Hype or Like Friday – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling + others Review

For Hype or Like Friday this week, it’s finally time to give you guys my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! It was created by three fellow book bloggers, Jillian, Larkin and Britt in which they choose a particular book to focus on for the month, with weekly discussions and a review of the book at the end. You can check the group out here.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_CoverDate Published: July 31st 2016

Publisher: Little Brown UK

Length: 343 (hardcover)

Source: Bought

Summary:

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

My Review:

I really don’t know what to say…THIS WAS PRETTY GOOD 😀 (for a play)

Reading this book, I didn’t have very high expectations, if you read my last post, you know what I’m talking about. I knew that it wouldn’t necessarily feel like the previous installments, and how there would be a lot left out because it’s a script not a novel. Despite this, I really enjoyed it, and it was able to bring emotions out of me – I don’t have a heart of stone, but I’m not a crier either.

The best thing about this book would probably be the relationship between Albus and Scorpius. I loved them as friends! I know a lot of people ship them together, and I probably would too, if they were a bit older. Keep in mind they are only 14, and if they gay, or bi, or anything else, they would probably only be questioning it, and probably wouldn’t bring it up. I also loved seeing Harry, Ron and Hermione again. I experienced a bit of nostalgia to be honest, reading about these forever beloved characters again – I really need to reread the books… And was it just me, or did anyone like Draco in this book. I personally developed a bit of a soft spot for him…I would say why, but I think that would be a bit spoilery.

For a script, the writing was pretty good. It flowed easily, and I could imagine it on stage pretty well. There were several time jumps, which kind of surprised me, but then I imagined them doing it on stage, and I realised that it did fit. The characters were still recognizable, with obvious changes – but hey! It’s been twenty years since we last read about them. For those who haven’t read scripts before (I personally have only read Romeo and Juliet previously, for school) you need to keep in mind, that this needs to occur within a time span of about 3 hours. Which means the story is going to be rather fast paced when reading it, but watching the actors act it out on stage will completely change how it feels. Think of the play as three-dimensional. The script is only one dimension, the others include the acting, and the props and costumes. With the script, you only get one dimension, ad therefore you need to factor in the other two, and use your imagination to do so! There are many that have read this book, and couldn’t finish, or was disappointed in it. That was because they didn’t factor in that it is only a script! – dialogue.

However, there were flaws. The biggest one – is probably the plot. It’s kind of like a badly written fanfiction where the author has thought of the end point, and the start point, but hasn’t really thought of what was in-between. Where something happens that doesn’t really make sense, only to have a random explanation to clarify. That’s a pretty bad explanation, but long story short, the plot was all over the place and things were a bit far-fetched. It also didn’t feel like the type of plots in previous Harry Potter books. Calling this an ‘eighth installment’ is a pretty long shot if you ask me, which was probably a marketing ploy if you ask me. I prefer to think of this almost like a novella, not necessarily essential, and just an extra bonus to spice up the series. It is definitely not an eighth installment in my eyes.

I also was surprised to see how much lacking it was of the wizarding world we have grown up with and loved. Many characters, including Teddy, Neville, Luna, George AND James, Lily and Hugo. Like at least with the previous former ones mentioned, I just wanted a simple check up to see how they are doing, like a small encounter, or just, something. But then, I didn’t even get to read about how James and Lily were doing, or Hugo. They were mentioned several times, especially James, and Hugo was mentioned like once. I was annoyed that I didn’t get to read about Albus’s relationship with his siblings more, or even Harry’s with his other children. I also know that Rose was included as a reappearing character, but honestly, she doesn’t make that much of an appearance. She was just there to  not be there, like it was like hey! we’re childhood bestfriends, and cousins, but not so much anymore. Plus, there wasn’t that much magic involved. The plot was mainly focused on the relationships between Albus, and several other characters, than the wizarding world itself, and that was pretty annoying considering it is a Harry Potter book. Don’t even get me started on timeturners…

Overall though, I enjoyed it for what it was worth. When reading this, you just need to keep in mind all that this is a script and not a novel and it is also set twenty years after the last Harry Potter book. People change. Judging this as a script to an actual play, and a separate book to the Harry Potter series, I would give this about a 4/5. However, seeing as they did say it was the ‘eighth installment’ to a bestseller, world renown series, I’d give it about a 3/5 as I was rather disappointed, not only by some of the content, but how Rowling decided to implement it all.

