"Well, this is a story about books" "About books?" "About accursed books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of"Well, this is a story about books" "About books?" "About accursed books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about a betrayal and a lost friendship. It's a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind."
This was a re-read, and the first of many I believe. I read The Shadow of the Wind in 2007 and remember being dumbfounded by it. I raced through the story, unable to set it down as I was trapped deeper into the prison of the words written by Zafon. The above quote sums the story up more brilliantly than any review can do. That being said, I will tell you what to expect when you pick up this novel for the first time.
This is not a story full of "bang bang shoot 'em up". It has its moments, but the beauty of this story is in the delicious tales being told throughout every paragraph. Stories written in the manner in which this author writes do not happen that often, and the fact that it's so beautifully written and translated makes it even more incredible to me. When you read this novel prepare to devote time to it. Read through it slowly, and re-read passages that catch your eye. I noticed things I didn't remember before and even got my father to start reading the book so that we could marvel over the descriptions together.
Most importantly, read the book. Ignore the hype and commercialization surrounding it. This is a beautiful story worth reading....more
To paraphrase Jackson Pearce, you'd have to be living under a sorcerer's stone if you were not aware that the last Harry Potter movie is due out thisTo paraphrase Jackson Pearce, you'd have to be living under a sorcerer's stone if you were not aware that the last Harry Potter movie is due out this summer. Very soon in fact! So with that in mind, I decided to make my way through the books and the movies to prepare myself for this final big event - the last movie and our farewell to Harry and his friends.
When these books first came out I had no interest in them. None. My siblings were all in an uproar (my sister was also 11, so she's grown up with Harry) but I dismissed the books as fanciful nothings, young adult fiction, psh when would I ever want to read that? I mean, at that time I was caught up in the fantastic world of romance novels. (Yes, that was sarcastic and true at the same time!)
But then, around the release of the fourth book, I decided to pick up the series and see what all the fuss was about. Since that first reading of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I've read the book four times (one of those times out loud to my niece and nephew), and every time the book just gets better and better, and I think a large part of that is due to the movies.
Now, I'll first say that yes, a lot of the original books didn't make it into the movies, specifically for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I missed Peeves, the potions Hermione has to get through to help Harry stop Quirrell, the introduction of Malfoy in the train (and not on the steps) and little details here and there (such as explaining to Harry where the pictures came from in the book Hagrid gives him at the end). But overall, I think the movie did a fantastic job of bringing to life the wonder, excitement and awe I felt while reading the book. I loved the portrayal of Quidditch and the main dining hall at Hogwarts, and I still catch my breath at that first sweeping view of the school.
In my opinion, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the weakest of the books, in terms of development - but it also captures the innocence of Harry, Hermione and Ron, and grabs the reader by the hand and gently introduces them into the world of Hogwarts, allowing time for us to catch our breath and relax into it all. That's the best way to introduce children to the world of fantasy and Rowling did a marvelous job.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention, in closing at least, how much I've also come to appreciate Dudley, and the Dursley's. They add comedy to the stories, but also that necessary anchor to the "muggle" world - the other side of what might have been had Harry's mother not been magical.
Feel free to join me in the next several days as I read, watch and review these books and movies. You do not need to read or watch every one, or do both, or.. well, do whatever you wish and chime in with your thoughts, your hopes for the upcoming movies and how you plan to fill the void after the last movie has been watched....more
So it took me reading and re-reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince about 4 times before I finally picked up the book with the knowledge thatSo it took me reading and re-reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince about 4 times before I finally picked up the book with the knowledge that the half-blood prince was NOT Voldemort. I'm not sure why I kept thinking that, even after re-reading the book that many times, but I did. So it was nice approaching the book with that knowledge firmly encased in my head this time.
I just finished re-watching the movie, and I have to say the book wins on this one, hands down. And this is, in my opinion, where you really start to lose out on things if you haven't read the books and have only followed the movies. For example - how would you know what those things are that attack Harry and Dumbledore and that they are chased away by fire? How would you know where Harry got the knowledge to help Ron when he was poisoned by the mead (and furthermore, where was Rosmerta in all of this?). So many small details are left out of the movies, details that make the book so much richer and give so many answers.
While I appreciate that the movie did things to make them special, such as Harry and Ginny's kiss, the tribute to Dumbledore, etc, the way the book had them laid out made me laugh out loud with delight, in the case of the kiss, and weep with sorrow in the case of Dumbledore. Rowling had hit her stride in the previous book and just kept pushing forward, making The Half-Blood Prince one of the best books in the series....more
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix things start to get a bit.. well.. hairy. Dumbledore and Harry are being discredited, mocked and watchedIn Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix things start to get a bit.. well.. hairy. Dumbledore and Harry are being discredited, mocked and watched and things at Hogwarts are making those first few years, basilisks, creepy two-faced men and all look, well, downright cheerful.
And all of this, in due part, to the introduction of a woman named Dolores Umbridge.
First, before I talk about the oh-so-sweet-want-to-kill-her-Dolores, let me just talk about how well Rowling managed to get across the frustration of Harry. Like Harry, while reading the opening of this book, we don't know.. well, anything. What has Lord Voldemort been doing? What are Ron and Hermione hiding? What is going on!?
And then there's the notice of being expelled. Argh!
