Category Archives: fantasy

The Unbound – (An Archived Novel) – Victoria Schwab – Review

(This will be a review for a sequel in a series. Spoilers may be present for the first book).

Mackenzie is having trouble sleeping, which is understandable after her fight with Owen. She can’t close her eyes without seeing the man’s twisted smile, hear his grating voice and be stalked by him. But she can’t show anyone that pain. She has to prove to the Archive that she is whole and capable. But that becomes even harder when people begin to go missing around her. Who is out to get her? Is she losing her mind? Can she keep herself and the Archive together or will Owen win in the end?


I was worried about reading this series at first. I know that Schwab can’t currently write anymore books for this series, due to her contact and current publisher. She has talked about this on her Twitter and Instagram before. So I was worried that this was going to end in a cliffhanger and leave me wanting more. In reality it ended with a final moment that left room for more but also was one I can live with being the final end.

As for a sequel this improved so much on the first. It is so hard to write a sequel to a book because you have to live up to the first, keep the story threads moving and not lose speed. Schwab did a great job at this. While the first one was kind of predictable this one was anything but. I didn’t see so much of this coming and wanted to keep reading in order to know where the whole story was going. It took the first one and expanded the characters, the world while also centering on a common theme and picking up from the first book.

I thought the best part of this book as how it dealt with trauma and how people are forced to handle what has happened to them. Too many times we try to force people to handle trauma how we think it is best for them. We try to help but we are trying to make people be okay too fast. Usually people are given small finite amount of time to be affected then they are forced to pretend they are okay. If they let it go onto long they are seen as too damaged and thus need to be removed from society or their lives.

This was explored well because we see Mackenzie trying to hold herself together. In the book we are only about a month out from the incidents in the first book. She was forced to fight a man she thought was her friend, throw him into a void of nothinginess, learned secrets were being hid from her and watched a boy she cared about being nearly fatally stabbed. Anyone would have severe PTSD after that. But she is told she has to show she is capable. She can be strong and manage her life and job.

In reality she is breaking and she knows it but she can’t tell anyone. She has to clear her list, keep her mask on for her family and deal with the reality of her nightmares in order to keep her job as Keeper. She has to pretend she is okay when in reality she is anything but. The way this was all handled was done really well, I thought. We see her pain, feel her fright and understand her choices. She is one of those characters I had no trouble emphasizing with. I wanted her to be able to break and not worry about losing everything in the process.

I liked the additional characters in this book too. I thought Cash was a nice addition to the cast and Amber had potential. They were every much side characters in this book but I saw where their potential could be.


While I loved most of this book it does use one of my least favorite type of storylines, which I have done a whole post about, so I will keep this brief. Mackenzie keeps too many secrets from Wesley, because she is trying to protect him. I hate that idea. It never works. It only creates confusion, and danger for the other person.

Now this book didn’t use it in a way that angered me too much. I was annoyed for sure but I wasn’t as annoyed as I usually am. I understood her choice. Mackenzie wanted this all to be her fight, wanted to show she was alone capable of taking care of herself.

But Wesley was the one person she could have told. He would not only understand but he could have done so much to help her. He would know how to be separate when necessary. Instead she pushed him away. I thought if she had told him their relationship could have deepened. We also could have explored the idea of having those around you to help yourself heal. I thought we could have seen how important support is to helping someone handle trauma.

I also wished we had gotten a bit more about Wesley in this book. There is so much mystery around him. I would love a book from his POV. I want to know who his family is, what truly happened and why he hides his name. I know that was probably planned for a further book but I would love to have that information.


There was nothing that made me want to stop reading this book. There was nothing I had to try to be okay with to finish. It was fun and exciting and pulled me along the whole time.

I gave this book 4 stars mostly because of the whole secret keeping issue I had. Other than that this is a great sequel and leaves sparks for so much more.


“Maybe I just can’t stand our home-turned-house.” (pg. 15) (I love the way these simple words sum up so much, such a vivid image and idea).

