Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition)

by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Series: Harry Potter, #8

Hardcover, 308 pg.
Scholastic, Inc., 2016
Read: September 2, 2016

I went into this with low expectations for a few reasons (negative buzz being one of many), and sadly had them all met — I don’t think anything were exceeded.

This is fan-fiction, pure and simple. Sure, it’s official fan-fiction written in conjunction with Rowling — but it’s not the same series, it doesn’t feel the same. It feels like someone’s trying to recapture what they had, in just a slightly different form. I’m fine with that — if people want to throw money at Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne for doing this? Let them. Let’s just not pretend it’s more than what it is.

The story primarily focuses on Harry and Ginny’s middle child, Albus. Albus is pretty uncomfortable living in the shadow of the Boy Who Lived — he doesn’t like the notoriety or pressure that comes with that territory. Which is absolutely understandable — especially now that he’s at Hogwarts, where Harry’s legend is strongest. Between that, and typical teenager strife with Dad leads Albus to take some really big risks with banned magical technology.

These risks center on time travel — and this is where it lost me. I just can’t stand the kind of stories where someone goes back in time with perfectly good intentions and messes things up, changing the future so much that it’s not recognizable. So then they (or someone else) have to go back in time again to prevent/minimize the damage. And magically, this second (or third) intervention restores everything back to the way it was before the time travelers left. Sure, this is a series in which magical things like that are clearly possible. But there’s possible and too-incredible. It almost doesn’t matter how good this story/execution was, I wouldn’t be crazy about it.

The writing was . . . okay. Nothing spectacular, nothing that had the same …”magic” as the other books in the series. It’s not as bad as many claim — but it’s not as good as others claim either. How some of this can be staged, I just can’t imagine. I’m not saying it can’t be — but wow, that’s a real technical challenge, I’d think.

There were some nice moments, some great fan-service stuff — and I’m very glad I got to meet Scorpius Malfoy. I’d rather spend time with him than any of the rest of the descendants of the original series, there’s something very cool about this kid. I should also mention that there’s some nice father-son moments with Harry and Albus.

On the whole, I’m glad I read this, but I really can’t get crazy about it.

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3 Stars

Guest Post – Why You Should Make That Rejection Letter the Focal Point of Your Home

As part of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, they’ve provided me with a few Guest Posts to draw attention to their Sale (through 4/30!) and a Grant Program created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs — be sure to check those out!

“I pinned my 1st rejection letter to my kitchen wall because it gave me something in common with all my fave writers!” – J.K. Rowling via Twitter (March 25, 2016).

What do literary geniuses, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell, and Agatha Christie all have in common? Surprisingly enough, each of them have written books that were rejected by multiple publishers. As hard to believe as that may be, it’s entirely true!

Contrary to popular belief, rejection more than anything is a learning opportunity. Of course, no one welcomes rejection. In fact, they avoid it at all costs. But everyone gets rejected at one point in their life, or another, and instead of dwelling on the pain of being told “no”, they can use that rejection as a motivator – the greatest motivator in their life!

On March 25, 2016, J.K. Rowling took to twitter to share two rejection letters she received on her crime novel, “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, written under the alias of Robert Galbraith. While Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series has sold more than 400 million copies to date, Rowling admits to having self-doubt. “I wasn’t going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen” she explains. Despite these fears, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” was eventually published by Sphere Books, an imprint of Little, Brown & Company, and the rest is history.

Rowling didn’t allow the fear of going unpublished stop her from trying time and time again, which is an example many dreamers can learn from. Yes, rejection bruises a person’s ego and, more often than not, forces them to go back to the drawing board, but sometimes that’s the best thing a person can do. Going back to the drawing board means making improvements both personally, and in one’s work, and making those improvements brings the motivation to pursue that passion even further.

Remember, rejection isn’t a death sentence, but merely a stepping stone which brings you closer to finally hearing that “yes” you’ve been waiting for. Though it might sound crazy to hang a negative note about your life’s work up on a wall, it can serve as a reminder to persevere…and when you achieve your success, it will be a reminder of all that you’ve overcome.

As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th – ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling.

The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy around the world is 100% possible, and with the help of reader’s on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE.

Guest Post – Wizards, Witches, and Muggles, Oh My!

As part of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, they’ve provided me with a few Guest Posts to draw attention to their Sale (through 4/30!) and a Grant Program created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs — be sure to check those out!

The votes are in, and in a remarkable landslide, J.K. Rowling has been identified as the top author of Reader’s Legacy! To celebrate Ms. Rowling’s literary triumph, we looked into our Goblet of Fire and pulled these out 10 magical phrases; sure to guarantee any Potterhead the Hogwarts acceptance letter they’ve been waiting for!

  1. “It’s no good crying over spilt potion.” – Meaning there is no use in worrying about events that have already taken place, and that cannot be undone.
  2. “In the name of Merlin.” – An expression of bewilderment. EX: “What in the name of Merlin, are you doing?”
  3. “Like bowtuckles on doxy eggs.” – Meaning to stick to someone or something, incredibly close. Used in a sentence, “She took to potions like bowtuckles on doxyeggs.”
  4. “I’ll take Cadogan’s Pony.” – Meaning to make light of a dark situation.
  5. “The fire’s lit but the cauldron’s empty.” – Meaning someone seemingly functions in a proper manner, but is actually socially inept.
  6. “The tip of the dungheap.” – Synonymous to the muggle idiom, ‘Tip of the Iceberg’, it symbolizes a smaller piece of a larger picture.
  7. “To have a hairy heart.” – Meaning, someone bitter. To have a cold and unforgiving way about you.
  8. “Don’t count your owls before they are delivered.” – Meaning to not plan on anything expected to happen in the future, as said to Harry Potter by Dumbledore in ‘The Half-Blood Prince’.
  9. “Hanged for a dragon as an egg.” – A larger punishment for a minor offence in order to bring the point across stronger to the offender.