For whether it’s hyped or liked…it’s

Use this when liking a book on the list.

And, I rate it 3.5/5 stars

Also, please keeps comments spoiler free on this review, I will be posting a discussion post shortly after this, where I will vent my spoilery annoyances and where you guys can too. 🙂

 

 

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The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater Review

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2

Date Published: September 13th 2013

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Length: 437 (hardcover)

Source: Borrowed

Summary: 

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

Of The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two.” Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.

My Review:

Hmmm…I have very mixed feelings about this book. Like the previous book, The Raven Boys it had a very slow start. Actually, scratch that, it was like slow for most of the book – at least for me. There are a couple reasons why I kept reading, I do want to complete the series eventually, and DNFing this book will just put a burden on me. Plus, I wanted to find out about this mysterious Ronan Lynch. I wouldn’t go so far to say he’s my favourite out of the group (I don’t think I have one, I like them all for different reasons), but he certainly is the most intriguing.

That said, for the last 150 pages or so, I really enjoyed it, as stuff was actually happening, and getting really interesting. I actually quite liked the character of the Gray Man, and I think I have a soft spot for him. I don’t like Kavinsky, but he did spice things up a bit, which is probably the reason why there is actually some action in the latter half of the book. The main group – Blue, Gansey, Adam, Noah and of course Ronan felt a bit off in this book. They were very distant, and Noah was absent for most of the book – I know the reason why, but it’s annoying how we finally got him back, and then he’s not there again. There weren’t really any good friendship moments like there was in the Raven Boys either, instead there was barely friendship at all, which kind of annoyed me.

I know this book is supposed to focus on Ronan, but I think there was too much of a focus on him. I barely saw the others, and when I did, I didn’t really want to read about what they’re doing. Blue was kind of just there, and she just didn’t really fit in. The feel of the story, just didn’t feel the same as the Raven Boys, if anyone gets what I mean, but that could be just me.

There were some good things though. The mystery of it all, with the Greywarren, ley lines and all – I love it. It’s a totally new concept, and I really like it. Maggie Stiefater’s writing, is like I said in the Raven Boys review, really beautiful, and serene to read. There were a couple jokes here and there, but I don’t think this series is one for that sort of stuff, so that was expected. I don’t dislike this book, but I don’t love it either, probably around average in my ‘likeable’ scale.

I didn’t like this book as much as the Raven Boys, but if you are into mystery, or like the character Ronan Lynch a lot, give it a try, or even really really enjoyed the Raven Boys. Like, I enjoyed the Raven Boys, but I am not a die hard fan like some other people – if you are though, then that’s great! For now, I’m going to take a break from this series, longer than the last, and one day, I’ll get back to it (I hope). I do want to read the next ones, as I feel they are probably 10x better than this one, but it just doesn’t appeal to me that much anymore, probably because I didn’t enjoy this as much.

Overall, I rate this 3/5 stars.

 

 

 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson Review

The Unexpected Everything

Date Published: May 3rd 2016

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Length: 517 (hardcover)

Source: Borrowed

Summary: 

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

My Review:

I loved loved loved this book. I am currently in winter, not summer, and I can say that this is the perfect summer read. It’s just filled with buttery mellowness and puppies (literally), like when you go outside and it’s the perfect temperature with the sun warming your back. Long story short, I really enjoyed reading it, and I think you should read it too.

However, do not read this if you don’t like simple buttery stories with a cliche or two, because this is exactly what the book is. I recommend this especially for those trying to get out of a book slump, or just read a huge read and would like something simpler and shorter (a bit) to read. On that note, for a contemporary book like this, it is quite long, but it didn’t feel that way, I read it rather quickly (I would have finished it sooner if I wasn’t busy).

Some things I really liked about this book was that a) no love triangles b) actual strong female friendships and c) puppies! It’s nice to read something without a love triangle, because I swear 8/10 books have one and I am really tiring of them. Like can an author actually be original for once, and spice up the story without a flipping love triangle? I’m glad to say that this book did that quite nicely, and I didn’t have to barrack for a guy like people do to a footy team. Love triangles are stupid really. How often do people have them in real life anyway? *sigh*

On the female friendships side of things, it was again really refreshing to have a close tight-knit group of friends that stayed strong for the story, instead of that one female friend that’s only a friend when it’s convenient for the plot or main character. The main character – Andie – didn’t do that annoying devotion to her love interest thing where she ignores her friends. I just loved the characters in general, they weren’t stereotypes, and were developed quite nicely – I have to say though, if they weren’t that’d be a waste of 500 pages. They all have distinct personalities, and it’s not just girls either, it’s a good mix between both boys and girls.