“But the fact is, dreams catch us with our armor off.” (pg. 70)

“It doesn’t all boil down to with or against. Some of us just want to stay alive.” (pg. 98)

“Treat all the bad things like dreams, Kenzie. That way, no matter how scary or dark they get, you just have to survive until you wake up.” (pg. 177)

“We stand out in the minds of others more than in our own.” (pg. 275)

Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Prachett – review

The end of times is on its way. The apocalypse is supposed to be terrifying, the world is ending. What if the end of the world doesn’t go quite as planned? What if the angel and demon in charge of starting the whole thing, make a few mistakes? What if the anti-christ isn’t brought up in a tough and angry home but a quiet suburban family? What if the four horseman decide they are bikers instead? The apocalypse may seem scary but that is only if the people in charge actually know what they are doing.

The characters in this book are what make this one so much fun. This was a reread for me. I read it ages ago and remembered it vaguely. I did remember that I thought it was fun and near the end of the year I needed a fun and quirky book to read.

The angel, Aziraphale, and demon Crowly are my favorite characters in this book. I loved how they played off each other. They are friends, do their jobs because they have too but are super reluctant to end the world. They like Earth and humanity. They enjoy being around people and they don’t want to give any of that up.

They were interesting because they felt like tired office workers to me. They felt like two normal guys who are fed up with their jobs. They stay with their employers out of necessity but they don’t quite agree with everything. They go along because they have to but you can feel their reluctance and avoidance of the issue.

I like that they were close as friends. This way they used each other to vent when necessary was fun. I thought it was an interesting dynamic and I could read an entire book just about the two of them.

The tone of this book was relaxing and enjoyable. Apocalypse books are usually stressful and fill you with fear and trepidation. This one just made you wonder if the end of the world is actually possible. Judging by the random things happening in our world everyday you wonder if these agents are in charge. Constanly messing up, not caring and not wanting to finish out what they started. They all felt human and it felt like anyone I know could have been in this scenario.

The four horsemen characters were interesting as well. They were the ones that felt closest to what we know they are supposed to be. They are menacing but still with a silly, quirky edge to them. You feel their presences but you aren’t scared of them. They are again just doing what they are told but not forcing anything. Just workers showing up but not putting their full effort into their jobs.


I did think the ending was a bit flat. I thought it worked but you are leading up to this huge end and it sort of fizzled out for me. It was a lot more talking then I remembered. I wanted them to be running around trying to stop each others mistakes but instead you get speeches.

The ending worked for the story but it wasn’t what I was expecting or what I remembered. I thought it could have used a bit more punch or a few more laugh moments to get finishing the book with the same tone as it started. You have these fumbling idiots running around the whole time but they all kind of just stand around at the end.

There wasn’t anything that threw me out of the story completely. I stayed in the world and connected to the characters. It was a fun and interesting ride.

I gave this book 4 stars. It would have been a five star if the ending was a bit more involved.

“They’d been brought up to it and weren’t, when you got right down to is, particularly evil. Human beings mostly aren’t. They just get carried away by new ides, like dressing up in jackboots and shooting people, or dressing up in white sheets and lynching people, or dressing up in tie-dye jeans and playing guitars at people. Offer people a new creed with a costume and their hearts and minds will follow.” (pg. 18)

“They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways , and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse.” (pg. 25)

“Hell wasn’t a major reservoir of evil, any more than Heaven, in Crowley’s opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.” (pg. 69)

The Archived – Victoria Schwab – Review

The dead are not gone forever. When you die your body and all your memories are preserved in the Archive. There you are stacked on shelves, able to leave a lasting impression on the world. Mackenzie is a Keeper, charged with keeping Histories from escaping. An easier said then done job when the Archive begins to break down and her world is upended. Can she stop those responsible or will time run out and will she be added to the shelves?

I misunderstood what this book was about when I read the summary and read other reviews. I have seen people praising this book and I loved Victoria Schwab so I knew I had to read this one.

I thought that the idea was that people’s consciousness were preserved in literal books. Instead their bodies are recreated in this Archive and that is where their memories are stored. I really liked the concept. I liked the idea that when you die you are not dead and gone forever. I liked the idea that there is a literal library of people and their histories. Each person is important because of the life they have lived and the things they have learned throughout that life. I loved the idea of preserving everyone.

