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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8) – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8) – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack ThorneTitle: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8) by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
Publishing Info: July 31, 2016 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 4, 2016
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7)

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.

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Obviously there are a lot of mixed emotions before starting the infamous eighth Harry Potter book. Naturally I was excited — because it’s Harry freakin’ Potter — but I also just didn’t quite feel as excited as I thought I should be. Before picking up the bound version of the play (since I guess we really shouldn’t be calling it a book as it was never intended to be an actual book), I knew there were a few things that were hindering my excitement that I ultimately expected to affect my overall enjoyment of the experience (and in fact, they all did play a part in that). I knew that J.K. Rowling was involved in the plot and creation of CURSED CHILD, but ultimately, it was not her writing on the page. I knew that I was going to be reading a rehearsal script for the play and that the formatting might throw off my experience. And I knew that I’d be reading about adult Harry, Ron, Hermione, and company and I didn’t know if I’d like where their characters were in their adult lives since we had some pretty cheesy things happen in the epilogue of DEATHLY HALLOWS, and that actually was J.K. Rowling’s writing.

The short version of this review is that CURSED CHILD was kind of all over the place for me. The overall plot was interesting and I really, really loved certain parts but other parts of it just seemed so… I guess amateur is the best word I can think of at the moment, although that seems quite harsh. We’ve grown to love J.K. Rowling’s stories and how detailed they are and there were just certain things about CURSED CHILD that didn’t seem like they were plotted out very well. Other parts seemed completely random and totally uncharacteristic of the series. The overall concept of this story of the next generation was a really interesting concept but seemingly poorly executed. This was like cramming multiple books into one book (or I suppose, one play) and concepts were sort of flying all over the place. It was really fun to see things from the original series turn up but other times, the references back to the original series was very cheesy or just plain inaccurate. Small inaccuracies in some parts (it was “Happee Birthdae” not “Happy Birthday”), and some big timeline disagreements in others but it’s Harry freakin’ Potter. You don’t think the fandom will pick up on these? (They totally did.) It was just things like that that really made me feel like this was sloppily put together and that these playwrights who put the CURSED CHILD play together were missing some really core feelings and elements of the series.

I knew that I was going to be reading a script when I started and it was definitely a unique experience but I think the format lost a LOT in translation. There was less atmosphere, less dialogue, and less development which obviously you’ll get through the actors of the play and you won’t see in a rehearsal script. I just felt like I lost so much not READING those reactions, nuances, tone of voice, sensory descriptions — I mean, really a little of everything that brings the world of Harry Potter to life. Some of that is included in the script notes but the atmosphere is greatly lost because of the format. I mean, obviously this was specifically adapted for a play and that’s how they wanted to tell this story… But I really, really wish it had been developed into an actual book instead of just giving us the rehearsal script. There was so much more of this story to tell! Things would have been a lot less cheesy if they had been developed or explained. (Although some things I’ll never get over. They were just weird.) Everything felt really, really rushed and I would have rather had a simpler plot with more development instead of bursting from scene to scene. There was no time to really absorb anything and that also left very little room for character development. I don’t care if we already know the majority of these characters — they still need to have a personality.

I also didn’t feel like the characters were well-represented at all. Part of it may be because they’re so much older… But a lot of them felt far off from their younger counter-parts (although I’ve changed exponentially since I was 17 so… fair enough in some respects) but I hated that Ron came off the way he did. He was such a lump and a putz with little personality and he was essentially was Hermione’s lesser half. Hermione was a stronger personality, as she usually is, but I feel like even she lost a lot of her logic and wisdom… How do you LOSE wisdom over the years? Harry was always a bit all over the place for me so that was about the same and Ginny was a total movie Ginny, not book Ginny. (Ugh.) The main adult characters (the aforementioned) seemed so stiff and one-dimensional which is hard to bear after spending a full series with them, reading the series multiple times, and watching the movies over and over. We know these characters. They are our childhood. They are our friends. We grew up with them. To see them underdeveloped and misrepresented in a sequel like this just felt so uncaring. There were also a few characters from the series who make appearances (though I won’t reveal who they were) and some were AWESOME and some were confusing, to say the least.
There was a weird sexual tension between the Albus and Scorpius (which I thought was just me at first but there are tons of THINGS all over Buzzfeed and Tumblr about this so I’m not alone) and I honestly thought it was going to be revealed that one had a crush on the other, or that they both shared romantic feelings. That would have been fine expect for the fact that it didn’t happen and I was confused by them always bringing up hugging and the deep friendship feelings which when described really sounded like something more than just a deep platonic friendship bond.

It was so great to see the future for Harry Potter but I just really feel a little let down by a short story. Some of it was so much fun. Parts made me cry. Some made me laugh. But I also had moments where I scratched my head, questioned a lot, and even laughed out loud (not in a good way). Some of it was suuuuper cheesy and I can see why people said it read as fanfic. Overall, it felt messy and rushed and the more I think about it and discuss it, the more I realize that I’m more disappointed than excited about the development. I would have loved to see this really developed in a novel or in a series. We needed so much more time with Albus to understand him a little better. I would have loved to see this great friendship between the two boys and their complicated friendship with Rose (oh, and don’t get me started about her role in the end of the book. An even cheesier way to wrap things up. Yay). I always love more time at Hogwarts. I would have loved to see those little clues along the way to the big reveal. I was okay with what the plot WAS (except for some parts) but it really just needed way more development. I kind of feel like if it can’t be done well, best to leave it alone, and I don’t think CURSED CHILD did justice to this series at all.

We did beg for an eighth book though… so I guess beggars can’t be choosers?

But now can we beg for an Ilvermorny series, pretty please? (Will I ever learn my lesson?)