I also love the amount of dogs in this book! I’m not going to go into depth about this, but I just love dogs and pets in general and there was an abundance of them in this book. I also love how half the characters are pretty much bookworms, and there was this one text conversation which perfectly describes the nights in the life of a bookworm (not going to go into more). I also like how parents are not absent from the story, but the story also focuses on Andie’s relationship with her dad, and how they cope with the new changes in their lives.

The ending was quite nice too. It was a little bit open, but not too open in the sense that loose ends weren’t tied up and you don’t know why they ended it there. It’s an open ending that gives closure, I don’t know how to describe it, but it didn’t leave me hanging, and just, fit the story.

I just love this book so much, it’s a favourite in terms of contemporaries, but maybe not on my all time list (most of them are fantasies…). It’s a great read to read in the summer, or any season really (like I said, it’s winter for me) and a cliche book that isn’t annoying to read. It’s a book that concentrates on friendships, and romance, with a nice balance between the two. If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend you pick it up! You won’t be disappointed.

I rate it 4.5/5 stars.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Review

The Raven Cycle: The Raven Boys

the-raven-boys-maggie-stiefvaterDate Published: September 18th 2012

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Length: 409 (hardcover)

Source: Bought

Summary: 

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

My Review

This, is like the first hardcover I’ve ever bought – I know right? So I was like, this better be good. And I can gladly say it was!

The plot seemed really interesting, but when I actually delved into the book, it was totally different to what I expected. I have to say, the first half of the book was quite slow, and it took me a while to read it. I also was a bit confused because this being a first book and all, there are all these new concepts that were left unexplained for what seemed like agessss. But despite all that, I think I’m gonna love this series once I get into the sequels.

I do love the characters – they are all so complex in their own way. Blue’s personality is a strong contrast to the boys, and her unique family. I’m really curious about Ronan’s character, especially about his relationship with his brother. I loved reading about them together, because I found some chapters to be quite slow when it was just one of them.

The writing was beautiful, to me, it seemed serene almost. The small town of Henrietta honestly feels very eerie and I don’t know how I feel about it. I think though that is due to the mystery surrounding the story, and the amount of stuff that is still yet to be found out.

A little after halfway, the pace started picking up and suddenly became very gripping and even though it was a school night when I finished reading it, I stayed up till like 12am reading it under the covers….oops.

Overall it was a really great book. I did however take a break from the series, as with my busy life, I wanted a light read, and decided to read the Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (review coming soon). However I am returning to the series so I will keep you guys updated. If you are considering reading this, I definitely say, give it a try. Oh, and this being the first hardcover I have ever bought (yes…I know what you are gonna say) the cover did not fail to impress me – it’s so pretty in real life!

I rate this 4 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Eona: The Last Dragoneye by Alison Goodman Review

Eona: The Last Dragoneye

Date Pueonablished: April 19th 2011

Publisher: VIKING by Penguin Group

Length: 637 (hardcover)

Source: Borrowed

Summary:

Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the selfstyled “Emperor” Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power – and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans. . . .

Eona, with its pulse-pounding drama and romance, its unforgettable fight scenes, and its surprises, is the conclusion to an epic story only Alison Goodman can create..

The Review:

(warning: there might be spoilers from the first book Eon)

Where do I start? I have to say, I loved this book way better than the previous one. In this book, Eon becomes Eona and they are in a race against time to defeat Sethon’s army so that the true Emperor can take the throne.

Unlike the previous book, the start wasn’t slow at all. There was something interesting happening throughout the whole book, and I found myself trying to read it as fast as possible so I can find out what happens next.

The characters in this book had changed immensely from what they were in the first book. Eona still frustrated me, but this time I understood where she was coming from. She had so many secrets to keep and she didn’t know what to do with them. Not only that, but Ryko and Dela were pressuring her in one way, to have Ido and Kygo tempting and pressuring her in other ways. I did though like that Eona took action in what she thought was right, but that doesn’t mean it actually was right. Trust and secrets were a big theme in this book, with everyone having secrets of some sort. Lord Ido again had a main part, but this time  I didn’t know what side he was on. We got to get to know more about him, and honestly, I loved reading about his character because you could never know what was going to happen with him. He also had a big influence on Eona’s decisions and plans most of which threatened her relationships with others.