I thought the pacing of this story as great as well. It didn’t drag on. The mystery was presented early and I liked that our main character was the one to stumble upon the mystery right away. She didn’t just hover around waiting for someone to tell her what to do. She was curious and began investigating. She worked to find the answers she wanted.

The story moved a perfect pace. We got our mystery and pieces were slowly revealed bit by bit. I liked that we weren’t stumbling around wondering what was going on or the end being just a huge info dump. Everything seemed to work in the right order.

Wes was my favorite character in this book. He felt original and fresh. I loved that he wore earrings, nail polish and eyeliner. I loved that he is an individual and he isn’t someone who is going to fall into a generic category. I think too many times male characters are just described as handsome in a super generic way. Wes felt more dynamic and real.

I could have used a bit more detail about how the Archive itself works. I don’t quite understand how they get all the people and their memories there. The world isn’t magical one so I am unsure how that works. Especially since it is so secretive. It isn’t like everyone knows about it yet everyone is cataloged there.

I also saw hints of one of my least favorite things in this story near the end. Thankfully it didn’t go that route but I still feel like the possibility for it, is there in the sequel. The idea that you don’t have to tell someone something in order to protect them. I hate the idea of keeping secrets because you want to keep someone safe. It never works and I hope it doesn’t become a thing in the next book.

I enjoyed the whole ride of this book. I see hints of where the next book could go. I didn’t have anything that threw me out of the story and made me want to put it down.

I have this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and am excited to read Unbound to see where the story goes.

“We leave memories on objects we love and cherish, things we use and wear down.” pg. 26
“Lying is easy, but lonely.” pg. 84
“Things only hurt more when you can see them.” pg.251



Discover the Destroyer – K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review

We jumped back into David’s perspective again in this installment in the Everworld series. While we were in the other’s POV’s I was having issues with David. I was falling into this way of seeing him as love struck and wannabe hero. I was having trouble remembering who he truly was.

This book reminded me who this character actually is. David is a kid who is desperate to get back control of his life. He has not felt like he is strong or worthy since his childhood. What happened to him as a child has broken him and he is starting to see the real damage done at that camp.

I find it really interesting how this storyline is being handled. While nothing is blatantly stated or shown you get a good idea of what happened to David. It’s even more interesting because as a teenager I never caught on to what happened. Or if I did it didn’t stay with me. 

Now this storyline I can see and I can understand the true impact it is having on David as a full character. He is very self aware. He is trying hard to not show the rest of his friends what happened to him. He can’t watch as his worst fears about himself are being proved true. We hear how he knows he is weak around Senna but not willing to walk away from her. This push and pull makes their relationship more than just a normal crush relationship.

I remembered this part of the main plot well too. This is the point where our group starts having a lasting impact on the world around them. They are introducing aspects of the real world to this new world. I did have a little trouble believing they could do all the work they needed to do in such a short amount of time. But Jalil is smart so I am letting that slide.

I know the next book is one that I struggled with when I first read the series. I remember it being about fighting and tactic heavy and less about the characters. I am interested to see how I feel about it now. 


Realm of the Reaper (Everworld #4) – K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review

519Q8QTAMYL._SX276_BO1,204,203,200_I am going to do a mini-review for the rest of these books. I have looked at things like the writing and the plot progression in depth before and I think at this point there is nothing too new to say about any of it. I want to concentrate some of these reviews on the development of the characters. This is where this series excels and I am curious how I see their progression now. I don’t think I need to do a longer review with these anymore, because it will just get repetitive.

This is Jalil’s book. I was having trouble remembering what Jalil’s story was. I knew some of David’s, April’s and Christopher’s but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what Jalil was doing in the story.

I forgot that Jalil has OCD. We see it from the first pages. He is enslaved to his mind and he hates it. He can’t fight it and he doesn’t let anyone know what it does to him. In Everworld though he is free. Senna gave him that freedom which makes him appreciate her but also hate her.

