I was originally going to review of The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan as my second book post of the year, but my birthday was a little bit ago and my wife, Steph, gave me the rest of the Harry Potter collection as a present. I quickly put down the Lady Trent Memoir, and continued my quest in the world of Hogwarts.
J.K. Rowling continues to improve in each book, and the further I get into these books the more the deviate from the movies in very subtle ways. For instance, in the books the Dementors hover, but don’t fly. They remain on the ground while they do their work. In some ways that’s more terrifying as it shows they have some range with their powers, in others it makes them less terrifying as you can more easily escape them.
Rowling does a good job of introducing fanciful things and events and making you wonder how they work, but then she doesn’t explain how it works, it’s magic after-all and it doesn’t need explaining. This is a good trait for the fact that this is a kids book, but if you’re a Ravenclaw at heart, you’re going to wonder about the paradoxes she creates.
Of the first three books this is the first one that starts to have solid plot points and story development. I’ve noticed that Rowling adds more to each of her characters in each books. Judging by the movies there is a cast of some 20 or 30 characters to develop, and Rowling adds just a sprinkle to the depths of each in each book. In the first book, there’s only really character depth to about three characters, but in each one another characters shines through without seeming to bog down the story.
What will I read next? Well, I must confess, I’m already half way through The Goblet of Fire and without giving a full review, I’ll say The Goblet of Fire transitions the story out of being a kids series and into being a young adult series.
To get me through the rest of the year, I’ve chosen a handful of books:
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
- Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
- And of course, the rest of the Harry Potter series
To reach my one book a month quota, I’ll still need another 7 books, so please feel free to make some recommendations below.