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

Nov

25

Review: Sharpe’s Triumph

By pcurd

Sharpe's Triumph
Sharpe’s Triumph by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a lot shorter than Sharpe’s Tiger but was no less of a good story. The characters remain great, and Sharpe’s life is brought into ever greater focus.

Wellesley gets a much large role in this story as well which was very pleasing. He is one of the best characters, of course!

I am keen to continue with each of these stories but I have little to add to my review of Sharpe’s Tiger – the locations are excellently detailed, the battles are vivid, and the pain and suffering the soldiery experience is clear and well described.

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Nov

22

Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By pcurd

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

I was looking forward to this book as to me, this is when the story starts. The scene setting is out of the way and the last main character (I think) is introduced. I was strangely saddened when I finished it, as it really sags in the middle. The first 1/3 flew by, the last 1/3 I pretty much read in one night, but the middle 1/3… I lost all enthusiasm for it.

Umbridge is a potent character and her presence in this book is not as extreme as it was in the film, which I think captured the repressive atmosphere better, but she is still unlikable. It felt like she is intentionally over-evil to make Dumbledore all the more over-good by comparison. His flaws and his attitude feel very different to the previous books in which he was all-knowing.

I believe this is intentional, it shows Harry growing up and realising he has to stand for himself, etc, but it’s heavy handed. The film again covers this better.

There is some foreshadowing echoing Fred and George to Harry, Hermione, and Ron which I missed the first read through but I’m not convinced it’s intentional!

It’s OK, but not as good as I remembered sadly.

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Nov

22

Review: Sharpe’s Tiger

By pcurd

Sharpe's Tiger
Sharpe’s Tiger by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m listening to Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe books in chronological order as recommended by his fans and so this is a “middle” book in the series but the first book in Sharpe’s life. He is 22, a private, and bored with the army.

Throughout the book we learn quite a bit about Richard Sharpe and his desires. The characters are (in typical Cornwell fashion) well fleshed out, the baddies are bad, the goodies are complex, and the rest are just doing what they think best.

I was attracted to the series because they are acclaimed to have a fair and true representation of the period and I’m a sucker for historical fiction.

Other than some terminology that had to be researched (what is a shako!) I’ve found it easy and comfortable to follow – it’s written entirely in modern English bar some slang – and a delight to visualise the environments and characters going about their life.

For many people I imagine the book is a little boring since you know what is going to happen to Sharpe but I’ve managed to stay fairly spoiler free so I honestly don’t know what will happen to him (I assume he doesn’t die, there are at least 21 more books!) as he progresses through the story.

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Nov

3

Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

By pcurd

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

Took me a bit longer to finish this because the story isn’t as compelling and I found myself doing other things rather than read it. I think that sums up the writing fairly well, it’s a better story than some of the earlier ones but the ominous sense of dread that should be building in this story.. just isn’t. I assume the editors/publishers wanted a more kid friendly tone but it spoils the book quite significantly.

It’s sad to say that I think the film version of this book is better (a first for the Harry Potter series in my opinion) because it manages to capture the atmosphere better.

It has some twists (unusual in a story aimed at children) that I wasn’t expecting – even on my second read through I had forgotten it was coming up. The final scenes (with the big payoff) are very short, edited to within an inch of the minimum words needed – I’m not sure if that was a good choice or not.

I don’t think this is a good book to jump into the series with, but it’s essential to understand the next book – where the series takes off IMO – so it becomes a must read just for that reason.

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