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Albus // Character obsessions: Fighting with his father, being moody, wallowing.
Albus really took after his father (if we’re talking about moody Harry from OotP). It was hard to read about him at times because he was presented as moody, difficult, and misunderstood right off the bat. Sure, I can handle that just fine BUT it didn’t seem like there was a justifiable reason for him to be so outright surly and that was the hard part. He seemed to be negative all the time.
Ron // Character obsessions: Food, following, fancies.
So Ron now runs the joke shop (did they say what happened to George? Heart isn’t into it?) but Ron is apparently the joke of this play. After everything he’s been through, the friendships he’s formed, the courage and strength and pride he found in himself, why is Ron such a putz in CURSED CHILD? He’s the butt of the jokes, makes lots of corny jokes that people laugh at just to make him feel better, and he has no personality at all. He’s basically the husband of Hermione Granger while Hermione is off being Minister of Magic (which was clumsily put together too) and it was just such a let down. He lost all that magic and sparkle that I loved in his character and was such a lump.

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Kept Me Hooked On: NEW Harry Potter. I’ll always be excited for new Harry Potter and CURSED CHILD was so exciting.
Left Me Wanting More: Magic. To put it simply, I needed more of that Harry Potter magic. It was missing from the plot, the writing, the characters, the structure. Really just everything. This didn’t do it for me at all. I won’t pretend it doesn’t exist but I feel like it needs justice and there should be a new story (NOT a play) to follow it up to make some things right. (Not just because I’m greedy. It can’t end like that.)

Addiction Rating
Read it… with hesitation

I still think this is worth the read for Harry Potter fans. Despite my lengthy, griping review, I actually did enjoy the experience. It was mediocre for me but I can’t NOT read a book that’s set in the Harry Potter universe (that’s an official work of J.K. Rowling). I think I’ll be more excited for Fantastic Beasts, though, as it’s far removed from the original series as far as plot goes.

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BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD

(Click the cover to see my review!)

NANTUCKET BLUE    alanna

If You Liked… Harry Potter!

12 BOOKS TO READ
IF YOU LIKED HARRY POTTER

I’ve done a few of these “If You Liked…” guides now and I figured it was finally time to put together a recommendation list for people who have read and loved Harry Potter! I always see recommendation lists around on the internet (especially on Pinterest!) and it seems like the same suggestions over and over again, many of which consist of middle grade books geared towards the younger readers who have maybe just read Harry Potter for the first time. Don’t get me wrong — that’s not a bad thing. I love that those recommendations are out there and clearly I’m all for adults reading whatever books and “age range” they want to (I AM a advocate of YA after all) but still I’m not much of a middle grade reader and the recommendations that I keep seeing seem to be more middle grade fantasy series.  I wanted to come up with some new recommendations too — recommendations geared more towards the adults who grew up with Harry Potter and are looking for new series to fall in love with (which is why you won’t see any Percy Jackson on my list)! Harry Potter is SUCH a big fandom and was really big part of people’s childhoods and still held dear in their adult lives, so my suggestions included in this post are books and series that I think life-long Harry Potter fans will be able to fall in love with and get (almost) just as invested in! These are some of my biggest fandoms, favorite characters, and most amazing fantasy worlds. If you grew up loving Harry Potter and are looking for a new book or series to become invested in, I hope you’ll find some of that same magic in these books!


if you liked harry potter


IF YOU LIKED HARRY POTTER…

Try… SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Aside from Harry Potter, The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo was one of the first fantasy series I really got into. I was never a big Lord of the Rings person and besides HP, I hadn’t really read much fantasy so I THOUGHT I wasn’t a fan. Once I started SHADOW AND BONE, I fell head over heels for the books and the genre! Leigh Bardugo is an amazing writing and the magic system and amazing fantasy world in this series are so well done! I’ve become wholly invested AND all three books are already out in case you want to read the whole series back to back to back! Plus, there’s an excellent school for magic in here!

Try… MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

MISTBORN was one of the first adult fantasy series I really fell in love with… and let me tell you, I could NOT put these books down. Despite their length (not TOO bad. Depending on the version you’re reading, about 550-600 pages), I totally inhaled them and ended up reading the second and third books back-to-back because I just couldn’t stop! The magic system is really interesting and the characters are just wonderful. I like to think of this as a sort of “crossover” in between YA and adult because one of the main characters, Vin,  is in her late teens and the other characters are all adults. (They even released a new edition of the book under Tor Teen when it was originally published as adult, so even the publishers are spanning both YA and adult.) She learns the ropes of the magical rules and properties and really starts to come into her own throughout the series. I included this as a recommendation because I immediately became hooked on learning how all of the magical properties worked and totally immersed myself into this fandom right away!

Try… THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Technically THE NAME OF THE WIND is also adult, but I like to think of it as another “crossover”. The book starts with the young life of main character Kvothe and the first and second books mainly span his time as an adolescent and young adult. The book spends most of its time in the University where Kvothe learns many skills and much magical prowess, but it also cuts back to the present day of the books where he’s now an adult. These books are amazing. Also quite long but each word is totally worth it. I absolutely love Kvothe and have become SO invested in him and his story! This is another fantasy recommendation I included for its fandom — I’m so deeply invested in this books and I’m obsessed with watching for updates about when the third book will be out!

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Try… THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

You may have seen news and flails for THRONE OF GLASS flying around (especially if you’re diving in head first into the book community!) and let me tell you, the obsessed fans are totally spot on with the praise for this fandom! The Throne of Glass series has grown to be so entertaining, detailed, unique, and fascinating. Admittedly, book one is actually my least favorite of the series but not because it’s not as good — it does a lot of setting up for the rest of the series (a six book series in all (seven if you include the bind-up of novellas) with book four set to release in September 2015) and I just think the series really takes off from THRONE OF GLASS! The characters, the plot, the magic — everything really grows so immensely and this series is so exciting! It’s another really big fandom out there right now and you can read the first three books and join us in flailing and trying to wait patiently for the rest of the series!

Try… THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA is definitely an adult recommendation (please don’t give this to your kids. LOTS of cursing) and oh boy, is it just a BLAST to read. This definitely felt like adult fantasy mixed with Ocean’s 11 and I just loved it. The characters are hilarious and also incredibly clever. Combined with the subtle magical elements (that end up playing a larger role in future books) and a picturesque fantasy world, THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA is a book I think adult fans would enjoy! I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this series and now I can’t stop reading them! Another series I just totally devoured until I was left waiting for the next book to be published.

