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You are currently browsing the Log et al – Peter Curd blog archives for October, 2016.

Oct

29

Review: Leviathan Wakes

By pcurd

Leviathan Wakes
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed how this story stands alone but clearly sets up a series. Several twists and turns I wasn’t expecting kept the pace up and my interest in the ending strong.

The characters feel and act different, their personalities clearly coming through in dialogue and through actions – I was surprised how human they felt considering this is a SciFi story.

The story focuses on the politics and differing opinions between the “Inner Planets” and the “[Asteroid] Belt” and how the different groups living in each location feel about each other. As the main plot starts to pick up, these differences manifest in believable ways and add to the sense of reality Corey manages to create.

I look forward to diving into the remainder of the series!

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Oct

15

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By pcurd

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A proper story at last! The Potterverse really takes off in this story and the world building, characterisation, and plot starts to come together.

This is the first really good book in the series, and I read it in one day because it was too good to put down.

Hermione’s stress, and other aspects of school life, start to be expanded upon and the purpose of Hogwarts to the story begins to come into focus. It’s a home away from home (and for some, it’s the only home they know). It’s a safe haven, and a learning experience (in more ways than lessons).

I’m not a huge fan of the amount of Quidditch in this book, I didn’t find it added anything to the story or the characters and took up a lot of time. Sirius was the first character that I was sure was going to be important to Harry the moment he was introduced – I think it’s a sign of the quality of the writing by this point.

The ending is powerful, and rates as one of the sections in a Rowling book altogether.
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Oct

15

Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By pcurd

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I rushed through this book, not because it’s bad but because I wanted to get into the later books as I remembered them being better. I was pleasantly surprised. The relationships that started in the first book continue and evolve believably as the characters age and get more comfortable with each other.

Harry and his core group of friends are likeable – although the teenage angst does start to jar at times. The story gets going slowly (I think perhaps a tension is supposed to be building, but it didn’t get through to me) and it required a lot of effort to keep focused on the story.

Some more world building opens up, and the teachers get proper personalities. Our knowledge of the outside world is still limited but the framework for the future books is there. Some foreshadowing of the future hides in the story and later stories refer back to the events of this book rather more than any other book. Definitely a necessary re-read, even if the main plot is still taking a back seat.

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Oct

10

Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

By pcurd

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Slow start, but once it gets into Chapter 3 and onward the story picks up and hammers through. An easy read over a couple of days and worth the investment of time. The characters need more developing, but the seeds are clearly there.

There is less world building than you’d expect in a “first book” of a series and most of the characters are likeable, with believable back stories and personalities. I’ve never read any of the standard “British Boarding School” stories so I can’t say if the usual tropes are met, but the mix of people fits my preconceptions.

The writing style fits a typical YA story more than a children’s book, perhaps this is what makes the story so popular with adults, and is very easy to follow. Editing is tight and the quality remains high throughout. When I first read the book (when it came out) I did not expect a 7 book series to come from it, but clearly Rowling had a large world in mind during her writing and didn’t write herself into corners.

The language choices, the place names, and the character names don’t suffer from Fantasy syndrome – many are old English terms so have a ring of realism about them – and this really helps with the immersion.

Several of the ideas and characters come back and add significance later – especially in Deathly Hallows (the last one) – so this book is a definite must read on a re-read as well.

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