I most curious about how his story grows. Jalil is very logical. He loves science and everything has to have an explanation. He is trapped in his own mind in the real world so he uses knowledge to control everything else around him. He is going to change, take on the idea that things are different in this world and that is okay.

I still like watching Jalil try to make sense of this new world he is in. He is slowly realizing that magic is real here. That science is not the same. I am want to see how he begins to rethink his two worlds. One he is trapped in a disease he can’t free himself from. In another world he is free of that disease but he has many more dangers to fight. I think he whole story is going to revolve around this fight and I am eager to see how it comes out.

This book also introduced Hel which is who I thought abbot when I was reading Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology book. I remembered she was in this book and I wanted to see how she compared. I really like how close these books are to the real stories and how Applegate makes them her own as well.

Four Star

Circe – Madeline Miller- Review

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How much do you know about Circe? Only remember her as the one who turned men into pigs? Ever wondered what her backstory was? Circe was disgraced, cast out and forced to find a way to stand on her own two feet. She went from wishing anyone would see her, to hiding from the world to finding her place in the moral and immortal world.

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4

I have stated in past reviews and posts that I adore mythology. Something about these past stories still speaking to us today pulls me in. I love learning about how ancient people tried to make sense of the world we live in. Take that love and give me a new way of seeing a character I have read about before and you have my undivided attention.

I know of Circe as the woman who turned men into pigs and that was all I knew about her. So when I saw this book popping up on blog after blog I had to give it a try and I adored it. I thought the way this book breathed new life into a character I knew next to nothing about and really didn’t care about, was fantastic.

I loved the progression of Circe’s character throughout the story. She starts off as someone who is left out. She is the unwanted child of Helios. She is not special, she is missing something. She does not stand out and no one sees her.

I thought it was really interesting how she fought to be seen when she was younger. She goes so far as to trying to get herself punished. She thinks if she does something everyone hates at least someone will know her. Someone will notice her. I found it really interesting how this is the place where she started.

Throughout the book we learn how she was able to find a way to be true to herself. She didn’t need anyone to see her because she saw herself. She found purpose in her own life, in her own talents and destiny. She found her feet and she stood proudly tall. Her evolution was inspiring and great to read.

The writing of this book was lyrical. I fell into the words and they kept me captured throughout the story. The comparisons made were unique. I felt like I have never read a book quite like this one before. I never found myself feeling like I have heard the metaphors or similes used before. It swept me onward and through the the story and I wanted to read it not only for the story but for the way the words sounded in my head.

I also found it really interesting how Odysseus was portrayed in this story. I know him as this larger than life hero. He stands high and he is noble. He does everything he can to get home and take care of his wife and son. I saw him as this perfect man and this book gives us a different angle of this man who we thought we knew.

I liked that this story made Odysseus more human. He is flawed and we see that shine bright in this story. He is a man who will fight for what he wants and he kills whenever necessary. We see that darker side of him in this book, we see that he is not perfect. Through his story we get a look at PTSD in a character as well. The fact that this was explored without really naming it was interesting.

I also really enjoyed how this book explored bigger ideas that connect to us today. A good book can remark on our world without having to be outright blatant about it. You don’t have to give a lecture on rape culture to get your message across. Miller does a great job at commenting on real life events in a non-heavy handed way.

What I was just okay with

My only issue with this book was how it ended. I loved the progression of Circe but I thought we were cheapened by the end. It felt a bit rushed. I wanted to see the way Circe took that last step into becoming who she was meant to be. Everything led up to that point and then it happened in a matter of pages.

We really only get a summary of the last part of her life. I wanted more. I wanted to feel that final connection her and how she ended up.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing that threw me out of this story. I enjoyed the character development, the plot lines and the writing.

I gave this book five stars on Goodreads. I was enthralled the whole way through and am eager to read her other book, The Song of Achilles.