Try… SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

SERAPHINA had a really great feel for me. It was the same sort of magical presence that I felt with Harry Potter and books like SHADOW AND BONE — the content isn’t necessarily similar but I was easily able to fall into this world and allow myself to get swept away by these characters and this story line. Seraphina is the title character who lives in a world where dragons live among the people… and can take human form. It’s an unsettling time in the human/dragon history and the events that take place in SERAPHINA were really just exciting and lovely and emotional to witness!

Try… CINDER by Marissa Meyer.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
CINDER is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer and oh, guys… it’s one of my favorite series of ALL TIME. It’s definitely more sci-fi than fantasy (though there is some magic involved, though it’s more scientifically-based) but it’s another one where this fandom just totally swept me away. Each book gets better and better (though CINDER is great from the beginning) and the layers of characters and layers of plot build with each book. This got me into some light sci-fi (the author said herself that she pulled inspiration from Star Wars and Sailor Moon) combined with fairy tale retellings and the result is positively addicting. The last book in the series, WINTER, releases November 2015 and I cannot tell you how much I’m anticipating its release!


Try… THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a bit more like the magic in Harry Potter — real-life magicians who have actual magical powers. THE NIGHT CIRCUS chronicles two magicians in particular and includes some stunning imagery, wonderful magic, and a heart-aching romance. If I had to pick one recommendation that really felt SIMILAR to Harry Potter, this would be the one! It lacks the magical school and full-on wizarding community, but it feels more like an adult take on the magical world as it is within the non-magical realm.

Try… THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I’m recommending THE STORYSPINNER because it was one of those books that just left me with a feeling after I had finished, much like the emotional connections I have to Harry Potter. I had finished the book and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had really becoming emotionally invested in the characters and also in each of the respective relationships. The plot set-up was excellent and the magical elements were introduced enough to see that there would be so much more in the books to come that I was so anxious to learn even more! THE STORYSPINNER was just released in March 2015 so we’ve got a lot more time to spend with this series!

Try… THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
THE RAVEN BOYS isn’t so much fantasy as the other recommendations on this list are (you’ll find more magical realism/paranormal/mythology), but I had to include it because along with Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles, and The Grisha Trilogy, this is one of my TOP TOP TOP fandoms. I just re-read THE RAVEN BOYS in preparation to do a series re-read before the last book in the series, THE RAVEN KING, comes out in 2016 and I fell in love all over again, much like I do each time I read Harry Potter. I’d say where HP has a strong world and plot that sweeps readers away, THE RAVEN BOYS accomplishes the same thing on an emotional level and I cannot recommend this series enough!

Try… DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a little bit of a different kind of magic, focusing more on an on-going war between angels and chimaera. I liked it for a Harry Potter recommendation here for its completely separate world. Only people with knowledge of Eretz (that’s the realm in which the seraphim and chimaera live) know how to enter or are allowed to go there, though the seraphim and chimaera have also been seen in the human world within the book. It’s a magical story, a love story, and an incredibly powerful tale of an epic war within a magical community. The writing was gorgeous and the story so powerful.

Try… STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
STEELHEART is another book by Brandon Sanderson (see MISTBORN above) but it’s also very different. This is a bit more sci-fi than fantasy, I’d say (we’re dealing with superheroes here… or supervillains, rather) but I liked it for fans of Harry Potter because of its overall feel. Main character David provides a lot of comic relief and I just loved his relationships with the other characters of the book. It reminded me of the friendship of the “Golden Trio” (though David’s a bit of a mix of Harry and Ron in most ways) and although the subject matters don’t directly align, I think the feel and topic would be great for HP fans!


So what do YOU think? Which books would you recommend for fans of Harry Potter? I was going more for the adults who have grown up with the series like I did, but I’m always looking for any recommendations or read alikes when it comes to HP! Would you second any of my picks?

I hope you enjoyed the post! If you’re looking for more reading guides or recommendations or more posts about Harry Potter, check out some of my links below! 

More reading guides and/or recommendations: 

More posts about Harry Potter: 

I Believe in American Hogwarts

If you’re a big Harry Potter fan, no doubt you’ve been keeping an eye out for news on the latest spin-off film adaptation, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film is currently in production and J.K. Rowling, master of mystery that she is, has been slowly but surely satiating our curiosity by dropping small hints about the movie. Me being the kind of person who used to keep up with the movie production of the feature films via MuggleNet back in the day and the teaser clues before the launch of Pottermore, I’ve started to feel a bit nostalgic and doubly excited about being able to experience the process all over again with Fantastic Beasts.

Just the other day, Rowling revealed to a fan on Twitter that there is in fact an American school for wizards just like Hogwarts and although Newt — in the film — meets someone in New York who has attended the [so far nameless] school, the school itself is not actually in New York. Potter-obsesser that I am, I started wondering where exactly this American Hogwarts might be located and what it might be called… along with all of the other possible magical places and rules tied into the American magical community.

LOCATION

We know that Hogwarts is located in a remote area in order to prevent Muggles and the like from stumbling upon this great, magical location. Sure, protective enchantments could hide the school in a city but I’d guess the American wizards would want to make it easier on themselves… J.K. also said that Native American magic helped found the school so here are my guesses for possible locations, keeping all of that in mind:

WYOMING. Wyoming is one of the least densely populated states in the country. It’s plenty gorgeous with mountain ranges and lush forests as well as wide open spaces. Who wouldn’t want to build a magical school in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming? You can literally travel for miles and not see another city much less another car on the highway… or did you just pass American Hogwarts and not even know it…?

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ALASKA. Want to get even MORE remote? Alaska’s pretty far away from, well… everything It’d be a hike to get kids to the school from the opposite side of the country but chances are, you wouldn’t have to risk too many Muggles finding the place. Alaska is also very rich in Native American culture and tradition. It could be the perfect place for a magical school…

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APPALACHIA. The Appalachian region holds a bit more history of the country being on the Eastern part of the nation. Perhaps American Hogwarts is hiding in the Appalachian Mountains or foothills… It could be a bit easier for students to get to as well! (Okay, so this picture is actually a ski resort…  But I could see it as American Hogwarts!)

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THE GREAT LAKES AREA. Okay, maybe this is cheating. There are a lot of places that could be considered the Great Lakes area but it’s also a great possibility. A bit more centrally located, wide expanses of water nearby, easy to get to, and still plenty of possible places to hide a whole school!

