Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J K Rowling)

Rowling, J K - Harry Potter #2 and the Chamber of Secrets

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: Harry Potter (#2) and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J K Rowling
Genre: Fiction / YA/ Fantasy    Pages: 251
First published: 1998
Edition: Paperback, published in 1999 by Bloomsbury Paperbacks

So after all these years I am finally re-reading the Harry Potter series, and you are not going to be pleased with me regarding this particular book. I already knew this was not my favourite of the Harry Potter series and that remains the case. I feel it is the weakest book. The tone is already a bit darker than the first book and I feel it is definitely less fun.

Let’s start with the things I do like. Simply put,  I do really like the characters and the overall plot. But to be honest,  I want to talk about the things I do not like. I do not like the way Rowling writes her overweight characters. They are always stupid or nasty. She always goes on about Dudley’s fat face or fat neck, same goes for Crabbe and/or Goyle,  and even Hagrid, who is written to be not the cleverest of men. There are no nice clever overweight characters as far as I can tell. That would not bother me so much if she did not emphasize the fact that they are fat every time she talks about an overweight character. I found it really bothered me.

Then of course there is the incompetence of the Hogwarths teachers. Why do the students always need to solve all the problems? If Dumbledore is so clever, why is he so blind to everything that is going at Hogwarts right under his nose? The mind boggles.

Overall, I did enjoy the read. Of course, a younger audience would not care about the above issues at all. But for me, this Harry Potter instalment does fall short.

That is not to say I do not like this series as a whole, but this one is just a bit meh.

4 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ( J K Rowling)

Rowling, J K - #1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Author: J K Rowling
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Middle Grade
First published: 1997
Edition: Paperback, published in 1998 by Bloomsbury

2018 update (★★★★★☆☆)
Listening to this book twice (courtesy of our daughter) over the course of a two-week holiday during long car rides I started noticing some annoying things in this book. The fact that rules for Quidditch absolutely make no sense for instance. Also, the bit behind the trapdoor seem badly designed, etc. Still a wonderful book though and I love how much my six-year-old daughter is into it now.

2017 review (★★★★★★☆)
I finally decided to re-read the Harry Potter series. I read it only once before, this particuarly one almost twenty years ago, so it was about time.

I enjoyed Philosopher’s Stone a lot this time around. This is such an incredibly charming book. The characters are wonderful, the story is pure magic and it is simply a phenomenon of its time. So many people grew up loving this series that is hard not be a little bit biased.

The one thing that bugs me about this first book in the series is that if Dumbledore is so clever, how does he not realise how oddly his teachers are behaving? Surely he would have noticed and investigated? And how does he let Snape get away with behaving like a spoiled brat in general and being so petty? I just do not get it and seriously, it annoys me a little…

Apart from that, this is a wonderful book and I am sure my daughter will love reading it in a few years’ time.

I am looking forward to re-reading the rest soon.

6 out of 7 stars

 

 

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Cuckoo’s Calling (Robert Galbraith)

Galbraith, Robert - Cormoran Strike 1 The Cuckoo's Calling

★★★★☆☆☆

Title:  The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
Genre: Fiction/Crime/Mystery
First published: 2013
Edition: Paperback, TV tie-in edition published by Sphere in 2017

My friend’s choice to read for our ‘Ladies’ Reading Circle’, as she loved the TV show.

I was looking forward to reading this. A crime/mystery was what I needed, I thought, and I started reading this quite happily.

I would say I really enjoyed the first quarter of the book and then it started to drag a bit. First, the good bits. The character building is quite good in the case of Cormoran Strike, less so with Robin, I feel. I did connect with the story and and I did care what happened to the main characters, but…

The story started to drag about a third into the book. At 550 pages, I think it could have been condensed quite a bit and would have made a much better read. The conclusion was not that surprising and there simply did not seem to be enough twists for my taste.

On a minor note, I got a bit annoyed how the author had a tendency to change POV mid-page without a break. Just a blank line would have done the trick. Maybe that is an editing issue more than a writing issue, but it still bugged me for some reason.

Overall, although it is not a bad book, I was a bit disappointed with this book and I doubt I will be buying the sequels any time soon.

4 out of 7 stars

 

Books · Currently Reading

‘Currently Reading ‘ Update #10

At the moment I am reading three books; still one too many!

I am doing two buddy reads at the moment.

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 2 The Great HuntThe first one is The Great Hunt, #2 in The Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan. That’s a buddy read for the Fantasy Buddy Reads group on Goodreads. It’s a re-read, so it makes it kind of nice and relaxing. Bonus is that I actually do really love this book! Jordan’s writing is a little repetitive sometimes. Everyone is always scowling or ‘tugging her braid’, which makes me roll my eyes sometimes, but apart from that, I am loving reading it again.  It is almost 700 pages though…

Galbraith, Robert - Cormoran Strike 1 The Cuckoo's CallingThe second I am buddy reading with a couple of real-life friends (yes, they exist!) and that’s The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (who is actually J K Rowling of Harry Potter fame). We were looking for a book to read together and my friend Mer said she had bought this book as she was enjoying the TV Series and was about to start reading it. Well, what better excuse can there be? I am a couple of chapters in and I kind of like it. I never noticed what a peculiar way of writing J K Rowling has until reading this book. I can’t quite point my finger on what it is, but there is something about her sentence construction or her tone… or something… it’s a little odd.

Selderhuis, German - Martin LutherFinally, I am reading Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography by Herman Selderhuis. It’s a non-fiction book I am reading via my Kindle app courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. I wanted to read it, because theology fascinates me. Religion has no place in my own daily life, but I find it tremendously interesting how it fits into other people’s. Martin Luther is such a big figure in the history of Christianity that I was keen to read it. So far I am finding it easy to read and very interesting.

What are you reading?