Archive for the ‘Good Reads’ Tag

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2   2 comments

 

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MrsMowryI feel like I must start this post with a disclaimer…I am an avid Harry Potter fan. I spent my childhood attending midnight book releases at Barnes and Noble and sitting in lines for hours to see movie premieres. I recently cleaned out my closet and found more than 10 Harry Potter shirts…and forced myself to donate the one that really didn’t fit. It wasn’t easy. With all of this in mind, it’s hard to write a non-biased review of a new addition to a series I already love, but here goes nothing.

 

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

I’ll start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself into the Harry Potter world once again. These are characters I know and love, and some of my issues with the plot were easy to ignore when I had the chance to read these old names on new pages.

The script picks up right where the books finish, opening with the Potter and Granger-Weasley families shepherding their children onto the Hogwarts Express. From there, we’re taken on an adventure across time, literally, starring Harry’s moody and petulant son, Albus. A member of Slytherin, Albus has been convinced by Delphi Diggory, cousin of Cedric Diggory, that Cedric’s life needs to be saved in order to get some of the blood off of Harry’s hands (um, what?).  In order to carry out this death wish, Albus, Delphi, and Scorpio (Malfoy’s son) break into the Ministry of Magic to steal one of the only remaining Time Turners from Hermione, the Minister of Magic. From here, the story takes on the qualities of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The trio travel back in time three times, suffering the consequences that occur when a small change in the past drastically changes the future: Voldemort World, Cedric the Death Eater, and Ron and Hermione’s tragic lost love. Albus and Scorpious must find a way to fix the future with the help of our original favorite trio, while facing a new and incredibly dangerous enemy, one who was a friend.

While each separate adventure had its own bit of fun, I found the idea of the plot to be a little contrived. I know that this is a script, and therefore has a different life when it’s not being performed on a stage (as it is intended), but the idea of Cedric becoming a Death Eater because he was humiliated by his loss at the Triwizard Tournament seemed ludicrous to me. I also really hated the idea that Ron and Hermione would have remained friends just because they didn’t have a fight at the Yule Ball. At times it felt like this play was created purely to help us wade in a bit of nostalgia, bringing back old characters we loved and loved to hate and giving them a moment to shine again. The worst of which was Ron Weasley: we all love Ron because he’s a bit of a doofus. However, Ron’s character in this script was a complete joke. He was turned into an idiot with terrible timing, a feeble demeanor, and sub par dad jokes. After seven novels, I felt like Ron was not a static character. As he faced each challenge with Harry and Hermione, he grew to become a more skilled and capable wizard. Now he feels like the version of Ron we met on the Hogwarts Express as an 11-year-old, in other words, a buffoon. Not my favorite.

Some of the altered futures however, were amazing to imagine. When Umbridge shows up in Scorpio’s face, demanding he stop fooling around in the lake and help her celebrate Voldemort Day, I was giddy. Yes, that meant the tragic death of everyone we loved from the original series, but the world was so dark and fascinating. The Nazi-esque Death Eaters chanting “For Voldemort and Valor!” To one another was pretty exciting. I’m not a Slytherin myself, but I enjoyed the new version of Hogwarts, complete with muggle murder dungeons and Dementors as castle guests.

In the unaltered reality, I loved Hermione in all of her glory. She felt like the star of the play, and after the horrible race issues surrounding the casting of her role, I felt even more pride for how amazing her character is. Hermione is the new Minister of Magic. She’s powerful, but kind, skilled but humble, and a caring boss. She understands the seriousness of the situation and uses collaboration to save the day. She is by far the best character of the series, and luckily HPATCC doesn’t change that.

Finally, and most importantly, I loved that this play was still filled with magic. It is no easy feat to put on a show filled with magic spells, disappearing humans, flying wizards, and characters walking around stage with their exact replicas, and yet, HPATCC does it all. Reading the script, even with its flaws, made me want to see the show even more than I already did. From what I’ve heard, it is a truly magical experience.

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Posted August 20, 2016 by mrsmowry in Reading

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Good Read: The Night Circus   2 comments

Night CircusOne advantage of having an English teacher in the family is that MrsMowry reads everything, and I can follow her recommendations.

This particular recommendation, however, was echoed by the engineer, making it a very strong recommendation, indeed. Since he’s only recently begun to read, I had no idea he had actually finished a book, much less formed an opinion of one.

The Night Circus is the debut novel of Erin Morgenstern. The book began as a project for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, and has proven to be a worthy effort, indeed. The book was published in 2011, and spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, peaking at # 2. Film rights have been sold, and a project is currently in development.

The circus arrives without warning.

The tale of a circus that is open from Nightfall to Dawn proves to be more than an amusement. More than a mystery. And the characters find that it’s more than they bargained for in Le Cirque des Reves (the circus of dreams).

Generally, I don’t like books about magic & fantasy. I’ve always felt that if reality can be altered to fit any of the author’s flights of fancy, then the result is always less than satisfying. I didn’t like Euripides when he used deus ex machina, and I don’t like books about magic. The Night Circus, however, proved to be a different kind of tale.

The book was more romance than magic, more mystery than fantasy. Set at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century (and do pay close attention to the dates that are cited at the beginning of every chapter!), the book follows the growth of two star-crossed young magicians who have been bound together by their mentors. What that binding means – and who it involves – is the mystery that propels the book forward.

One of my favorite revelations is in a discussion  about why magical secrets are not revealed. The magician wisely reports that the magic will dissipate in the telling, and I believe truer words were never spoken!

If you haven’t read The Night Circus, you need to find a copy. You won’t regret it!

 

Posted February 27, 2016 by henrymowry in Reading

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