This review comes after my second reading of this book. I like to read things at least twice to see if they can stand over time, as I believe that's a...moreThis review comes after my second reading of this book. I like to read things at least twice to see if they can stand over time, as I believe that's a major aspect of a great work. I don't think I need to spend any time on the premise of this book. Harry Potter is known the world over, whether you've read the books and seen the movies or not. This first book in the series is an easy read and functions primarily, I believe, to set the stage for what Ms. Rowling knew she wanted to do with the story. As a result, about two-thirds of the book is introducing us to the wizarding world while the remainder of the book is given to an adventure. In having read the books already, I ended up not liking this one as much. The serious nature of the danger that exists is really not apparent in this book, and even Harry's first encounter with Voldemort seems a bit tame. But, I'm sure Ms. Rowling was just getting on her feet with the story and she does do an excellent job of creating the wizarding world that exists in conjunction with the "real," or "Muggle," world. I did see some little details in this reading that I may have overlooked the first time I read the book, which I think was almost 10 years ago now. I recently heard that the book would have actually taken place in the early 90s, and it was fun to see some references to that time that I could identify with as Harry would only be a year or two older than me. Overall it was a quick read and I'm interested to see how I enjoy the remainder of the series the second time around. (less)
As most know, this is the first part of the story of Frodo, nephew to Bilbo of The Hobbit. Frodo inherits the ring that Bilbo found on his adventure t...moreAs most know, this is the first part of the story of Frodo, nephew to Bilbo of The Hobbit. Frodo inherits the ring that Bilbo found on his adventure to the Lonely Mountain and soon learns that it is a very powerful ring. He is tasked with destroying the ring to keep it from falling into the hands of a great evil.
I think that the last time I read this book was not long after seeing the movie, and I admit that I allowed the movie to influence my thoughts on the book. In this reading, the movie only served to give faces to the characters, and sometimes the landscape, but I was able to read it without that influence, and I'm glad. The book is wonderful and adds so much depth that the movie just didn't have time to delve into. I appreciate the time that Tolkien took to create Middle Earth and all its different species. Although some may find the story a bit slow in comparison to the fast pace of the movie, Tolkien reveals so much of his world and characters in each and every adventure, no matter how slight. I flew through this and expect I'll so the same with the remaining books.(less)
Yes, I finally gave in and read this book. It was really because I had read everything that I brought to NC and my friend had it at her house. I can s...moreYes, I finally gave in and read this book. It was really because I had read everything that I brought to NC and my friend had it at her house. I can sort of see what all the fuss is about: it's a classic love story between two people who aren't supposed to fall in love. I can also see why seemingly every 12-15 year old girl loves them. The main character, not extraordinarily popular, is clumsy and ordinary, and a supernatural man falls for her, inexplicably. I did find it hard to put down, but overall it is pretty ordinary. I guess the biggest thing that takes it down to that is Meyer's writing style. She is certainly no Rowling or King, as I had heard before. But she sure does know how to snag you with a love story that keeps you wishing for everything to work out well. I will probably read the rest just to see what happens, but something inside me will only do it kicking and screaming.(less)
I definitely prefer this second book in the Twilight series to the first. The first book is focused primarily on a budding romance of the forbidden ki...moreI definitely prefer this second book in the Twilight series to the first. The first book is focused primarily on a budding romance of the forbidden kind, and this book begins to examine the costs and realities of such a love. Edward's decision based on a difficult but inevitable event is painful and understood, and Bella's physical response was surprisingly well-written and realistic. I was surprised at the emotional response I had to the series of pages that simply have the name of a month to represent the passage of time. A new love/like/friendship interest adds a foil, but anyone with a brain and a heart knows that a romance there would be hollow and lacking. The hurtling pace at the end kept me up late one night to finish, so Meyer, while still not impressing me with her writing style, definitely has a knack for storytelling. I am hooked enough to want to keep reading, but I still doubt that this series will make a permanent home on my bookshelf(less)
Another quick read in the Twilight series. I find myself getting tired of all the major drama situations, especially with Bella's life being constantl...moreAnother quick read in the Twilight series. I find myself getting tired of all the major drama situations, especially with Bella's life being constantly in danger. Everyone freaks out and then someone has a brilliant plan and you see how it goes. That's basically the pattern for the series thus far in addition to the relationship stuff between Bella, Edward, and Jacob. I do have to say that I appreciated the character development that I saw in Edward in this book. Bella never seems to grow as a character, but in this book we see Edward learning to compromise with his and Bella's desires as well as coming to grips with the full realization of the consequences of his leaving in New Moon. My favorite chapter was the conversation between Jacob and Edward while Bella is in a half-asleep stupor because we finally begin to see the man behind the vampire, and, truth be told, he's a lot more interesting than Bella ever will be. I've heard of a book that gives Edward's perspective on things, and I think I'd be a lot more interested in reading that(less)
