BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child – by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany

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Title: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child
(Harry Potter #8)
Authors: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 31st 2016
Publisher: Pottermore
Finished reading: August 4th 2016
Pages: 320

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“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”

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I was lucky enough to be growing up along with the main characters as the books were first published, and it’s easy to say the Harry Potter series is one of my childhood favorites. I’m still a fan, so of course I was thrilled when I first heard about Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. But then I started thinking. The original series played such an important role in my life when I was younger; how will this new title ever live up to that? And I normally don’t like reading hyped books either… Plus, this eighth book is actually the script of a play I will probably never actually see. To be honest, I was going to resist temptation and not read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child for the time being. But then the publish date arrived and reviews started popping up everywhere. And as you might have guessed, I couldn’t resist temptation. I gave myself the excuse that I didn’t want to run into any spoilers, but to be honest I just wanted to revisit their world one last time and see what the future had in store for my favorite trio. And it sure was a journey full of nostalgic feelings! I can’t say this new story actually lives up to the original series and I can understand why so many people seem disappointed by it, but Harry Potter And The Cursed  Child scored bonus points simply for the nostalgia. I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but I can say this: I liked the time travel and alternative past, but I wasn’t convinced by all the characters and final acts. And the fact that it’s a script does make it less pleasant to read even though it’s a superfast read. I wish I could actually watch the play! Still, if you are a Harry Potter fan it will be hard to resist this new story. I know I couldn’t…

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WARNING: SPOILERS!! DON’T READ THE SUMMARY IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST SEVEN BOOKS.

It still isn’t easy being Harry Potter even nineteen years after the final battle. It’s a different kind of difficult though as he is now the overworked employee of the Ministry Of Magic, a husband and father of three children. He still struggles with the past and memories still haunt him. And not all his children are happy with their famous dad… His youngest son Albus feels like he isn’t living up to the family legacy and hates being a Potter and above all resents feeling likea disappointment. He doesn’t really fit in at Hogwarts and has only one friend: Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius and another misfit. Then one day the two take a decision that will threaten to change the past and present forever…

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I can’t say this new story lives up to the first seven books, but I still really enjoyed reading Harry Potter And The Cursed  Child for nostalgic reasons. It’s a script which makes it less comfortable to read, but it is a fast read and there are many references to the past. I didn’t love it, but I think it’s still worth reading if you are a Potter fan. I hope they will make a movie version one day though! Either that or a rewrite of the script to a novel.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Tales Of Beedle The Bard – by J.K. Rowling

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Title: The Tales Of Beedle The Bard
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fiction, Short Stories
First published: December 4th 2008
Finished reading: September 11th 2015
Pages: 109
Rating 3,5qqq

“The heroes and heroines who triumph in his stories are not those with the most powerful magic, but rather those who demonstrate the most kindness, common sense and ingenuity.”

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Those who follow my blog will know that the Harry Potter series was one of my favorite reads when I was growing up and I still love rereading them whenever I have the chance. I’ ve read some of the novellas as well, but somehow I’ve never read The Tales Of Beedle The Bard before. While it still shows that J.K. Rowling is behind the short stories, I didn’t think they were as good as the main series. Sure, they are entertaining enough and I enjoyed reading Dumbledore’s commentary, but they didn’t reach the same level as the actual books. If you are a Harry Potter fan and cannot get enough of the series, you will most likely enjoy this short and fast read though.

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of short fairy tales set in the wizard world of Harry Potter and his friends. The collection is famous among wizards and parents have been telling them to their children during centuries. Hermione Granger has newly translated them from the ancient runes and an extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore has been added. “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot”, “The Fountain of Fair Fortune”, “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”, “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump” and the famous “The Tale of the Three Brothers”; they are all included in this collection.

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The Tales Of Beedle The Bard is basically a collection of the wizard version of a few old fairy tales. Professor Dumbledore gives his commentary after each story, although it tells little new for those who have already finished the series. I understand why J.K. Rowling would have published this novella (millions and millions of us have probably bought it over the years), but I wish she would have written more fairy tales or given us more details of what happens to the main characters… Although that would probably never happen. Nevertheless if you enjoyed the Harry Potter series and don’t want to say goodbye to their magical world just yet, this might be an entertaining read for you.

