character who taught a valuable lesson and had a genius laugh.

As ever, Rowling writes in an engaging and fun way, and although this is predominantly a child’s book, adults will appreciate the book too, with some subtle adult humour and comments. This was a gripping and fun book to read, and I loved the illustrations, done by Rowling herself. This is a great companion to the much-loved Harry Potter books, and I highly recommend this little gem.

10/10

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling

Synopsis from Amazon.co.uk

Once returned to Hogwarts after his summer holiday with the dreadful Dursleys and an extraordinary outing to the Quidditch World Cup, the 14-year-old Harry and his fellow pupils are enraptured by the promise of the Triwizard Tournament: an ancient, ritualistic tournament that brings Hogwarts together with two other schools of wizardry–Durmstrang and Beauxbatons–in heated competition. But when Harry’s name is pulled from the Goblet of Fire, and he is chosen to champion Hogwarts in the tournament, the trouble really begins. Still reeling from the effects of a terrifying nightmare that has left him shaken, and with the lightning-shaped scar on his head throbbing with pain (a sure sign that the evil Voldemort, Harry’s sworn enemy, is close), Harry becomes at once the most popular boy in school. Yet, despite his fame, he is totally unprepared for the furore that follows.

My Review

Filled with action from the beginning, this is a fantastic book that will keep you gripped from the outset. The two main plot points of the story are the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament, which are both darker than previous storylines. Rowling has also written this book in a more mature manner, which I think could be a bad thing for the younger readers, who may not understand some of the words. The length could also be a problem, as it’s over double the size of Prisoner of Azkaban. But the story does keep flowing very well, and you’re not always aware of the size of the book, and it certainly never drags enough for you to think of it. Mad-Eye Moody is a great addition and provides a lot of entertainment during the story. You’re very aware during this book that Harry, Ron and Hermione are growing up and leaning towards adulthood, although there is still the magical atmosphere that is present in the first three books. This is most definitely the best book in the series so far, each book keeps getting better and continues to draws you more and more into the world of magic and Hogwarts.

5/5

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

Synopsis from Amazon.co.uk

The escape of Sirius Black–one time friend of Harry’s parents, implicated in their murder and follower of “You- Know-Who”–from Azkaban, has serious implications for Harry for it would appear that Black is bent on revenge against Harry for thwarting “You-Know-Who”. Back at Hogwarts, Harry’s movements are restricted by the presence of the Dementors–guards from Azkaban on the look out for Black–however, this doesn’t stop him throwing himself into the new Quidditch season and going about his normal business–or at least attempting to. Despite warnings Harry is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Sirius Black–how could this one-time close friend of his parents become the cause of their deaths?

My Review

This is the third book in the series, and starts to pick up in pace and bring in events that lead into the future books. The style of writing is very easy to get into whether you’re a child or an adult, and that’s why this series has such wide spread appeal, to people of all ages and nationalities. I loved how this book didn’t have Voldemort as the main “bad guy”, but was still gripping and dark. Rowling does a great job of describing the Dementors, and how they affect people, in particularly Harry, and you can clearly imagine how awful it would be to be locked up in Azkaban with them surrounding you. Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark-Arts teacher, is introduced in this book and it’s enjoyable to read about him and his lessons, the boggart one in particular. And of course, we can’t forget the escaped convict Sirius Black, who is out to kill Harry for thwarting Voldemort as a child. The Sirius Black storyline is my favourite so far in the series, it keeps you guessing all through the book, and then surprises you at the end.

I’ve given this a 4.5/5 as it’s a fantastic book and the series is definitely getting better, but it hasn’t peaked yet, there’s still so much more to look forward to and enjoy reading in this series. I would definitely recommend this, to both adults and children who will enjoy the antics of Harry, Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts. It’s something fun and easy to read, but is still incredibly enjoyable!

4.5/5

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

Synopsis (from back page)

Harry Potter is a wizard. He is in his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Little does he know that this year will be just as eventful as the last…

Review

This, the second book in the series, carries on from where the last one left off and is just as good if not better.

All of our favourite characters are back, along with the introduction of a few new ones including that of the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Lockhart who has to be one of the funniest (minor) characters in the series particularly during the latter part of this book.

Like it’s predecessor the majority of the action takes place at Hogwarts however Harry does visit the Weasley’s house, The Burrow, for the first time and the descriptions used by the author to describe it are really detailed – so much so that you can quite literally picture it in your minds eye as if you are right there standing alongside Harry as he casts his eye over it for the first time.

While on the subject of the Weasley’s I have to admit that I really love the interaction between the various family members and the banter between the twins Fred and George is quite frankly hilarious at times. They really do make the perfect double act!

Although slightly darker than the previous book this is another hugely entertaining book that draws you in to the magical world of Hogwarts from the outset. Simply stunning!