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AMERICAN DIAGON ALLEY + KINGS CROSS STATION

Once the kids are accepted to American Hogwarts, they have to get their magical gear! Diagon Alley is hidden right in London so… where could American Diagon Alley be? Where would the kids hop on board the American Hogwarts Express?

NEW YORK CITY. Keeping in mind that Hogwarts is still a full train ride away from Diagon Alley and Kings Cross, the American versions of these could easily be in NYC. J.K. confirmed that the school isn’t in New York but that doesn’t mean these two fantastically magical places couldn’t be hidden in plain sight there. Diagon Alley could easily be concealed by a back room of a store, a secret room of a speakeasy, down an alley way, through an abandoned building, or really anywhere! Muggles would just perceive the entrance as dingy, dangerous, or smaller than it actually is.
Which train station? How cool would Grand Central be? Or how about that “Door to Nowhere” or abandoned subway platforms? Come on. That’s the platform for the American Hogwarts Express…

CHICAGO. Same as above as far as American Diagon Alley… any one of those could still apply! And you’ve got two train stations in Chicago — Ogilvie and Union — that could whisk you away to school. Union Station’s got a secret door too, you know…

STUDENT HOUSES

I don’t think the other schools had have different houses like Hogwarts does… (Did Durmstrang? Beauxbatons? No, right? They didn’t have four founders…) But for pure fun, let’s pretend the American campus would, just because it’s fun to brainstorm!

House: EAGLE EYES
Mascot: Bald eagle
Colors: Gold and white
Student traits: Cunning, observant, intelligent, independent
Common Rooms: Topmost tower

House: ROUGH RIDERS
Mascot: Moose
Colors: Red and blue
Student traits: Brave, leader, determined, social
Common Rooms: West Wing

House: TIMBER FANG
Mascot: Gray wolf
Colors: Green and silver
Student traits: Clever, ruthless, planner, loyal
Common Rooms: South wing, facing the outdoors

House: WOOLY HORNS
Mascot: Bison
Colors: Orange and gray
Student traits: Calm, level-headed, friendly, logical
Common Rooms: Centrally located to everything

NAMES?

I’m terrible at naming things… I haven’t the slightest clue or the slightest guess what the American version of Hogwarts might be named so I’ll leave this one up to your! (Or, you know, J.K. Rowling.) What do you think the American school of magic would be named?? Something leaning toward its history and tradition? Or something that focuses more on how diverse our nation is?


What are YOUR theories for American Hogwarts? I’d love to hear your ideas for names, houses, locations, and more!
Are you excited for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? What are you looking forward to discovering most?

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Want more Harry Potter posts? Check out some of the previous topics posted on The Book Addict’s Guide!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 21, 2007 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 27, 2015
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

     Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him.
In this final, seventh instalment of the Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling unveils in spectacular fashion the answers to the many questions that have been so eagerly awaited. The spellbinding, richly woven narrative, which plunges, twists and turns at a breathtaking pace, confirms the author as a mistress of storytelling, whose books will be read, reread and read again.
  

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** There WILL be spoilers for this book and previous books so if you haven’t read them yet, BEWARE. You’re gonna get spoiled! ** 

Ahhhh, at last, my Harry Potter re-read is finally over! I started back in September 2013 when I decided that I wanted to re-read the entire series via audiobook and a year and a half later, that re-read has come to a close! The experience was absolutely delightful and so much fun to experience both through a different format and much later on in my life.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS has always been the big question mark book in the series as far as how I would rank it. I had a clear favorite and I had clear least favorites (I love them all, but you know) but DEATHLY HALLOWS was just such a DIFFERENT book than the rest and that made it hard to place. There’s barely any time at Hogwarts (until the Battle of Hogwarts — ohhhh let’s not go there yet), no Quidditch, and a whole lot more focus on, well… the END. The books grow darker over time but this is definitely the one with the most hardships, evil, and battles but it also has a incredible amount of bravery and victory.

I’m still finding it hard to place this book in a line-up but I will say that this was the book out of the series that really evoked the most feeling from me as I was listening. Of course, there are some MAJOR losses as far as favorite characters go and even though I knew they were coming, it didn’t soften the blow any less. In fact, no matter how much I missed Sirius and Dumbledore, their deaths in the previous books didn’t really tug on my heartstrings for whatever reason… and they really do make up some of my favorite characters! But when I was listening and realized that this was the last time we’d see and hear Lupin and Fred alive… GAH. Then once we had to see them after they’d been lost in battle. MY HEART. I think maybe because I made more of personal connection with those characters along the way. Sirius was Harry’s godfather but I always felt like Lupin was more of a father-figure. And it just pains to me lose Fred because the Weasley twins are some of my absolute favorites.

Besides the obvious deaths though, I really finally connected with so many of the characters. I’m not a Harry/Ginny shipper but I really understood their connection a bit more in this book. I felt love between friends and love amongst families. I think everything just really stepped up a notch in this book and actually, I feel like J.K. could have really dug into those moments a bit more to wrench some more emotion out of it but… that could also not impact me as much from so many re-reads!

I’m actually excited to start this process all over again. I’d definitely like to re-read this series every couple of years or so. Maybe next go around I’ll switch back to print! But I will say that there’s definitely a reason why we’re all so in love with Harry Potter. There’s some real magic in there besides what Harry can do with a wand. This series is utterly captivating and from childhood to adulthood, I will always hold the Harry Potter series in my heart.

