Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, and Jim Kay

25480342Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (Conception), Jim Kay (Illustrator)
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: May 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 206
Source: Purchased
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Horror
Rating: ★★★★★
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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

All Harry Potter wants is to get away from the Dursleys and go back to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby – who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone–or something–starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects… Harry Potter himself.

My mini-review:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Again, does this even need a review?

I used to think that Chamber of Secrets was my least favorite of the HP books but now that I’ve read it again, I can’t recall why! I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll be marathoning the movies soon enough.

★★★★★ (5 stars) for nearly-headless ghosts, trees that hit back, and one little house elf with a penchant for self-harm.

Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

 

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

My review:

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

I don’t know how to feel about things now that this is over. Or, sort of over. I’ll come back to this point later.

After reading other reviews, it’s easy to see that The Raven Cycle—but more accurately, the Raven lifestyle—is an acquired taste (although the majority of us are like Hungry Hungry Hippos when it comes to the ladies of 300 Fox Way and the boys of Aglionby). I wanted more, and I was prepared to take whatever I could get. I am so thankful for this book.

On that note, this final instalment was not perfect. It was everything I loved about every page of every other book in the cycle, and it was also not. It was Nino’s and Robobees, scrying and dying, dreamworlds and the real world, nobility and decomposition. It was always about the boys, and Blue, and Cabeswater. And in the end, it was still the boys, and Blue, and Cabeswater. I am so thankful for this world.

“Gansey just loved it, fearfully, awesomely, worshipfully.”

For me, The Raven Boys was love at first page. I don’t know how to put it into words. The writing style and character development and eerie thrill and magic that fills its pages is something you have to witness for yourself, from the very beginning. If you did not enjoy the first book, one can assume you would not enjoy the rest, but that’s irrelevant if you’ve already come this far on the journey to find Glendower. I am so thankful for this journey.

I need a separate paragraph just to note my appreciation of the creature/dreamer/warrior that is Ronan Lynch. “Half a dreamer, half a dream, maker of ravens and hoofed girls and entire lands.” He is something else. He is everything you could want from a character. Someone filled with so much good, bad, the ugly and beautiful, that their existence, to simply know them or know of them, is like a gift. I am so thankful for Ronan Lynch.

And can we talk about Pynch? <spoiler removed> Yes. Yes. Yes. They are everything, everything, everything. I am so thankful for this love.

Also, Henry Cheng grinds my gears. Whatever type of plot device he was intended to be, his insertion into this world, into Gansey’s life, felt forced upon me. And I did not like it. In my opinion, the only good thing that Cheng added to the story was his sage advice to Gansey: “If you can’t be unafraid, be afraid and happy.” I am so thankful for these words.

And thank you, Maggie Stiefvater. Reading this series has made me feel like there truly is something more out there. I couldn’t imagine giving this anything less than 5 stars because I truly feel like this series will always be a part of me. Not in the same way that Harry Potter was (and still is), but just as significant. Just as important. I am so thankful for this series.

★★★★ (4.5 stars) because one can never be satisfied with something so beautiful coming to an end. But at least there’s still the possibility of something more. It’s never over. Cabeswater will always exist in some shape, way, or form.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.

My mini-review:

“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

Voldemort, Voldemort,
Oooh voldy voldy voldy,
Voldemort.

*Click here if you don’t know where the above lyric is from.

★★★★★ because… does this even need a review?