I'm still not quite sure how I feel about this final installment of the Twilight series. I hated the first half of the book. Bella's character really...moreI'm still not quite sure how I feel about this final installment of the Twilight series. I hated the first half of the book. Bella's character really got to me and the chapters from Jacob's perspective seemed to be mostly filler. Throughout the series I kept expecting Meyer's writing style to get better, but with the exception of a few chapters in each book, I was disappointed, and the first half of Breaking Dawn is her worst offense. That being said, the second half of the book is much better, though not in style. There is a complete shift in where I saw the story going, but I didn't feel that Meyer cheated in any way to bring the story to its close. Bella's character finally seems to mature and I wasn't as nearly annoyed as I was in the past to read things from her point of view. I actually felt like I was reading about an adult. I was also finally able to see what some of my friends had talked about in regards to the themes of loyalty, love, sacrifice, etc. These themes had been touched on in the previous books, but this is where they all seemed to converge and really make a point.
Overall I can see why the series has been so popular, but I cannot imagine these books being more than a cultural phenomenon. Meyer's style simply will not be able to stand the test of time in a literary sense. If I was still teaching, I would not recommend this series to my students like I would the Harry Potter series or many other more well-written adolescent fiction books.(less)
I'm writing this after completing my second reading of this book and the series as a whole. I think I waited a bit too long as several days have passe...moreI'm writing this after completing my second reading of this book and the series as a whole. I think I waited a bit too long as several days have passed since I finished, but I'm going to keep the five star rating I gave the book. This final book of the well-known series brings readers to the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort, the dark wizard who has regained power and is looking to finish Harry off after trying so many times before. Although this book runs 759 pages, I could not complain that Ms. Rowling wasted space here. Although some of the early chapters seem to meander, she is merely setting the stage for the ultimate fight that must occur between the forces of good and evil, and many other series (Lord of the Rings) work in the same way, bringing all the players together for that final battle that all the action has been leading to. After reading others' critiques of previous books, I can see how some could become frustrated with how magic is used to get characters out of sticky situations, but another way of looking at it could be that the final meeting between Harry and Voldemort is fated to happen. As I look back at the series as a whole, I can see that theme woven throughout, and Rowling's taking the reader to the inevitable really is well done. I cried when I read this book the first time and I cried again at the exact same point, not something I can say about the previous book. There's something about Harry facing his death that is so real and beautiful that we can't help but be carried away in the moment and just see what happens, even though I already knew the ending. We also understand the motives of many major characters, often too late, but just in time to appreciate how everything worked together. I'm not sure that I'll read the series a third time, but I definitely appreciate it more after this.(less)
**spoiler alert** In reading this book a second time, I found myself less emotional and more antsy for the next book. Much like HP and the Chamber of...more**spoiler alert** In reading this book a second time, I found myself less emotional and more antsy for the next book. Much like HP and the Chamber of Secrets, I did not see as much character development and it seemed like most of the events were simply there to set the stage for the final book. The biggest developments we see are in the major characters' love lives, and while that is important at that stage in life, I know Ms. Rowling could have done a better job. I'm not a boy and don't understand how adolescent boys think, but the relationship that finally emerges between Harry and Ginny, Ron's sister, seems like an afterthought, and since I know they get married, I guess I thought I'd see more there. The conflict seems pretty tired, too. Once again, Harry has suspicions and no one believes him until its too late. This angle is used far too often in these books, leaving the reader to wade through countless conversations while waiting for Ms. Rowling to finally get to the point where she just explains the details of what we know is going to happen. While this is not one of my favorites of the series, though, I admire her choice to kill off Dumbledore. I think some authors become too attached to the most beloved characters and sacrifice the story for the sake of keeping those characters alive. Dumbledore's death is really the force that propels Harry into the decision he has to make. I did wish that we would have learned more about Dumbledore, but I think that was reserved for the final book. I guess I'll find out soon.(less)
My second reading of this series is really just making me like it more. The fifth installment of Ms. Rowling's tale of the boy wizard continues the gr...moreMy second reading of this series is really just making me like it more. The fifth installment of Ms. Rowling's tale of the boy wizard continues the great strides she made in the fourth. Character development really stood out to me in this one as did Rowling's really excellent writing when it came to the maturing of Harry through the series of events. The themes really stood out in this one, as well: humility, the importance of empathy and perspective, and the realities of maturing that involve evaluating the weaknesses of your heroes. I did not find her use of emotion or irony contrived but appreciated the care it must have taken to develop the story and highlight what initially seemed to be insignificant details. This book is unnecessarily long, however, and the length made me forget about some of the weaknesses in the first several chapters. Many of the chapters that make up the first portion of the book could have easily been trimmed or discarded completely. I believe that one weakness she does have is adding too many details or insignificant events, making the reader do some work to keep with it until she really gets going.