Ranking after re-read of book #1: [1] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #6: [6, 4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [7]
Ranking after re-read of book #7: [6, 4, 3, 7, 1, 5, 2]

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Deathly Hallows GR updates

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Severus Snape // Character Obsessions: Lily, suppressing emotions.
I really REALLY love Snape’s connection with Lily — and it’s the most amazing to look back on the whole series and see HOW MUCH that impacted EVERYTHING. I think the book definitely does a better job of bringing out that friendship and exactly how much Snape cared for Lily. There’s an extra scene that the movie cut out where Snape and Lily are teenagers — later on in their Hogwarts years — and maybe because I’m a YA reader? I’m not sure, but I felt like that was a REALLY important moment of their friendship. They weren’t just two eleven or twelve-year-olds who were friends because they lived near each other and they were both capable of magic. Despite their different tastes, different upbringings, different groups, they were still best friends. I think that really reminded me exactly how strong that relationship was so it made everything MUCH more powerful. Snape and Lily weren’t just classmates. They used to be best friends and that makes his loyalty to Lily even more respectable to me (not like having a crush and falling in love isn’t, but the friendship aspect of it feels much more powerful).
Although I will say, I DO love the movie version because Alan Rickman as Snape forever <333

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Kept Me Hooked On: Full series re-read. WOW, I don’t know if I’ve EVER done a full series re-read from start to finish. I’ve meant to but I don’t think I ever made it all the way though. I’d pick up a book here and there or start in the middle, jump around… This was so great!
Left Me Wanting More: Emotion. This book really, really gave me the feels, more so than any other Harry Potter book buuuuut I feel like there could have been JUST a touch more — time for the death scenes to really sink in, time for the romances to really blossom — and it would have totally wrecked my heart in a good way.

Addiction Rating
Re-read the WHOLE THING.

Do it, friends. You won’t regret it. Especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve read the books! I watch the movies all the time but reading them (again) is a totally different experience.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

              shadow and bone          throne of glass

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 16, 2005 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 6, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

     The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
And yet...
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate — and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So it's the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here are Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability
.

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** There WILL be spoilers for this book (and the final book) so if you haven’t read it yet, BEWARE. You’re gonna get spoiled! ** 

I felt a bit of pressure before starting HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. It’s been a long time since I’ve re-read all of the books but I always claimed this one as my favorite of the series. After realizing how much my opinion of ORDER OF THE PHOENIX had changed, I was totally unsure of how HBP would go.

Right off the bat, though, I was still in love. I just love how this book really brings everything to the next level — from the plot to the adventure, Quidditch to romances — everything just gets bigger and better in HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. I think one of my favorite things about it is the introduction to Horcruxes. I just really love the layers that it adds to the plot and how it adds another sense of adventure for the characters. I also really, really love that we get to know more about the villain’s past. I LOVE when the reader gets to know more about the villain and his backstory. I think it adds so much to a book and even makes that villain a bit more human — whether that’s by a little or a lot. We all know how amazing J.K. Rowling is at her world building in these books so I guess I should never be surprised but that really is one of my favorite things about the entire series.

I really wasn’t big on many of the romances in this series. For me, Harry Potter was always more about action, adventure, friendship, learning, and well… magic. Movie Ginny kind of ruined book Ginny for me so I was really trying to give book Ginny another shot since I know where this story goes… I felt like she actually wasn’t hugely present in HALF-BLOOD PRINCE still so I didn’t feel like I had the opportunity to be bothered or charmed by her. She did make many appearances at the Slug Club parties and Quidditch matches, etc but for some reason I still felt like she wasn’t a very big character… I’m really interested to see how I feel about her in book seven because so far reading the books, I still don’t feel a lot! I do, of course, love the Ron and Hermione romance. You know I love best friendships turning into something more and this was a long time coming. It’s really interesting to see how this tension has slowly built and comes to its breaking point at the end of HALF-BLOOD PRINCE.

As always, I love the layers upon layers of world building. From getting to know more about Voldemort to the different classes the students take to the different places they visit… I just love getting lost in this world and something about the writing just makes me feel like it’s a real place, just out of my reach. I always love learning more about magic and what the rules are and what the limitations are. The Felix Felicis chapter is still one of my favorites and the cave scene at the end still creeps me out a lot. Then of course we have Dumbledore’s death. I’m not sure why — maybe I know the books/movies too well? — but I never really feel shaken by the deaths in these books (except for probably Fred, oh god, how will I read that) so I really didn’t get too worked up over his death… But I think for Dumbledore, it doesn’t really feel like he’s gone, you know? His portrait is in the headmaster’s office and we know he sort of… appears to Harry in the final book too. It’s Dumbledore. He’s the greatest wizard of all time. He may be dead but only kind of?

The great news is that HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE still stands as my favorite of the series so far! I was never able to place my love for the final book so it’ll be interesting to see where I come out on this re-read!

Ranking after re-read of book #1: [1] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #6: [6, 4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [7]

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

half blood prince reading updates

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Lavender Brown // Character Obsessions: Frivolous things, Won-won, kissing, giggling.
I kind of love Lavender Brown a little bit. She’s SO ridiculous but I really do like what she adds to the story. Without Ron & Lavender’s relationship, I don’t think Hermione’s jealousy would have escalated enough to FINALLY hit Ron over the head about their feelings for each other. Lavender was a little bit necessary for that so thank goodness for her, huh?

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Kept Me Hooked On: Felix Felicis. Can you imagine what a day would be like with Felix Felicis? I can only picture what one perfect day would be like… I loved that chapter when Harry took it! It was so interesting to see how things magically fell into place.
Left Me Wanting More: Ron & Hermione. They are JUST STARTING to realize what they actually mean to each other. GO FORTH, KIDS. Go forth and love!

Addiction Rating
RE-READ IT!

Well, re-read if of course! This is still one of my favorites and I still highly recommend re-reading this whole series.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

              shadow and bone          throne of glass

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: June 21, 2003 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 28, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...
Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

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I think the most interesting thing about my Harry Potter re-reads so far has been how my rankings for the book has changed based on how I’ve developed as a person. There are just certain things I’ve connected with in some books, certain things that turn me off in others (though I still love them. I mean, I love ALL of them no matter what minor things I find) and all of the things I didn’t pick up on during my first thousand re-reads (yes, there’s always something new).

I was majorly excited to re-read HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. From the time I did my last re-reads say… maybe ten years ago? This book was my second favorite (or third — it was kind of a toss-up with Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince was still tops) so I was curious to see how this re-read would go. I totally changed my opinion of Prisoner of Azkaban, flipping it around from one of my least favorites to most of my most favorites so I was excited to see how one of my earlier favorites fared later on in my life.

