Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Harry Pottera nd the Deathly Hallows

Harry Pottera nd the Deathly Hallows

I’m not going to say too much about Deathly Hallows – I reread this when not feeling to well, which would probably affect how I did or didn’t enjoy the book.

The last installment of the Harry Potter franchise, Deathly Hallows pulls everything together, eventually, and after an epic battle, where Harry finally works out what Dumbledore has been trying to get him to work out for himself, the happy ending everyone wanted, sort of arrives. There are, however some notable absences at the end of the book. I won’t detail them – just in case you haven’t read the book yourself yet, but the deaths of some characters do dampen the triumph somewhat, which I believe was deliberate on the part of J.K. Rowling. Yes, Harry won, but at what cost?!

Often slow moving – the book does cover a lot of ground and angst as well as a lot of soul searching and agonising.

I did enjoy the book, despite what my comments above may sound like, and I’m definitely looking forward to the movie in November!

Arrival by Charlotte McConaghy

Arrival

Arrival

The author, Charlotte McConaghy began writing Arrival when when was just 14.. She set out to write a fantasy that was complex and exciting, with a bit of romance thrown in!

Arrival is high fantasy, set in another world where magic, elves, dragons, sword fights and adventure are the order of the day.

Six friends, here on Earth, discover a portal which transports them to Paragor, another world where they are welcomed  as the Strangers foretold in prophesy. The friends do not all land together and much of the book skips from ‘stranger’ to ‘stranger’ following their individual trials as they adjust to their new situation and try to find each other. By the end of the book, two of the friends have still not been found, but the others are closely involved in a battle to save Paragor…

I did enjoy this book, but was constantly reminded of Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry – the story of five men and women transported to another world to battle the forces of evil.

I found the book tended to skip around as it traced the adventures of the different characters. The chapters were short and I would have liked a bit more characterization of some of the central characters. I found it very hard to settle with any one character before being whisked off to another.

This is an enjoyable book, but I’m not sure that I will continue with the series when the next book comes out.

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

I actually read this book along time ago, but wanted to see the movie before I reviewed the book.

Percy Jackson is a misfit. Dyslexic. ADHD. You think of a label – Percy Jackson had it! He has spent his school life moving from school to school as his problems with authority, inability to sit still and keep his mouth shut and his less than stellar academic record get him kicked out of school after school until he ends up at Yancy Academy, under the tutelage of Mr Brunner, a Latin teacher with a difference. Together with his friend, Grover, Percy trails along behind the class as they visit  the Metropolitan Museum in search of Greek Gods.

Things go seriously down hill from there. Percy’s Mum has hooked up with a dead beat loser who rules her life with an iron fist and doesn’t like Percy. His father is not around – in fact, Percy knows almost nothing about him, except that he loved the beach and left suddenly for some unknown reason.

Percy has no idea, but his problems all stem from the fact that he is a half blood. The son of a God. As such, he is in constant danger from monsters, fureys and other mythological dangers. As Percy comes of age, his ‘talents’ also begin to manifest and Percy can no longer hide in plain sight. With his world crumbling around him, his mother and Grover try to get him to Camp Half-Blood – with a minotaur hot on their heels.

Of course this is just the beginning as Percy has to adjust to life a s a half blood at camp, discover who his father is and face a task way beyond his comprehension and his fledgling powers.

I enjoyed both the book and the movie. Percy doesn’t spend too much time feeling sorry for himself. In fact he has a tendency to react physically without too much forethought – although his mouth often gets him into more trouble than not!

With Grover and one other half blood, Annabeth who is a daughter of Athena, Percy sets out on a quest to recover Zeus’ Lightning Bolt (which the Gods think he has stolen – but he has no idea what is going on – of course).

As usual, they changed quite a bit of the book to make the film more visually effective, but they did keep to the spirit of the book, if not the sequence. In fact I found it very interesting the parts they did change – The hydra in the film is a great alternative to the chihuahua in Atlanta, but I would have thought the Tunnel of Love at the Fun Park would have worked beautifully on film!

Altogether I really enjoyed the book and can see why it is very popular with the boys at school!

The Nostradamus Prophecy by Theresa Breslin

The Nostradamus Prophecy

The Nostradamus Prophecy

Set in France during the reign of King Charles and his mother, Catherine de’ Medici, this is the story of a young musician, Melisande who not only witnesses Nostradamus’ prophecy of massacre and death, but becomes caught up in court politics and espionage.

Melisande is the youngest of two daughters who travel with their father, a talented itinerant minstrel, who spends time with the French Court during King Charles’ his Royal Procession through the countryside. She  is very close to her father and particularly her sister Chantelle, spending most of her spare time playing her mandolin and helping to embroider her trousseau.

Nostradamus is largely ignored, however he chances to meet Melisande and allows himself to be pressured into a personal prophecy of doom and connection, telling her to seek him out in her hour of need. Her need comes sooner than she expected, however she is not without friends.

One of the King’s courtiers has ‘lent’ him a leopard and his handler, a boy called Malchior. When Malchior is whipped by the evil Count de Ferignay, she helps him and in return, when her sister is murdered by Ferignay and she herself is under threat, Melchior helps her to escape.

This is just the first quarter of the book!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Melisande is a feisty yet vulnerable character who is largely unaware of her own charms and also just happens to be a dedicated and talented musician. Melchior is only present for a small part of the story, however he definitely caught my imagination.

I know that the intrigues of the French Court are only vaguely covered in the book, but I don’t think any more time or detail needed to be spent on the machinations of the courtiers and especially the King’s mother, a member of the famous de’ Medici family – famous for their use of poison to dispose of their rivals…

A great read!