Quotes:
“Beneath the smooth, familiar face of things is another that waits to tear the world in two.” (pg. 16)

“Sons were not punished.” (pg. 182)

“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep. ” (pg. 206)

 

Enter the Enchanted – Everworld – K.A. Applegate – Review

Everworld_3_enter_the_enchanted

 

April, Jalil, David and Christopher are trapped in a world that shouldn’t exist. Myths are supposed to stay on the page. Merlin shouldn’t be fighting dragons. Galahad is in storybooks. Not in Everworld, in Everworld all their wildest myths and stories are living and breathing. Question is can our group stay that way as well?

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
This book ventures into Merlin and King Author myth territory. I really like the idea of the Arthur myths. I think they intrigue me because they are myths that have a touch of reality to them. No one knows for sure if they are true or not. We know that Zesus was a myth and that Loki never played tricks on people. But the Arthurian legends could be based on real people.

I liked in this story though that Arthur is not our main focus. Galahad is our focus in this one, which is interesting. We get to see a different character than people generally see in similar retellings. Merlin is prominent but not in a connection to Arthur. I liked that aspect.

I am enjoying the way the group is able to go back to the real world and make sense of what they are encountering. In this book Galahad and Gawain had similar memories of looking for the Holy Grail. Neither knew why, they just accepted it. They find out it is because our stories have them both in that role. I liked that we see this connection to the myth characters. They are influenced by their connections to our modern world.

I do enjoy the fact that we don’t just focus on typical mythologies in this series. While Loki and Zeus do play a part we also see people like Galahad and I know later elves. The lesser myths got carried along in the wake of the larger myths which is interesting. We are given a broader world and a more full world this way. It is all our stories connecting into one world.

I know that we are going to be getting Jalil’s POV next and eventually Senna’s. I am really interested in both of their stories. I remember that April, David and Christopher’s were pretty simple and predictable but the other two are a bit more of wild cards. I am really interested to see how they play into the larger picture.

What I was just okay with
This book was told from April’s POV and I had a bit of an issue with her. She is someone who is all talk but little action. She talks about wanting to not be the damsel that gets saved but then can’t take care of herself. She needs saving all the time.

She is hard to understand because she is constantly wanting Galahad to save her but she also sees that as annoying as well. She knows she needs to stand up for herself more but also realizes that isn’t easiest for her. I like how self-aware she is but I also want to see her use that self-awareness to actually start making a change for herself.

What I Wished was Different_
I like these stories. I love the plot and the characters are great. I am having more and more of an issue with the writing itself though. Not only is is choppy it is very repetitive. The same words or phrases are used over and over again. Sometimes right after one another. I know this adds emphasis but it does get tiresome.

Also I think this series may be where I got the habit of using synonyms  too much. I found that when I write I tend to write something like “It was a beautiful, gorgeous day outside.” There is no need for both of those words, they tell the same thing. I see that happen a lot in this book. I know this book stuck with me when I was a teenager and I think that idea or habit in writing crept into my style a bit.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. I am enjoying the series still. I am just curious to see April grow a bit more and have to not focus on some aspects of the writing too much.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“He was a legend….We didn’t know him, but we knew what he represented. He was good standing up against evil. He was the strong man defending the weak. He was brave when the odds were against him.” (pg. 161)

Land of Loss- Everworld (#2) – K.A. Applegate

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The group has survived their encounter with the Vikings, even made friends with them. They are still on the run from Loki, though he is the least of their problems right now. A heart hungry god and blood thirsty Aztecs are staring them in the face. Can they survive? If they do can they ever get home?

 

 

 

 

(This is a review for the second book in the series. Naturally there will be spoilers for the first book at times).

What I Loved_-4
I remember how much I loved Christopher in these books and I am glad to see that I still love his character. His is witty, he is funny and he is the one that I thought sounded most like a teenager. He doesn’t have a beyond-his-age view of life, like Jalil. He is your average guy just trying to make it through this adventure with his head and heart in one place.

I also found it interesting that Christopher has a good family. A lot of times the comedy relief character comes from a broken home. They use humor as a defense mechanism. This is different though. Christopher has a great family. His parents are still together and he has a brother he loves. He is just a funny guy who is trying to find his way. I liked this characterization because it makes me want to see how he progresses, since it is not a usual character type. I feel like I don’t know where his character will go.

