Tag Archives: book review

Review of Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

 

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YES! There’s going to be another Harry Potter book!

That was my reaction last year when I heard that there was going to be an eighth Harry Potter book. As a child of the 90s, I grew up reading… no, devouring, the Harry Potter series. I fell in love with the characters. I loved Harry Potter, Hagrid, Hermione, Luna Lovegood, Snape, even Voldemort. Even though I am not a wizard, I felt like I could totally relate to the characters in the series. I remember reading one book and then waiting anxiously, excitedly for the next book to come out.

But when it came time for the seventh book to come out, I was eighteen and graduating from high school. The end of the Harry Potter series was, at least for me, the end of my childhood. It was such a powerful moment.

And now, nine years later, we see the eighth Harry Potter book. This time, we see Harry Potter as an adult, married, and with three kids. Similarly, I graduated, have a child, and in a relationship with a man that I love. But besides that, I was so excited to see what became of Harry Potter.

We saw Harry Potter as an adult in the epilogue of the seventh book but I wanted more details. What did he do for a living? What kind of father, and husband, was he? What did Ron do? Hermione? I always imagined nothing but the best for Hermione, although I was a bit surprised to find out that she became Minister of Magic… I always imagined that she would be advocating for house elves, goblins, and muggles.

I was also surprised to find out that Ron Weasley took over his brothers’ joke shop. But then, I suppose it is only natural. After the death of Fred Weasley at the Battle of Hogwarts, I suppose that George needed some help with the joke shop. Speaking of… there was no mention of any of the Weasley’s, except for Ron and Ginny of course. I wanted to know what happened to Bill, Charlie, Percy, and their parents. But then again, this eighth story is the story about Harry Potter and his son, Albus Severus. Again, we don’t see that much of Harry’s other kids, James Sirius and Lily Luna.

We do see them on King’s Cross though, every year as they depart for Hogwarts. I like how the play starts off where the seventh book ended, with the epilogue. It was nostalgic to read the very first act and very first scene and find that it was pretty similar to the epilogue. I could not help but see the film replay itself before my very eyes (yes, I’ve seen the HP films that much). Also, starting the eighth story with the epilogue reminds us of how the seventh book left off. It uses some of the plot points that Rowling carefully plotted in the epilogue, such as Albus Severus’s fear of being sorted into Slytherin and then discovering that he has, in fact, been placed into Slytherin house.

While I would have loved to see an explanation for why that was (I can only guess that he chose that house because that’s the house that Scorpius was placed into), the eighth Harry Potter story is a play. A play has dialogue and very little description, unlike the rest of the Harry Potter novels. While it was interesting to read Harry Potter in a vastly different format from the other books, I still found myself missing Rowling’s long flowing descriptions.

The dialogue itself read really well. The dialogue read similar to the dialogue from the seven Harry Potter books. I also felt that the dialogue was true to the characters. I only wish that there were more descriptions. But since there wasn’t, I had to imagine the play in my head and try to fill all the empty gaps.

There was a couple of gaps in time when the play fast forwarded through the kids’ years at Hogwarts, until we were in Albus Severus’ fourth year. That is when everything started to happen. I admit that I was disappointed that we did not get to see exactly what went down during the first three years of Albus Severus’ time at Hogwarts. But again, it’s a play and there’s only so much description that you can put in.

But the play really takes off with Albus Severus’ fourth year of Hogwarts with a time turner. It was nice to learn more about this elusive device. We only briefly touched upon them in the third book when Hermione used it to go to more than one class at a time. And then, all of the time turners were destroyed at the Department of Mysteries.

But the way that the time turner was used to go back in time to Harry Potter history (specifically, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) to save Cedric. But of course, as we all know, if you meddle with time, you can change the future. And change they did (Albus Severus and Scorpius).

This caused them to meddle with time again to try to reverse their actions. Turns out that if Cedric had not died, then he would have became a death eater, Harry Potter would be dead, and Voldemort would still be alive and ruling the wizarding world.

To be honest, I think this was a bit too fan-fiction for my taste. But that wasn’t a big deal because I’m just glad that there is another Harry Potter book and I got to see Harry Potter and Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger all grown up with kids. I only wish that I could have seen the play live in London. Though I hear that it might be coming to Broadway and possibly being made into a film and then.. just maybe.. there might be a DVD available.

Well, one can hope.

Tell me your thoughts below! Have you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Did you like it? Dislike it? Did it live up to the original?

 

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Divergent Book Series

Earlier this month, I posted my 2016 to-read list. This includes (e-)books that I bought but never read, as well as (e-)books that I’ve tried to read but never finished. If you recall, I created two posts, this one and this one. One of these posts lists all of my physical books that I plan on reading and the other one my e-books.

The first of these books that I read is the Divergent Series. I’ve actually read the first Divergent and watched the first and second film adaptations that came out. But, I never finished reading the second book, Insurgent, or started reading the third one, Allegiant.

However, I am happy to say that I can now finally say that I have completely finished reading the entire series… and it feels good!

Here are my thoughts in the aftermath of my reading bliss.

Divergent:

I love how the book starts off, even focuses heavily on the Choosing Ceremony. It is a topic that is relatable to most of us, but on a much more terrifying level. How do you choose which faction to be in, knowing that there is no going back? How do you leave your family, knowing that you may never see them again? How do you ultimately make these life changing decisions?

And as we know, Tris’s  decision is compounded by the fact that she is Divergent and has aptitude for more than one faction. Instead of telling her where she belongs, she now has to choose for herself where she wants to be. It’s even more devastating knowing that something that’s supposed to be reliable failed on you and now you have to choose and grow up in one night.

Ultimately, I love the fact that book is told from Tris’s point of view. She’s vulnerable but at the same time she has a certain amount of inner strength which comes out when she joins her new faction. She’s able to experiment, test her strength and limitations. She changes through the course of the book, definitely, and the conclusion of the book tests her.

Insurgent:

This is the second book in the series. It picks up right where Divergent left off. I found that this book was particularly instrumental in giving background information about the characters, the factions, and, perhaps more importantly, the factionless. We see and learn more about the other factions and how they function. We learn how they continue to function in the face of war. We learn who the true allies are. We also learn more about the fence that surrounds the city… why is it locked from the outside and not the inside?

Allegiant:

This book was told from both Tris and Tobias’ points of views. I thought that was a useful tactic in giving a more holistic picture. Had the book just be written from Tris’ point of view, like the first two, we would not have gained a more comprehensive view of Tobias and his parents.

What I liked most about this book was when the characters finally leave the city and find out about the experiment. It helps to answer the constant question of the need for the gate. It lets us know that there is another world beyond the city, however damaged it has become. We also learn why people are Divergent and the reason for it. This book helps to answer the questions that were asked since the first one.

However said it was, I thought it was refreshing that Tris ultimately sacrificed herself. I’ve seen too many books that end with a happy ending with the happy couple walking away into the sunset. The fact that this book shows Tris almost as a martyr makes the situation even more devastating. It also paves the way for the theme of hope to resonate toward the end of the book. Bad things happen. That sucks. But it’s up to us to move forward and get on with life. Hope is the strongest arsenal in anyone’s possession.

For anyone who’s interested, the books are available on Amazon.

Have you read these books? Would love to hear your thoughts!