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – by J.K. Rowling

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Title: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows
(Harry Potter Series #7)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 21st 2007
Finished reading: April 29th 2015
Pages: 608
Rating 5

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”

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Magical. Just magical. It’s been a long time since I last read the seventh and last book of the Harry Potter series, and it turns out that I had forgotten quite a few details. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows is probably the book I’ve read less of the series, but not because I didn’t love it. This last book is the darkest story of all where Harry and his friends have all grown up and have to face their worst challenge yet… J.K. Rowling truly delivered with this ending and I want to thank her for all those magical years reading about the life of Harry Potter. Growing up without these seven books wouldn’t have been the same… The prose is simply brilliant and the fast pace just makes you keep on reading. It is true that the books get darker as Harry grows up and it shows in the prose, but I guess that is part of the charm of this series. The main characters are written in a way that you think of them as your friends, and I think that every teenager and Harry Potter fan would have liked to visit the Hogwarts School Of Magic themselves. This series is definitely recommended for those who enjoy YA fantasy!

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WARNING: Spoilers! I’ve tried to keep this summary short, but it’s almost impossible to keep it without spoilers… Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the previous books yet!

Harry and his friends are supposed to start their last year at Hogwarts, but after all that happened in the previous year they decide not to return to the magical school. Dumbledore has left Harry, Ron and Hermione with a special mission that they cannot tell the rest of the Order Of The Phoenix about… Voldemort has split his soul in order to survive and left the different pieces inside Horcruxes hidden in various places. It is up to the three friends to find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them, because if they don’t Voldemort cannot be truly defeated. It is not an easy quest as they don’t know where the objects are or how to destroy them… And Dumbledore hasn’t left them with many easy clues. Will they be able to solve the puzzle on time and finally beat Voldemort?

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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows is probably one of my favorites of the series. Even though there are so many sad moments and it was hard to accept this was actually the end of the series, J.K. Rowling did an amazing job with this last book. The final battle left me without words, as well as the epilogue… Those who have read this one already will understand why. This series is part of my childhood and I will always love revisiting the magical world of Harry Potter. The prose, the characters, the setting… Everything is just magical.

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

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Title: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
(Harry Potter Series #6)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 16th 2005
Finished reading: March 23rd 2015
Pages: 608
Rating 4,5

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”

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I’m still trying to complete my Harry Potter series reread and the other day I was able to finish the sixth book in the series. In Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, the main characters are about to come of age in the wizard world and it shows. At the age of sixteen, the main characters are given more responsabilities and the world they live in is becoming more dangerous every day. Harry and Dumbledore have to face new challenges as they are trying to defeat the Dark Lord… J.K. Rowling‘s prose is brilliant as always. Although the series gets darker as the main characters grow up, it only feels like a natural development and I guess it’s part of the charm of her novels. Relationships develop and romance starts playing a role, but it doesn’t distract from the main story. Harry’s adventures are more dangerous than ever, and the battle against Lord Voldemort is not without victims… Like the rest of the series, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince simply delivers.

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WARNING: Spoilers! I’ve tried to keep this summary short, but it’s almost impossible to keep it without spoilers… Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the previous books yet!

Harry Potter is starting his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraf and Wizardry, and things are not getting easier. After He Who Must Not Be Named showed his face at the ministry, people no longer think that the young wizard is lying about his return, but Harry is not sure it’s a good thing. People are becoming afraid, and there even has been talk about closing Hogwarts… Some people call him The Chosen One, but he has other thoughts in his head. Dumbledore is going to give him private lessons this year, and Harry is full of questions. The headmaster promises him that he can join Dumbledore on his quest, but there are other things going on at Hogwarts as well. What is Malfoy exactly up to? And what about the mysterious potions book and the half-blood prince?