However, Ms. Rowling, I believe, is deserving of the fame she has achieved in this series and I'm really looking forward to finishing the final two, making sure I take my time to enjoy the hard work I know these books took.
Having just finished this book, I'm debating whether to bump this one up a star. Rowling takes the adventures of her protagonist to a whole new level...moreHaving just finished this book, I'm debating whether to bump this one up a star. Rowling takes the adventures of her protagonist to a whole new level in this book, and the hope I had after some disappointment in the first three in my second reading of this series has been realized. No longer are readers subjected to soft dangers: the threat is real and people are dying. We are also seeing major development in the characters and a vast expansion of the world in which they move. At some points I was frustrated with Harry's decisions and thought processes, but then I had to remind myself that this is a 14-year-old boy whose life has drastically changed over three years. The final chapters of the book explode with tension and lingering suspense, and I'm not surprised now that I read the fifth book in record time. I'm glad I took my time with this on the second read and plan to do so with the remaining books. Even though I know what's going to happen, I have a sense of excitement and anticipation after finishing this one. Okay, I've decided to add that star.(less)
I decided to keep the four star rating I had given this book after my second read, unlike the first two. Although I am still not getting more from the...moreI decided to keep the four star rating I had given this book after my second read, unlike the first two. Although I am still not getting more from these books as I had expected with a second read, this part of the series stands out from the first two. One thing that stood out was the lack of a climactic showdown with Voldemort, something that the first two books, and I believe the remainder, do have. Instead we are finally given some insight to past events, bringing a much fuller element to the story as a whole and setting the stage for future events. While Rowlings style does leave something to be desired, she does a good job of pulling you into the story and making it hard to put the book down. (less)
As I continue on my second reading of the series, I'm finding that I'm looking forward to the later books and hoping that they'll meet the expectation...moreAs I continue on my second reading of the series, I'm finding that I'm looking forward to the later books and hoping that they'll meet the expectations set by my memory. The second book in the series raises the stakes, but the character development and story still seem very juvenile. Even though more lives were at stake, the danger still seems tame to me in comparison to other YA fiction. I'm not sure what the purpose of this book was, either, outside of giving us a small clue about Voldemort. In the first book we are introduced to the wizarding world, and Ms. Rowling spends an unfortunate amount of words in this book rehashing some of those basics in a rather stilted and awkward way. I do find, though, that most authors struggle with transitioning to a second book without this awkwardness, so I can't be too hard on her on that. Overall an okay read, but I'm looking for more.(less)
I'm sure that most people are familiar with the main character of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, because of the popular Lord of the Rings movies. This is...moreI'm sure that most people are familiar with the main character of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, because of the popular Lord of the Rings movies. This is the story of Bilbo's adventure to help a band of dwarves reclaim their home and treasure from the dragon Smaug and introduces readers to the Ring that becomes the focus of the following trilogy.
It had been a while since I read this book and I was inspired to read it again after seeing the first movie Peter Jackson has made based on it. While watching the movie I often tried to remember if what I was seeing had actually happened in the book, and as I read I was repeatedly disappointed in Mr. Jackson and what he had done to this story. I found the book to be much more lighthearted than the movie made the story. There is not even a hint of a "pale orc" hunting the travelers down and Tolkien does keep things relatively light, even with horrible goblins and trolls and spiders. Perhaps Mr. Jackson felt the need to inject more adventure, but I think Tolkien's storyline has adventure enough without creating unnecessary solemnity. If anything it makes me want to reread the Lord of the Rings to appreciate Tolkien's simplicity over the drama of Hollywood.(less)