Reviewed by Karen.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Synopsis (from back cover)

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by a beetle-eyed giant of a man, enrols at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!

Review

I’m sure this book needs no introduction and if you don’t know who Harry Potter is by now then you should be ashamed of yourself!

With that opening statement I guess it wont come as any big surprise to you to hear that this isn’t the first time I’ve read this book, and it definitely wont be the last. In fact if truth be told I’ve actually lost count of just how many times I’ve read it but I can quite honestly say that each time I pick it up I find it more and more enjoyable and more often than not I end up noticing things that I didn’t pick up on first, second or even third time around.

The attention to detail is quite literally superb and with the authors fantastic imagination it’s almost hard to believe that the magical world of Hogwarts is fictional. In fact if I’m entirely honest with you I have to admit that there is a part of me that secretly believes that it does indeed exist and that to my absolute horror I must be a Squib as I never received an invite! Oh the shame!

With very real, likable and imaginative characters that you fall in love with from the outset, the story is told in a way that makes you feel like you are right there with Harry as he starts his first year at school.

Although pure escapism, the story itself is totally believable and although primarily aimed at children is in fact suitable for all ages whether young or old.

A highly enjoyable and hugely entertaining read.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

*** SPOLIER WARNING ***

IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK, BUT INTEND TO,

PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!


Synopsis (fromAmazon):

Harry is waiting in
Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing if they can. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfil the momentous and seemingly impossible task with which Professor Dumbledore has left him.

In this final, seventh instalment of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling unveils in spectacular fashion the answers to the many questions that have been so eagerly awaited. The spellbinding, richly woven narrative, which plunges, twists and turns at a breathtaking pace, confirms the author as a mistress of storytelling, whose books will be read, reread and read again.

Review:
Like millions of other readers around the world, I desperately awaited this final installment of the Harry Potter saga, complete with hopes and fears about how it would stand up to the hype. Well, the long and the short of it is this – it’s pretty good, but not the best of the series, not by a long shot.

It all starts very well, with the action moving at lightning pace as Harry’s friends in the Order of the Phoenix attempt to get him safely away from Privet Drive before the protection charm wears out as he comes of age on his seventeenth birthday. During all this, two major characters are killed and another is seriously wounded, setting the tone for the rest of the book- anything could happen and anyone could die – nobody is safe!

Then, after a short pre-amble, the Harry Potter Trio get down to the business of finding the horcruxes, but this is where I felt everything got bogged down. Harry, Hermione and Ron seemed to be camping forever. Yes, the action took place over the course of several months, but it felt like it took me just as long to read that section. The camping expedition felt long, drawn out and torturous, and eventually got very repetitive with a constant round of the three of them arguing about how to go about locating the horcruxes, Ron and Harry disputing each other’s methods and intelligence, and Hermione coming up with the answers. In the end I got pretty fed up of Hermione fixing everything, and throughout their hunt, I felt as lost as they were, as they seemed to find things out by chance, rather than any serious deduction or making use of proper clues. And there is another shocking and pointless (or so it felt) death.

Eventually, though, this had to come to an end, and thankfully, I was treated to some more rip-roaring action as Voldemort brings the battle to Hogwarts. Now the pages are awash with blood as the good guys battle the bad guys, hurling spells left, right and centre. Two more major characters were wiped out without a decent send-off (their bodies are spotted, but their deaths occur off-screen), and there is a major revelation about the nature of the link between Harry and Voldemort before the final smack-down.

And then there’s an epilogue, set nineteen years later which, although wraps everything up nicely, feels a little “tagged on” in order to lift things a little from the bloodbath of the previous pages. Yes, it was interesting to find out what happened to those who were left alive (although only a handful of them are actually mentioned), but it was just a little too nice and still left a lot unsaid (although the actual Potter/Voldemort story was wrapped u nicely).

I was heartened to find that I was right all along about Severus Snape, who has been one of my favourite characters throughout the series and, in my opinion, has been sorely under-used. Another pat on the back for myself over the important role played by Neville – the boy who was almost the boy who lived (if Voldemort hadn’t forced the prophecy and assumed it was Harry – it always could have been either one of them!), although that part was so rushed and garbled that I had to re-read it three times before I could work out who had done what and how they had done it. Nevertheless, I was glad to see poor Neville well-done-by – he deserved it!

Overall, it’s a very enjoyable book, if a little slow in the middle (it’s a bit of a slump, but it’s definitely worth continuing past it) and, for the most part, very easy to read, but for me it didn’t match up to The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, or even The Half-Blood Prince, all of which were better paced and better written. Still, it was an exciting end to an engaging story and one that I will certainly re-read, along with all the others, and enjoy again.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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