I also found it interesting and a testament to the writing that in this book I was very annoyed by David. Reading about him from Christopher’s point of view made me want to shake him.  In the last book I understood where David was coming from, I understood why he was obsessed with finding Senna and risking all their lives.

In this book I was right onboard with Christopher and just wanted him to get his crap together. I was annoyed that he was always putting them all in danger. I was irritated that he could not think beyond Senna. Applegate does a great job of making you feel the story from the P.O.V character. I thought it was really interesting how this changed in this book. I am eager to keep reading to see how I view Christopher from April or Jaili’s  P.O.V.

There was also a bit of call back to first book scenes in this book. In the first book David remembers hearing a coach berate a player, using some horrible terms and destroying this kid’s self-esteem. Then in this book there is a moment where the gym teacher is quite cruel to Christopher. You realize it is the same man. She makes sure to keep things in line and in order here. Someone is mentioned in one place they appear in another, there is no discontinuity  which I appreciate.

What I was just okay with
I felt like all the action in this book appeared n the first half. They are fighting the Aztecs and trying to escape. Then they do and they are just wandering around for a bit. We meet some new players in the story, (Merlin and the Coo-Hatch), but it slowed down considerably in the last half. I think it would have been better to keep that momentum through to the end.

I am still eager to read the rest of the series but I didn’t race through the end like I did in the first book.

What I Wished was Different_
I am still enjoying my re-read. I haven’t come onto anything that feels out of sorts or thrown me out of the story. Even at almost 30 I can still relate to this story and am finding new aspects to it.

I gave this 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads. I am eager to see how the character progress I just wish the end was a bit more exciting.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“There was nothing human here. Man’s god and demons and monsters were always mostly human. Distorted in form or power, but mostly human.” (pg. 110) (I found this interesting because it is very true. We tend to make all our gods and demons close to us, creatures we can relate to in some fashion).

Search for Senna (Everworld Book #1) – K.A. Applegate – Review

imagesOne minute four strangers are standing on the bank of a lake. They are all watching a girl they know by name, but don’t truly know. The next moment they are pulled along with her into another universe. A universe where gods rule, giant wolves chase you down and nothing is impossible. Now the search is one to find Senna and return to their real lives.

 

 

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4

I was in love with this series when I was in high school. I read it over and over again. I loved the concept but I mostly remember loving the characters and the dialogue.

The dialogue was my main pull to this series. It was one of the first times I remember hearing characters that sounded real, like people I met every day.

I recently finished reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and I kept thinking of this series as I read it. I remembered this series uses all kinds of mythology and I found myself wanting to re-read these books again.

I was worried. Worried that the magic would disappear from these books. As someone who is almost 30 I thought I would not be able to relate to the characters. I thought I would feel like it was clunky or not well written. I wondered if this was a series I should just leave on my shelf for nostalgia purposes.

I am glad I began reading it again. In this first book I felt the same love I did when I was 16. I love the characters. They still feel real to me. They still talk like teenagers talk. There is no forced dialogue or weird sounding sentences. Too many times teenagers are written to sound like adults and that always annoys me. Here they use jargon, they makes stupid jokes and they all sound different.

I found myself liking David’s character more in this book too. I don’t remember liking him much before. Now I see his point of view better. He doesn’t want to live in a world that dictates every move. Much like myself he has serious problems with the pre-planned life that so many people seem to think you need to live by. He doesn’t want to do the path of graduate, job, marriage then kids. He wants something different and new.

I also noticed in this reading that there are much deeper storylines then I picked up on before. In this book were get hints of abuse in David’s life. I didn’t realize how dark this series was. I am curious to see how it progresses and how I pick up on how these elements shape him throughout the story.

I remember this series making use of a lot of different mythologies and legends. I am eager to see how they play together now that I know more about them. I like in this one that I understood the Norse mythology references. I think I will have a deeper appreciation for this world now that I have more knowledge about the source material.

What I was just okay with
The sentences in this book are quite short. Many of them are one or two words long. I am okay with the sometimes but I do feel like it may be overused here. It works when the character is in panic mode. But it isn’t necessary all the time. I think it slows things down a little bit too much.