There was another thing, there was romance in this book, in the form of a love triangle. I normally don’t like love triangles, and I usually do bank for one instead of the other. However, throughout this story I didn’t know who to bank for.

As I mentioned before, trust and secrets was probably the most predominant theme in the book. Most of the problems that arose were due to the secrets that some people did or didn’t know. As they became unraveled one by one, turmoil spread between the group of main characters. We learn more about Kinra and the dragons, as well as Eona’s powers which Eona has to decide what to do with. As a reader, even I felt the pressure that Eona had to go through and the influence from several characters. Alison Goodman’s writing was able to compel me to think one way, only to have another character change my mind. The book had a big buildup due to this, for what I think was a great ending.

The ending was great and was the perfect way to end this book. It was left kind of open, but was still able to give closure. Overall, the plot, combined with Goodman’s compelling writing made the book a really gripping read. I didn’t like the romance as much, but that could be due to the characters involved. This story may have been told over two books, but it feels like one story, with this book picking up right where the last one left off. The ending was perfect and I’m glad that I got to read this duology on this truly unique world. It is unlike any other YA book I know and you should definitely give it a try. Plus the artwork on the cover is so beautiful – I would love to have this cover on my shelves rather than the Australian one if I were to buy it from here.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman Review

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

Da700946te Published: December 26th 2008

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Length: 531 (hardcover)

Source: Borrowed

Summary: 

Also Known As: Two Pearls of Wisdom, Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye, and Eon (All the same book just published with different publishers)

Swordplay, dragon magic–and a hero with a desperate secret.

Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye–an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic…and her life.

Now…ON TO THE REVIEW!

This was a very interesting book to say the least.The main character, Eon, or who is later known as Eona is thrust into the middle of the dangerous world of wealth status, and of course, the politics that come with it. Adding on to that, Eon (I’m going to refer to him as Eon, as that is what he identifies with for most of the story) has recently been given the power of the mighty dragons and has to keep his secret – that he is actually a 16-year old girl instead of a 12-year old boy.

Going in to this book, it was a little bit slow. For the first half of the story, I almost felt bored because of this. This is probably due to the fact that there was quite a bit of world building, and I have to say, I LOVE the world that it is set in. The writing itself was rather descriptive, probably another reason for the slow start.

Going back to the world building, all I can say is ‘wow!’ It is not often that YA books use an Eastern/Asian inspired fantasy world, and it was very refreshing to read about it and learn about it. But what made this world unique was the people and the culture of this world – how gender wasn’t really one or the other. Lady Dela a contraire, and Moon Shadows are examples of this, and how the influence of the Sun and Moon affect this. Also I loved the new take on dragons, and how they, along with their dragoneyes protect the land and the bond between them.

The characters were different to those typical of YA books. There was no romance in this novel, which is understandable, as it’s hard to have a romantic interest when everyone sees you as a boy. Another thing is that we don’t see that many significant characters and those that were, were complex and all had their own stories that made me understand them in a way. My favourite character would have to be Lady Dela. She, being a contraire has experienced troubles and has been shunned because of her twin-souled nature. Her along with Ryko provide the very kind of support that Eon needed throughout the book, as he is always trying to hide any bit of femininity he has left. However she is not the only character like this, and I consider this book to be very diverse. Eon himself, was at times an aggravating character. He was quite closed off and self-doubting, it did not help that he was weighed down by the standards of the other dragoneyes, which he was determined to live up to which actually hindered him from becoming the dragoneye he strived to be  (if that makes sense).

The last hundred pages or so were full of action, and I spent the night under my covers finishing it, as I couldn’t pull away from it. The plot became deeper and more three-dimensional and I can’t wait to see how it ends. The better part of the plot though (I think) is going to come up in the next book and I need to know how it is going to pan out.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I did not however love it, as at times i was frustrated at it. The world that Alison Goodman created was beautiful and it was obvious a lot of research went into it. It had a lot of diversity despite the patriarchal nature of the society. I would have however liked to see more of the dragons in the next book as we didn’t see much of them in this one due to Eon’s problem..I am anxious to see what happens in the next book – so be sure to have it on hand when you’re reading this one. I also want to know more about Kinra and the Mirror Dragon, you’ll know what I mean when you read the book..

I rate it 3.5 out of 5.