Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a fan fiction which takes a bit more scientific look at the saga of Harry Potter. While happening in Ha...moreHarry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a fan fiction which takes a bit more scientific look at the saga of Harry Potter. While happening in Harry Potter universe, it also introduces the readers to basics of scientific method and sees Harry trying to apply it to magic. It also takes a stab at explaining common fallacies in thought patterns and describes some of the groundbreaking psychological experiments of the last century, all the while keeping up with the fantasy plot.
Sounds boring? Doomed to failure? It could be both, but Methods of Rationality pulls through. It starts with criticizing low hanging fruits like quidditch. However, as the story evolves - and boy, does it evolve: two more chapters were published this week - it goes from "Rowling with modifications" into an ambitious story of its own. The characters grow, the plot thickens, and it turns into a thought-provoking work of literary art.
Of course, there are things that occasionally annoy. Harry Potter is too adult for his (and probably story's) own good. Being fan fiction, the book takes occasional, completely unrelated side steps, and almost 80 chapters into the book, the plot still doesn't seem to be converging into any kind of resolution.
Still, on the whole, this is definitely worth reading, and one of the best Harry Potter books I've read ;)(less)
I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth installation in the Tiffany Aching subseries set in the Discworld universe. The first three were targeted for youn...moreI Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth installation in the Tiffany Aching subseries set in the Discworld universe. The first three were targeted for young adults, and this one's main character is still only 15 years old, so you might think it's another story for the younger audience. Forget about that, and just go read it already.
Compared to some of the earlier Discworld novels, I Shall Wear Midnight has a darker tone from the beginning. Even if it still has plenty of humor, clever use of words and distinctly funny supporting cast, it also attacks some of the shadier undercurrents of the human mind. Pratchett takes a teenaged witch, a bunch of tiny blue men and a decent plot, and turns them into a cocktail that, along with the story-telling, also brings up themes revolving around communities, such as acceptance, bonding and herd behavior. It does not really reveal anything you wouldn't already know, but it shows that comic fantasy doesn't always have to be light. (less)
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is probably the first book which I read purely based on reviews; or to be more exact, the glowing review in Fantasy &...moreHold Me Closer, Necromancer is probably the first book which I read purely based on reviews; or to be more exact, the glowing review in Fantasy & Science Fiction. Yes, it was a jump to unknown, but after reading the book, well worth the risk.
HMCN could be thought as fiction for young adults - the plot revolves around ever popular paranormal themes, such as werewolves, zombies and necromancy. The main characters are young and at least reasonably beautiful, the main adversaries are obviously bad guys from the very beginning. If you're looking for moral ambivalence, this is probably not the book for you.
The writing is clever, and the dialogue is full of comical soundbites. The plot starts a bit slow, and occasionally jumps around a bit too much, but towards the end, it all starts to come together. Too bad, though, that by that time you've probably noticed there's no way the book can end with a decent closure. The final confrontation is a bit too abrupt, and the final chapters pave too clear a way for the sequel - recognizing this as the first book in a series certainly doesn't require any supernatural powers.
Having said that, if you're in need of something to spend a few hours with, HMCN is as good a choice as any. It probably won't make the list of contemporary classics, but the characters are easy to like and it shows a promise for the future; after all, the sequel is already on the way.(less)