I was a bit hesitant with all of the “angsty” comments I had seen about OotP — this is probably Harry’s moodiest book (well, he IS fifteen…) and yes, it was definitely more noticeable in the very beginning of this book. Sometimes it was annoying, sometimes it made me laugh, but most of the time it really didn’t bother me. In fact, if I hadn’t see all the angst memes on Pinterest and Tumblr and other forms of social media, I may not even have noticed… Who can say! But aside from Harry and Ron’s adventures with the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire, I think OotP is the first book that really starts to deal with relationship issues, crushes, and serious jealousy so there’s quite a bit of teenage melodrama and it DID wear on me JUST a bit.

I feel like the story is much more government-related with Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic getting super involved so that’s not AS appealing to me as the hunt for and battles with Voldemort. It’s a different kind of action and one that generally feels more frustrating (as in, I feel frustrated for the characters) than a sort of exciting nervous-feeling to see what will happen next. [SPOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T READ THE SERIES COMING UP (yes, there are still some and I don’t want to spoil things for them!)] OotP was also the first book that dealt with a death that hit Harry really hard. He’s always dealt with his parents’ deaths, yes, but OotP not only shows Harry dealing with the aftermath of witnessing Cedric’s murder but also the first-hand account of Sirius’s untimely death during the epic battle in the Department of Mysteries. Things get HEAVY and there’s definitely a somber weight to the book because of those. Regarding Sirius’s death… It still didn’t hit me hard. I know it absolutely kills some people but I still didn’t find myself getting terribly choked up. It has nothing to do with how I feel about Sirius. SHEESH, I love the guy, but I feel like it’s almost an off-screen death. Everything just happens so fast and Harry is in disbelief/denial that it made me feel like it wasn’t real. I think even now I’m still in denial about it so for some reason it’s STILL just not hitting me that hard. [END SPOILERS]

So what’s the verdict? I still enjoyed OotP, of course, but I also don’t think it’s one of my favorites of the series anymore. I just feel like there isn’t as much mystery and sleuthing regarding Voldemort and his involvement in everything and the Ministry-centric plot doesn’t grab me as much as “evil villain” (although I DO hate Umbridge more than I do Voldemort. Fact).

Ranking after re-read of book #1: [1] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Cho Chang // Character Obsessions: Quidditch, Cedric, the DA, Harry.
Oh, let’s talk about Cho Chang. Do we have any Cho fans? Personally, I am not. She was Harry’s first big crush (an older woman! Go, Harry) but I could never really get on board with her. I don’t blame her for going to the Yule Ball with Cedric (who could?) but once she and Harry started dating in this book, she became so needy and whiny and clingy. Okay, okay, her boyfriend just died. I GET IT. So maybe don’t go out with someone else right away! Sorry, Harry. I don’t think it ever would have worked. She did like you but you were still a Cedric rebound and to add grieving on top of a budding relationship? Just not gonna happen.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Harry Potter re-reads. I’m still loving re-reading these on audio! This one was a bit longer so I was in a hurry to finish, but everything is still so magical!
Left Me Wanting More: Levity. I know there were light moments in this book, but it doesn’t even feel DARK, just heavy. The Ministry, Cedric’s death from the previous book, Umbridge, quidditch, and close calls (and more deaths). YIKES. I think this is the book with the most weight (and it’s the biggest so… haha. Literal weight too). Others may be darker, but this one hangs heavy in my heart.

Addiction Rating
Re-read it!

Well, of course. I think it’s a totally different experience re-reading these books as an adult! I have very different reactions to some events now. Some I see with eyes wide open. Others I can compare to something that’s happened to me that hadn’t when I first read it. It’s fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        shadow and bone       throne of glass

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 8, 2000 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 7, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there are spells to be learnt and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry can't know that the atmosphere is darkening around him, and his worst enemy is preparing a fate that it seems will be inescapable ...With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvellous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller.

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How is it that each time I re-read a Harry Potter book, I find myself amazed all over again? I know I said it before with the first three books, especially with my amazement of how much I enjoyed HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN when it used to be my least favorite book of the series, but honestly. J.K. Rowling really stepped everything up a notch with HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. 

Sure, we stepped from defending the world from a supervillain in the first two books and magical school hijinks to personal vendettas and darker family history in book three, but GOBLET OF FIRE puts Harry in mortal peril preeeeeetty much all year. It’s not as apparent how much time passes int he movies, but Harry is literally involved in the Triwizard tournament all freaking year and pretty much his state in the mortal world depends on how well he can figure out these clues before it’s time to put him in front of another dangerous task that may or may not kill him.

Aside from upping the danger, things also get exponentially darker. Not only is Voldemort still involved, as always, but we learn more about the Death Eaters — his dedicated followers — but also the Unforgivable Curses and so much more about the dark years that preceded Voldemort’s decline. We’ve seen the bad guys punished in previous books and we knew about the awful deaths that occurred when Harry was just a baby, but Goblet of Fire… This book really takes a dive into the deep end of the dark. Bad things happen to good people in this book and there are just some really gut-wrenching moments that even when you know they’re coming still hit you hard.

This is another book whose movie really started to deviate a lot — not even necessarily changing events and specifics but we lose whole plot lines and characters. I’m not necessarily disappointed looking back because of course you can’t adapt everything in a book for a movie, but it’s kind of amazing when you see what has changed and what you totally forgot about. Here are just a few.

  • Ludo Bagman: Remember Ludo Bagman? He’s the head of Magical Games and Sports and once played Quidditch for the Wimbourne Wasps. If you haven’t read the books in a long time and you’ve been watching the movies, I’m sure you remember Ludo Bagman but you wouldn’t believe how much he is actually a part of the books!! He’s involved in so many scenes, from beginning to end!
  • S.P.E.W.: The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, for those who aren’t familiar, was Hermione’s attempt to free the house elves from their lifetimes of enslavement. However……. I was not sorry to see that go. Sorry, not sorry, Hermione. It was a bit much!
  • Winky: To go along with S.P.E.W., Winky was a house elf who also played a very significant part in the book. But again….. eh. Not sorry to see that go and be adapted in a different way! Oh, the movie spoils me in some ways.
  • Rita Skeeter’s “downfall”: I mean, we’re assuming here that you all have read the books if you’re reading my review, but I’ll try to remain mostly spoiler-free here, so Rita! I wish the movie had at least touched on what really happened to her at the end of the book and how Hermione really put her in her place!