I also noticed there are a lot of things mentioned that date this book. David talks about Blockbuster and Borders. It doesn’t harm the story at all. It just is interesting because I don’t feel like this is happening now. I know this was the past even if there is no date and time associated with the story. Just an interesting idea to think about the way things can date a story or change the timeline even if you don’t mean for them too.

What I Wished was Different_
As of this book I don’t have anything that is really throwing me out of the story. I still feel connected to the characters. I understand the world and I am still eager to continue on with this adventure even though I know how it ends.

I did take my rating down from 5 to 4 stars on Goodreads for this book. It is fun and exciting but I do think I am not as connected to it as I was when I was younger.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“But being scared was one thing. That was normal. How you acted once you were scared – that’s what mattered.” (pg. 33)

“‘Maybe dreams aren’t in your head. Maybe dreams are memories of another universe.'” (pg. 144)

Re-reading Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

8403656Last month the Harry Potter books came out with new covers for the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter books. I couldn’t afford the whole series but I did get the third book and the sixth book, my two favorites of the series. I recently re-read the third book so I decided to re-read the sixth book this time.

The reason the sixth book is my second favorite is because of the back story given to Voldemort. I am the kind of person who likes the villain of the story to have a story. I have a problem when the antagonist is just there to cause trouble but we never find out why. I believe a story gets stronger when we can understand why a person makes the choices they make.

The look into Voldemort’s past is fascinating to me. I loved seeing when he was as a child to the moment when he started figuring out how to become immortal. It is interesting because we see that he had several opportunities to turn around. We also got to see the resentment and anger that resided in him since he was a child.

When I first read the series I just saw him as this evil man who had no morals and no reason for doing what he was doing. In this book we got to see the reason. We got to see why he might have turned that direction. He was raised without any love or affection. He was forced to grow up quickly and take care of himself.

Now not every person who grows up parentless turns into a murderer (i.e. Harry) but this book gave  us a way to understand the man behind the evil actions. Part of me felt bad for him. I remember reading the first time feeling upset that he was left with this route. But then you look at Harry and see what choices he could have made.

Harry grew up without parents too and yet he was the complete opposite of Voldemort. Which then raises the question of nature versus nurture. Harry’s parents died protecting him, Voldemort’s abandoned him. Does that change things? Some very fascinating questions are raised throughout this story.

One of my favorite scenes is in this book. After Harry and Dumbledore look at the memory about the Horcruxes we get a speech that is very significant for this series. Harry doesn’t understand how love can be the power he has that will win him the final battle. He can’t see past what the prophecy says. He is stuck until Dumbledore makes him understand.

This whole speech is so interesting and important, not only for this story. Seeing Harry come to realize that his heart is what he has that has kept him whole his entire life. His heart and his love for those around him is what matters. Voldemort never allowed himself the ability to love. He closed that door when he was a child. Harry never gave up trying to find that comfort and love. He didn’t turn to the darkness for comfort. Instead he allowed people in, allowed them to take care of him when he needed it. We see what happens when you don’t give up, no matter the darkness that seems to surround you.

This book was also the first time I read a book where a main character died. Sirius’s death was tragic for me because I loved his character, but Dumbledore’s death was traumatizing in a sense. He seemed so important, so significant that I thought there was no way he would die. I had never read a book where someone like that died. That didn’t happen in younger books.

Dumbledore dying was the moment you realized that anything can happen. No one is immune and anyone can be gone tomorrow. I already knew this but this book hit that point home. The end makes you realize how important it is to say what you need to say to those around you.

Lastly I loved the very end of this book where Harry is trying to convince Ron and Hermione to allow him to search for the Horcruxes alone. Hermione reminds him that when they were in their first year he gave them the chance to turn back, to leave him. They decided to stay. Throughout five years they stayed by his side and they were not going to abandon him now.

The true power of friendship shown through this book. You see in this moment that those people who have stood at your side for years, through it all, are not going to disappear at the tough moments. If they had chances to turn back in the past and didn’t, then trust them to be there throughout it all.

What lessons have you learned from you favorite books?

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