So, Dolores Umbridge. Honestly, I think this was one of the most well-cast parts in the movies. The woman chosen to play Umbridge made the hairs on the back of my neck rise up and I have never felt the desire to wring someones neck that much. While the movie cast her so well, however, it did a great injustice to the fantastic Weasley twins. Because, frankly, they shine in the book beyond measure. The swamp, the tricks, the shop idea, their backing up of Harry (and by the way, what's with not even mentioning Quidditch or the teams disbanding. After so many movies do they just think we've forgotten all about it?) Fred and George are not given their credit in the movie, nor is (again) Dobby, the elf who found the Room of Requirement, not Neville (who I like, but still.. it was Dobby!)
I really love the book - but the movie is a bit mediocre to me. Aside from Umbridge and the final battle scene, I find that it did an injustice to many of the more notable parts of the books (don't even get me started on Tonks). I hope that they do a better job when it comes to the second half of Book 7....more
In my review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets I talked about about how I really didn't enjoy the book, but enjoyed the movie. Well, it's theIn my review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets I talked about about how I really didn't enjoy the book, but enjoyed the movie. Well, it's the exact opposite for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Azkaban definitely starts to delve into the darker aspects of the Harry Potter stories with the arrival of the Dementors, the escape of a convicted murderer and the emergence of a key player in the murders of Lily and James Potter. But, before the darkness takes its place, this book begins with my absolute favorite of the Dursley scenes: the inflation of Aunt Marge. Seriously, both the book was spot on with this scene and I really was disappointed in how glossed over it was in the movie.
I think my dislike of the movie stems from the over-saturated advertising that was done before the movie was released. I could not see a movie, watch TV, turn on my computer without seeing Sirius Black's face crying out in agony on the newspaper. I was tired of the movie before I even saw it (and that's saying something). So while I love the addition of Emma Thompson as Prof. Trelawney, love seeing Hermione deck Malfoy and thoroughly enjoy seeing the book of monsters come to life, anything having to do with Sirius Black was a major turn-off for me.
Before I finish this review, I want to talk a little bit about the imaginative brilliance that is the Maurader's Map. Just when I'm finally recovering from how amazing the game of Quidditch is, Rowling introduces a piece of paper that any kid would love to get their hands on. I mean.. it's an interactive treasure map, for all intents and purposes! So brilliant.
I enjoyed re-reading Azkaban and found myself rolling my eyes a bit at re-watching it. I prefer the ending to the book, prefer the timeline of the gifted Firebolt, prefer many things in the book over the movie's version of the events... but when it comes down to it, they are both still quintessential Harry Potter and it's impossible to forget them....more
For the longest time, I believed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to be my least favorite of the Harry Potter books - but I think this book haFor the longest time, I believed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to be my least favorite of the Harry Potter books - but I think this book has edged its way up.
Now, granted, there are parts I really enjoy. I love getting to know Ginny Weasley, I love the introduction of Dobby, I can never get enough of the Dursley's...but I think it's Gilderoy Lockhart that is just a little too over the top for me.
Granted - the movie makes him more bearable, because it puts a face to the horribly pompous person that he is, but overall I find myself increasingly annoyed by his presence in every single important scene and, much like the teachers at Hogwarts, wish he'd just prove himself or get out of the way.
There's a lot that's revealed in this second book, which is a good reason in and of itself to not discount it (Harry and the parseltongue explanation), but in spite of all the good, it's just one of my least favorite books.
Now.. here is where I am going to be a bit odd - because it's actually one of my favorite of the movies. Don't ask me to explain it, but Lockheart doesn't annoy me nearly as much on screen as he does on paper. Make sense? No? Don't worry, I'm confused by it too.
As always, there are small discrepancies between the book and the movie, but nothing horribly out of place (except.. why oh why wouldn't you put Peeves in the movies?!). At least the book is on the shorter side of all the books in this series, so while re-reading I don't have to spend too much time being annoyed by Lockheart.
By the way, I much prefer the movie Moaning Myrtle to the book one as well - because the movie one DOES annoy me and the book one doesn't. I don't make sense, I know....more
The story here is pretty much heartbreaking, but very, very real. I couldn't put this book down and it inspired me to finally go pick up The Kite RunnThe story here is pretty much heartbreaking, but very, very real. I couldn't put this book down and it inspired me to finally go pick up The Kite Runner by the same author....more
The Twilight series is one of those guilty pleasures.. it's so bad I can't put it down. I was pleasantly surprised by this book - it was just enough tThe Twilight series is one of those guilty pleasures.. it's so bad I can't put it down. I was pleasantly surprised by this book - it was just enough to keep my attention and the story moved quickly. She still falls into a lot of the same traps though she that she did in the Twilight series (namely repetition of the same words over and over) but overall it was an enjoyable read....more
I cannot recommend this book enough. I couldn't put it down, and the last quarter of the book I was jumping around the room cheering and laughing. HigI cannot recommend this book enough. I couldn't put it down, and the last quarter of the book I was jumping around the room cheering and laughing. Highly, highly recommended....more
I loved Atonement. Did not love this book as much. Very well written and the story progresses nicely, it was just very hard for me to feel sympathy foI loved Atonement. Did not love this book as much. Very well written and the story progresses nicely, it was just very hard for me to feel sympathy for the main characters. ...more