On the Subject of Genre

I am often asked, “Erik, how is it that you choose which genre to classify the books you review?”. Well, not often…or at all. However, for argument’s sake, let’s pretend people do ask me that and that it has happened so often that it warrants a blog post.

There; now that we are all operating under the same collective delusion, how do I go about assigning genre? Continue reading “On the Subject of Genre”

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On the Subject of Harry Potter

I have to say that throughout reading the Harry Potter series, I felt many different emotions regarding both the content and technique of the story. As a whole, I believe it is a spectacular crescendo in both Rowling’s technical ability as a writer as well as the way in which she crafts the events and plot lines in the story. Is it perfect? No. It is a feat of engrossing storytelling? Absolutely. Continue reading “On the Subject of Harry Potter”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Review

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

Published in 2007

Pages: 759

Genre: Fantasy, magical realism

“The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.”

*SPOILER ALERT*

Dumbledore is dead and has set Harry on a quest to destroy the seven Horcruxes, items imbued with parts of Voldemort’s soul, in order to defeat the Dark Lord and bring order to the world. He is not alone in his quest, Hermione and Ron are with him through the tough times though each has their misgivings in the pursuit of their goal. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows marks the ending of an era in the world of storytelling. The stakes are at their highest while nothing is certain but death and the end of the story for our heroes. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Review”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Review

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Published in 2005

Pages: 652

Genre: Fantasy, magical realism

“It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince continues building toward the eventual climactic confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. After the battle in the Department of Mysteries in The Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore reveals that the prophecy foretold that the only person who can defeat Voldemort is Harry. His sixth year at Hogwarts finds numerous changes in the form of Professor Snape now teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, Harry finding a potions book with notes in it written by the unknown “Half-Blood Prince” that helps him present himself as a potions prodigy, and the responsibility of being Quidditch Captain. Along with these changes, Harry begins private lessons with Dumbledore in order to arm themselves with knowledge to use in their fight against Voldemort. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Review”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Review

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Published in 2003

Pages: 870

Genre: Fantasy, magical realism

“The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix brings new levels of danger and realization to Harry’s world. Before even beginning his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry is attacked by dementors and is sentenced to a disciplinary hearing due to his use of magic to repel them and save his cousin. Following this is a year fraught with change in the form of a terrible new teacher, Professor Umbridge (according to dictionary.com, the word umbrage means hostility, offense, and annoyance so nice word choice there, Rowling), mounds of homework in preparation of the O.W.L. exams that will determine their career paths, and haunting dreams about a dark corridor.

Though the entire series chronicles Harry’s coming of age in the formative years of his life, it is in the fifth book that the most drastic change takes place. Harry is at a crossroads as far as how others treat him and how he perceives himself. The age of fifteen is difficult, even for the magically inclined, and quite a few of the signposts of puberty rear their heads in The Order of the Phoenix. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Review”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Review

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Published in 2000

Pages: 734

Genre: Fantasy, magical realism

“The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it “the Riddle house,” even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.”

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, our eponymous hero finds himself in yet another harrowing year at Hogwarts. This year, Hogwarts plays host to the Triwizard Tournament which is a competition between the three wizarding schools: Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons. Due to the danger of the tasks, only seventh year students are allowed to enter their names. However, true to Harry Potter’s track record of luck, his name is chosen and he finds himself the fourth champion. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Review”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Review

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Published in 1999

Pages: 435

Genre: Fantasy, magical realism

“Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban takes everything that was good from the first two books and pours it all into one fantastic read. There are fabulous creatures, a malevolent force seeking to do Harry harm, Quidditch matches, Ron hurting Hermione’s feelings, it’s all there and in full force.

Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Review”