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The Harry Potter stories continue getting darker and more dangerous as Harry ages, and this sixth book is definitely no longer suited for the younger readers. Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince is no less brilliant than the previous books though, and anyone who loved the first five titles will enjoy this second-to-last installment as well. J.K. Rowling managed to give us yet another magical adventure with an ending that will leave you in tears or at least shocked…

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix – by J.K. Rowling

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Title: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
(Harry Potter Series #5)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: June 21st 2003
Finished reading: February 14th 2015
Pages: 796
Rating 4

“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.”

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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix has always been my least favorite Harry Potter book of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong; I still love the series, but I guess the main problem I have with this fifth book is that I absolutely despise Umbridge. Her character isn’t supposed to be likeable, but still… Both the last chapters of the fourth book and fifth book mark a turning point in the life of Harry, where he is forced to deal with death and the fact that Lord Voldemort has returned. Harry is growing up, and the books get only darker as the story continues. The initial innocence is gone, and the last few books of the series are definitely not suited for the youngest audience. I remember crying the first time I read the ending… Sirius has always been one of my favorite characters and sometimes I wish J.K. Rowling would have mentioned him and the other Animagi characters more frequently. Who knows, maybe one day?

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WARNING: Spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the previous books yet...

After Harry Potter’s fourth year at Hogwarts ended terribly with the death of Cedric and return of Voldemort, he still had to go back to his aunt and uncle during summer. His friends and godfather Sirius seem to have forgotten him as they are busy with the order of the phoenix; a group of witches and Wizards working together to fight Voldemort. Things change when two Dementors show up and attack both Harry and his cousin, forcing the young wizard to protect both of them and use magic in front of a Muggle. The Ministry Of Magic tried to expell him, but Dumbledore interfered and Harry has to go to a hearing instead deciding his fate. The problem is that Harry is the only one who actually saw Voldemort’s return, and The Ministry Of Magic doesn’t want people to believe Harry and let the panic of his return spread. All summer long they have been running an anti-Harry and Dumbledore campaign, but it hasn’t been completely succesful… For now.

Things are about to change at Hogwarts as the Ministry decides to interfere. They have appointed Umbridge as the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher, and soon it shows that the Ministry doesn’t want the students to know how to defend themselves. Paranoid that Dumbledore is trying to create an army to fight against the Ministry, Umbridge has the task to slowly take control of the school and make sure everything is up to standard… And she turns out to be a true dictator in pink disguise. Harry now has to fight both against the numerous decrees of Umbridge and the all too real dreams he has been having… How long will it be before Voldemort shows himself again?

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The prose is as good as ever even though the story gets darker as Harry ages. The parts with Umbridge read slower and I found them annoying in general, but that is probably mostly because of my dislike for this character. While this is my least favorite Harry Potter book, I still enjoyed reading it and even discovered a few facts I didn’t remember. All in all this reread was another magical journey to the world of Harry Potter; one I cannot get enough of.  Recommended as it’s part of the series and necessary to understand the rest of the books!

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire – by J.K. Rowling

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Title: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
(Harry Potter Series #4)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 10th 2000
Finished reading: November 21st 2014
Pages: 636
Rating 4,5

“I don’t know who Maxime thinks she’s kidding. If Hagrid’s half-giant, she definitely is. Big bones… the only thing that’s got bigger bones than her is a dinosaur.”

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I finally came around rereading the fourth book of the Harry Potter series! I had originally planned to reread all of them along with The Not A Book Club Club at Goodreads, but once I started with the Bookish Bingo challenge I couldn’t keep up with the pace. I’m glad I finally did reread The Goblet Of Fire though, because it has been one of my favorite books of the series. While Hermione and her S.P.E.W. promotion tends to be a bit on the annoying side, the tournament makes it a highly entertaining and addictive read. The fact that Harry’s godfather Sirius is playing a role in it is a huge bonus; I’ve always loved the Marauder characters and I wish J.K. Rowling would have incorporated them more into the books… The Goblet Of Fire is probably the first really dark book of the series, where Lord Voldemort rises again and the world is getting more dangerous. But it also shows Harry and his friends are growing up and behaving like any normal teenager… Definitely a must read in case you haven’t read it, like the rest of the series!

