Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne…

I am always slightly precarious when reviewing a very well-known author or book series. But still, i must say this is one i am quite happy to review.

Of course, almost everyone knows the Harry Potter series and a huge number of people have read it and love the characters involved. i like the series and think that J.K. Rowling is a great storyteller. She is just brilliant at weaving in little details which turn out to be a key plot point later in the story. Now she had help with this one – John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. While i am not familiar with these authors/playwrights, i know that together the three of them have written an amazing sequel to the Harry Potter series.

harrypotterCursedChild20180110We start off where we left off at the end of Deathly Hallows, on Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross station, with Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermonie seeing their children off to Hogwarts.

i won’t give away too much (in case there are people who have not read this but still want to). i will tell you what i like about this story.

i like the variety in the characters of the children. i do wish there was more time to explore each of their little personalities but it is a play and there isn’t.

i love the idea of Harry’s son, Albus, becoming firm friends with Malfory’s son, Scorpius. This leads to Harry and Malfory having to work together to get their sons out of trouble. It is nice to see that Malfory has a number of redeeming qualities, which wasn’t clearly seen in the previous books.

There is lots of time travel involved in this one. I can never wrap my mind fully around the going backwards and forwards and how historical events are affected but if you just suspend your disbelieve and confusion for a while, simply go with it, it is an amazing ride through time.

Of course, “you-know-who” is mentioned and this time evil takes an altogether unexpected form. i still am not sure how i feel about this character (not giving too much away) who is so closely linked to Voldemort, because her motivations are still a little unclear, even at the end.

This was a quick read for me, mainly because it is a script and not a novel, which means little scene setting and descriptions, mostly dialogues. But they were good, well-written dialogues which really carried the story.

Now i just wish i could have watched this play actually performed. i’m sure the set designs were fantastic, and i would have loved to see how they manage the time-travel sequences.

One question hangs in my mind – who exactly is the Cursed Child? Was it Albus Potter? i had thought so at the beginning and Albus himself seemed to think so. But when i finished reading, i changed my mind. If you have read this already, what do you think?

syc

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Book Review: The Book Thief… Markus Zusak…

This is a book i was a bit apprehensive about when i bought it. The premise is a great one, but i wasn’t sure how i would like it, hearing a story from Death himself.

thebookthief20171018i finished it. Actually, i looked forward to reading more about Death each time i opened the book. Death is such an interesting character in this story. Zusak has created a Death who is more human than many humans throughout history has shown themselves to be. And because of who Death is in this story, you believe it and are drawn into it that much more.

Of course, Liesel is the main character and i was wholly immersed into her world and her reality, which was a really harsh one, from beginning to end. i love how much books played a part in making her life more bearable; how they gave her strength and was a tool for her to reach the people around her.

Zusak has given a perspective of the Second World War which i think not many have stopped to consider before; certainly, i haven’t. He makes you so aware that no matter which side you are on in a war, there are innocent casualties on both sides; that life became hard for people on both sides, that children on both sides do suffer the most in conflict.

i’m not going to say anything about the storyline because i think it is a story worth discovering for yourself. i think it suffices to say that i was sad, i was horrified, i smiled a little, my heart stopped a couple of beats, my faith in humanity was at the same time destroyed and restored.

i hope and pray that we will never see war on such a scale ever again and i pray really hard that all the conflict currently afflicting our world will end somehow, as soon as possible. i pray for those who are currently affected by the horrors of war and i ask God to bring them peace in the midst of terrible circumstances.

syc

Book Review: Shakespeare… by Bill Bryson…

i love Bill Bryson’s books! They are funny and insightful at the same time, always. His writing is so honest and humourous, i always have laugh-out-loud moments. i have read quite a number of them already but this is my first review of a Bill Bryson book.

i like my books and i like my classics and of course, i like Shakespeare. i will admit that if i had not studied Shakespeare at school, i would be a bit intimidated or at least i would find the language tiresome to read. But i did study Shakespeare at school and in some detail, so i have come to like the way Shakespeare writes and his myriad of characters.

51q2bgmu-mrl-_sx324_bo1204203200_In this book, Bryson tries to de-mystify the person who is Shakespeare. There have been many assumptions made about Shakespeare, mainly because he lived in a time when written records of persons were not well kept. There was no google or digital database where you could find lots on any one person.

Bryson writes in a matter-of-fact voice about a rather matter-of-fact subject; a famous man’s life, and yet, i still found myself smiling at various points in the book.

He lays it out quite clearly, and with some authority, about how life was during Shakespeare’s lifetime and how inaccurate things can be when passed down through word of mouth, and how, even eye-witness accounts, or what claims to be eye-witness accounts, can turn out to be untrue.

i have to say that after reading this book, my romanticised view of Shakespeare has been shuttered, but in a good way. Shakespeare wasn’t some rich boy who had all the resources in the world and could spend his days writing and not worrying about daily life. He was a man who had to work his way up to be recognised, and yes, he was fortunate that many things fell his way but still he did not have it easy and he had gotten himself into some measure of trouble in his day.

So if you would like to know more about Shakespeare the man, but don’t have time to wade through more high-brow works on the man, then pick up this book and have a fun time learning about Shakespeare, the theater and life during the 16th and 17th centuries.

syc