My take from the audiobook re-read? This may be a new contender for my favorite Harry Potter book out of all seven. Then again, my current favorites are five and six, so there’s still time for that to change! We’ll have to see how those audiobooks go as well. HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE was just SO good. An amazing book to begin with and so much fun to re-read (for the countless time because I’ve honestly lost track)!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Harry // Character Obsessions: Triwizard tournament, friends, Sirius, dark wizards, Quidditch.
Harry’s time in the 4th book is pretty much spent with the Triwizard Tournament.  Everything else sort of takes a backseat, naturally! It’s interesting to see Harry mature throughout the series and yet you still see how young he really is. He’s still a teenager and despite how maturely he handles the tournament… He really doesn’t. He doesn’t stay on task and his friends and teachers have to prod him along to make sure he won’t die in the tasks but he always handles things with Voldemort like such a badass. He’s a Gryffindor — brave, but not always motivated haha.
Hermione // Character Obsessions: S.P.E.W., helping Harry, Rita Skeeter.
I love Hermione but… I’m glad they took the whole house elf story line out for the movie! It really started to grate on my nerves because she’s just so obsessed with it.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Goblet of Fire. WOW. I forgot how much I loved this book. Obviously I love the whole series and I always knew I loved GoF but I forgot how awesome this book really was. Based on how my re-reads go with the rest of the books, this may jump in the front on my favorites list!
Left Me Wanting More: Of the series. I immediately wanted to start Order of the Phoenix. But this series will do that to you!

Addiction Rating
Re-Read it!

If you haven’t re-read Harry Potter in a long time (or *ahem* if you haven’t read it at all yet) I highly recommend you get on that soon! They just get better with time!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Graveyard Book     The Night Circus

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. Rowling

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: September 8, 1999 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 8, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It's assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney's ghoulish predictions seriously?

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HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN is really the first in the series where I feel like the books and the movies really start to differ. Obviously the movie still stays pretty true to the book, but I was surprised quite often how many little things were changed for the film adaptation, especially the big reveal at the end. As a re-read now and having watched the movies so many times, it’s definitely a bit anti-climactic BUT I’ve seen the movies so many times that obviously that version is engrained in my mind. I haven’t done a re-read of Harry Potter since… well, probably since right after high school so that’s about ten years that have gone by without actually reading the books. I forgot how many details just aren’t able to fit into the movies for time reasons alone but re-reading made me so incredibly happy because I got to geek out over this whole magical universe all over again and refresh my memory on the things that the movies just can’t fit.

This book actually used to be my least favorite of the series, which also makes it entirely plausible that that’s the reason why I don’t seem to remember as much of it as I thought I had. Looking back, I have no idea why it was my least favorite because it has so many elements I love! Time travel. Professor Lupin. Big reveals. Mistaken identities. I can remember what it was that just didn’t click with me the first couple times I read it but I can definitely say that it’s back up there for me, although it still won’t be my favorite.

I always feel like I have so much and yet so little to say with my re-reads of Harry Potter because it doesn’t really need a formal review since most people have already read the books and those who haven’t, well, I don’t want to spoil it because I still have hope you will read them! So I’ll just go over a few differences I remember from the book and the movie — Actually, if you haven’t read the books or seen the movies yet, LOOK AWAY because some of these might be mild spoilers.

  • The importance of Crookshanks. Yes, Hermione’s bandy-legged ginger cat with a bottlebrush tail and smooshed face (seriously — described that way so many times that I can repeat it!) did appear in the movies BUT the movies glossed over the fact that he’s part kneazle AND that Crookshanks was sort of working with Sirius when he was in dog form and that’s part of the reason the kids knew they could trust him. Not to mention the fact that Crookshanks has many more humanlike characteristics in the book, intelligence-wise, and that he was the one who immobilized the Whomping Willow so Harry and Hermione could get in.
  • The prominence of the animals in the series. Crookshanks was so important to this book but… He also never goes away though out the series. Hedwig is really the only pet that gets featured in the movies because she’s so important to Harry, but Hermione always has her cat and I totally forgot about Pigwidgeon’s appearance once Ron loses “Scabbers”.
  • All of the details in the Shrieking Shack. When it comes down to it, the movie just wasn’t able to include all of the details. Harry, Sirius, and Lupin have a long, long, long talk about Peter Pettigrew. I can totally understand why the movie kept it short and sweet — it felt like this talk was really long as I was listening to the audio and knowing what happens, I was anxiously awaiting for the scene to continue on BUT there’s a lot of important info that gets shared here, especially regarding Harry’s parents and their relationship with Sirius, Lupin, and Pettigrew.
  • The Marauder’s Map. I. LOVE. THE MARAUDER’S MAP. I don’t know why but I just do. The map in the book is MUCH more insulting to Professor Snape (a funny but tense moment!) and I feel like we get much more information regarding the creators of the map and the reasons why they created it. In fact… Do we even get an explanation in the movies? Is there a brief glossing over from Lupin? I honestly can’t remember.
  • The Firebolt. In the movie version, Harry doesn’t get to use his Firebolt until the very end of the book, after the entire plot, basically. In the book, his broom is confiscated to be tested for jinxes and hexes but he does get it back to use in Quidditch matches! I forgot ALL about that! He totally uses the Firebolt’s speed to flatten the other teams.

Those are the highlights that I can remember! I’m really glad I enjoyed this one so much this time around and honestly, I can’t even pinpoint why it used to be my least favorite.

So what was your favorite thing about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Are you a time travel fan? Were you rooting for Sirius Black?

Mini Reviews: The Hogwarts Library

I got the Hogwarts Library for Christmas from my dear friend Amy at Tripping Over Books and being able to read new (to me) Harry Potter books!? You know I immediately tore into them! The Hogwarts Library is a gorgeous collection of hardcover books of the “extra” Harry Potter books: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, QUIDDITCH THROUGH THE AGES, and THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD. These books also happened to juuuust come at the right time to assist me in completing my Goodreads challenge because I needed a few short & quick reads to help me along!