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WARNING: Spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the previous books yet...

Harry is about to start his fourth year at Hogwarts, but he has another event to look forward to before: the Quidditch World Cup. The Weasleys have invited him to come watch the final, and he is truly excited. Things take a turn for the worse after the match though, and Voldemort’s supporters, the Death Eaters, manage to mark the sky with a mark that hasn’t been seen since the Dark Lord attacked Harry Potter and lost all his power… And soon panick is all around.

Harry has other things to worry about though, as the first Triwizard tournament in centuries is being held at Hogwarts his year. And although Harry wasn’t supposed to enter the competition, somehow his name ended up in the goblet of fire anyway and he was chosen as one of the champions. He now has to face the three tasks along with the other three champions, and they definitely are not easy at all… And what about the person who put his name in the goblet? And the threat that Voldemort is getting stronger? It’s going to be another difficult and dangerous year at Hogwarts for Harry…

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I have loved this series ever since the first book came out, and I can easily say these books have shaped my childhood. In The Goblet Of Fire we see Harry that slowly growing up and the events are getting darker and more serious. While I don’t care much about the romance Rowling is trying to introduce in the story, I still very much loved this book. The tournament, the different tasks, marauders… The Goblet Of Fire is filled with mystery, magic and awesomeness. A must read!

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban – by J.K. Rowling

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Title: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
(Harry Potter Series #3)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 8th 1999
Finished reading: September 25th 2014
Pages: 317
Rating 4,5

“Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

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Some know already that I’m currently rereading the seven books of the Harry Potter series. Book number three, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, is one of my favorites and marks the beginning of a growingly dangerous wizard world where Voldemort is about to rise again. Growing up along with Harry and his friends the first time I read these books, I could really appreciate the books becoming darker over the years… And it makes sense as Harry is growing up as well. J.K. Rowling did an excelent job with this third book, and is able to tell us a both terrifying and magical story in only threehundred pages. Lupin is probably one of my favorite Defense Against The Dark Arts teachers, and I remember being glad J.K. Rowling decided to use him again in later books. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban is, like the previous books, a definite must read for anyone who enjoys reading YA fantasy and won’t disappoint. It’s just magical!

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WARNING: Spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the previous books yet...

Just as Harry thinks his summer with the Dursleys cannot get worse, his aunt decides to stay at her brother’s house. She despises Harry and uses every opportunity to criticize and humiliate him. Harry tries to be patient as he cannot use magic in presence of Muggles, but enough is enough and he ends up accidently blowing up his aunt. Fleeing the Dursley house, he gets picked up by a very special bus and when he arrives at The Leaky Cauldron they are waiting for him. But he doesn’t get expelled as he was expecting; they actually seem very glad to see him alive. A dangerous murderer has escaped the wizard prison of Azkaban and is currently on the loose… And what Harry doesn’t know, is that the same wizard named Sirius Black is looking for him.

Everybody seems to be concerned about Harry’s safety but Harry himself. They don’t let him go anywhere alone and this doesn’t stop when they arrive at Hogwarts. They fear Black will attempt to enter Hogwarts and attack him. Dumbledore has agreed to have the Azkaban prison guards, creatures named Dementors, at the gates of Hogwarts to prevent this. They don’t seem to obey all the rules though and approach the students various times. The Dementors have a terrible effect on Harry. Every time they are close, he hears the last moments of his parents’ life… And he faints. Black is spotted close to Hogwarts, and then he managed to enter the school and attack the portrait that guards the entrance of the Griffindor common room. New security measures are taken, and Harry is trying to weapon himself against the Dementors with the help of professor Lupin. Then one night the horrible truth comes out and Harry starts seeing the past events in a whole new light…

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Poor Harry doesn’t get a break, does he? Surviving Voldemort three times already (twice in the first two years at Hogwarts), you think he deserved a nice and quiet third year. But no, this time a dangerous criminal is trying to kill him and people turn out to be different than who they seemed to be. I loved the final scenes and I wish I could have a watch like Hermione’s… A great reread and definitely worth reading if you haven’t already!