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find themCompleted: December 23, 2013
Publishing Info: November 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury (Hogwarts Library Edition)
Source: Hardcover set gifted from Amy at Tripping Over Books
Genre: Fantasy (MG/YA)
Find It Online: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

   “A copy of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief, which means that the pounds and Galleons you exchange for it will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, I can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.  –– Albus Dumbledore
” –– From Goodreads

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FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is hard to review. The beginning was actually… Kind of slow. There’s an explanation and foreword from Newt Scamander about different beasts, how they’re classified, and his adventures to track them all down, but a lot of it felt very textbook, which, well… This is a reference book for wizards! I shouldn’t be surprised haha.

Once I got past the foreword, it was actually a lot of fun reading about the different beasts! It was interesting to see which ones were classified as dangerous and which ones were “boring” (I love that JK Rowling even invented boring creatures haha). The book doesn’t really read like a book — it really is a frame of reference and so the beasts are merely listed and described.

I loved the “real writings” from Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The book is marked as Harry Potter’s official copy so there are occasional notes from the characters and that was honestly my favorite part haha! It’s something fun to zip through but doesn’t really read like a novel so don’t be surprised when you pick it up! Still fun to thumb through and check out all of the fun beasts and creatures from the series.


Quidditch Through the AgesCompleted: December 23, 2013
Publishing Info: November 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury (Hogwarts Library Edition)
Source: Hardcover set gifted from Amy at Tripping Over Books
Genre: Fantasy (MG/YA)
Find It Online: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

   “If you have ever asked yourself where the Golden Snitch came from, how the Bludgers came into existence or why the Wigtown Wanderers have pictures of meat cleavers on their robes, you need Quidditch Through the Ages. This invaluable volume is consulted by young Quidditch fans on an almost daily basis.
    Proceeds from the sale of this book go to Comic Relief, who will use your money to continue improving and changing lives – work that is even more important and astonishing that the three and a half second capture of the Golden Snitch by Roderick Plumpton in 1921.
— Albus Dumbledore” –– From Goodreads

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QUIDDITCH THROUGH THE AGES was a bit more enjoyable for me. It’s still a sort of reference book but there are a lot of little stories too since we’re getting more info on Quidditch history. It’s not just pure reference and involves small anecdotes and facts about Quidditch itself and players throughout history.

One thing that always ceases to amaze me is how much detail J.K. Rowling puts into her worlds. These companion books are just further proof of that. She not only invents the sport of Quidditch, but also comes up with famous players, how the game was invented, rules, fouls, penalties, and so much more.

I think my favorite thing was learning more about the history of the sport, taking us back hundreds of years. The details are just incredible and this book flowed a lot more smoothly versus an index of beasts (see above). I almost wish there was another section that was a bit more reference like, listing a sort of Guiness Book for Quidditch — facts of longest game, best player, most fouls, shortest game — some of these facts were actually mentioned in the book, but I’d like to see them as a list (although I’m sure someone’s listed it on a website somewhere. If so, link me up)! 


The Tales of Beedle the BardCompleted: December 24, 2013
Publishing Info: November 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury (Hogwarts Library Edition)
Source: Hardcover set gifted from Amy at Tripping Over Books
Genre: Fantasy (MG/YA)
Find It Online: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

   “The Tales of Beedle the Bard contains five richly diverse fairy tales, each with its own magical character, that will variously bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril.
    Essential and enjoyable reading for Muggles and wizards alike, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a uniquely magical volume. With illuminating notes by Albus Dumbledore.
    Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Lumos, a charity working to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.” –– From Goodreads

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THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD may be one of the most well-known of the companion books due to its heavy involvement in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s a collection of fairy tales/fables (although they know fairies so they don’t really call them “fairy tales”) from the wizarding world.

THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD was much easier to read as a continuous novel. It’s an actual collection of stories, each with commentary from Albus Dumbledore after them, breaking down the true message and and possible information surrounding the retellings and modifications to the tale. The last tale in this collection is in fact the tale of the three brothers that Hermione shared in HP7.

I really enjoyed these short stories! They were a lot of fun to read and like usual, just add a deeper layer to the entire world. It was just more thing to make me feel like I was really in the wizarding world and perhaps, just maybe, it really could exist, hidden from Muggle eyes.

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) – J.K. Rowling

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 22, 1998 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 29, 2013
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
    And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.
    But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone--or something--starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself.
  

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I did a full review of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCEROR’S STONE but I opened up a new draft to start my review for HP2 and… My mind went blank. It’s honestly so hard to write a full review of a book and a series that I’ve loved and cherished for half of my childhood and all of my adult life so far (it’s totally epic) so it’s hard to put THINGS down into words, ya know? I think I actually know the series TOO well to write a review because I really know how everything goes!

What I can say is that it’s interesting starting over from the beginning. I haven’t done that in MANY YEARS because before when I would re-read Harry Potter, I wouldn’t necessarily do it in order. Books four, five, six, and seven are my favorites so usually I would just pick those up and re-read out of order since really, I knew the series so well anyway. The first three books are the ones I’ve re-read the least but the first two are also the ones I think have the closest movie adaptations so with a few minor exceptions, I still knew exactly how it all went.

I’ll just briefly recap the things I loved about HP and the CoS here:

  • Rule-breaking Hermione with the Polyjuice potion! You go, girl.
  • The mild annoyance and mild hilarity that is Gilderoy Lockhart
  • Learning so much more about Tom Riddle (and there were more tidbits in the book than in the movie (which that’s usually the case, but I thought that was interesting!))
  • Watching that best friendship between Harry and Ron really start to develop into a bond that extended beyond Ron and to becoming almost a part of his family

I’m also not a Harry-Ginny shipper so I won’t even go there. Their relationship always felt weird to me for some reason — both books AND movies — so it’s cute to see Ginny acting all love struck around him, but doesn’t get me all mushy for the future.

So what was your favorite think about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets versus HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Are you a fan of Harry and Ginny? Don’t you just LOVE Lucius Malfoy? (No, seriously. I love how evil he is and somehow I really just love him.) Are you a Dobby-love or a Dobby hater? Lockhart: Funny or annoying? Inquiring minds want to know!!