As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th – ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling

Guest Post – 5 Must-Read Books for Harry Potter Fans

As part of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, they’ve provided me with a few Guest Posts to draw attention to their Sale (through 4/30!) and a Grant Program created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs — be sure to check those out!

Harry Potter is one of the most popular book series ever written!

Its whimsical characters and magical adventures have captured the hearts of millions. If you’re a Potter Maniac, you probably think that no story can compare those of the mystifying Hogwarts and the boy with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. But have you read these spellbinding masterpieces?

***Attention Harry Potter Lovers: In honor of J.K. Rowling being named the Top Followed Author on Reader’s Legacy in 2015 we’re holding a 1 week sale on ALL of her books. From April 25th-30th, 2016 any Rowling book is 20% off AND double the LitCoins will be loaded into your account just for purchasing. Click the link to check out this limited time offer! ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling***
 
1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewishttp://bit.ly/1NygYMp

Like Harry Potter, this series comes in 7 installments and features a secret world full of wonders, its magical inhabitants, and the child-heroes who must save it from destruction.

 
2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkienhttp://bit.ly/1VeZwof

A prequel to the famed “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, this delightful classic takes readers far from reality as it follows a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins on an unexpected and perilous quest to help his friends reclaim their home, which has been taken over by a gold-loving dragon.

 
3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkienhttp://bit.ly/1qCCSJj

Told in 3 parts, this is the story of Bilbo Baggins’s nephew Frodo who, with the help of some unlikely allies, must travel to the ends of the earth to destroy an ancient ring, before its evil power brings his world to ruin.

 
4. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carrollhttp://bit.ly/1YDW3NQ

This endearing story tells of an imaginative young girl who falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a world full of whimsical (and more-than-slightly backwards) characters, where nothing is practical and anything is possible. Alice and her topsy-turvy friends return in the sequel, Through the Looking Glass (http://bit.ly/1rcoVmm).

 
5. The Inheritance Series (Eragon) by Christopher Paolini – http://bit.ly/1WbUnfs

4 fantastic novels tell what happens when a farm boy named Eragon finds a mysterious dragon egg, it hatches, and his life is eternally changed as he becomes the last known Dragon Rider…and the primary target of a rising evil empire.

 
These are just some of the countless wonderful fantasy novels out there. By expanding your literary horizons you will gain a deeper love of reading, and acquire a tasteful appreciation for other authors/genres – even ones that may not be your favorite. Check out these books, or one of your own finding, and tell us what you think!

As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th – ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling

The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy around the world is 100% possible, and with the help of reader’s on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (wink, wink)

A briefer version of this appears on Goodreads.

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The Cuckoo's Calling
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Series: Cormoran Strike, #1

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I have to admit, if I didn’t know the name that’s on Robert Galbraith’s birth certificate, I don’t know that I’d have picked this book up. It’s possible– I pick up odd mysteries sometimes(the U.K. cover would’ve been more likely to get me to do it than the U.S. cover). But by the time I was halfway through with this one, I was ready to buy the next 2 or 3 in the series, regardless how this one turned out.

This is not the J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter — that’s obvious, and as it should be. Nor is this the J. K. Rowling of The Causal Vacancy — and that’s just merciful and wise. Let me quote (in it’s entirety) my Goodreads review of that one:

I don’t know, man…I just don’t know.

. It’s ten months later, and I still don’t know. But here, she taps into the same vein that brought her success — a different voice, a different world, different characters — but the same ability to tell a story. Not necessarily all that new, perhaps not written in the most “literary” way, but in a way that grabs the reader, draws them in and keeps them turning pages. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we want? (unless we’re professional critics or professors)

Our entry into this world comes via Robin Ellacott, newly moved to London with her fiancé who comes to the office of a P.I. as a temp secretary. She’s smart (and we eventually get an idea just how smart), spunky, and has long had an interest in detecting, it turns out (which must be nice — I’ve never had a temp job that was in a field I’d been interested for years and years). It’s through her eyes that we get confirmation that yes, the protagonist is a decent guy, despite problems he might be having — and a good detective. While we are introduced to this world through Robin’s eyes, we eventually get to the point where we envy her as she gets to take part in the investigative work.

Her temporary boss, on the other hand isn’t someone we envy — nor is he noticeably spunky, there’s reason to doubt his intelligence from time to time — although he’s clearly an experienced and well-equipped detective. Injured in Afghanistan, he now (almost) ekes out a living doing private investigations. He has an interesting — and novel — past, one that opens doors for him (although he hates having to cash in on it). With the unlikely (but inherently cool) name of Cormoran Strike, he’s a member of a long-line of down-on-their luck, idealistic, hard-boiled, hard-drinking, lone-wolf detectives that goes back to Chandler (if not further). The friendship that Strike develops with Robin gives him the motivation–at least temporarily — to be a better version of himself than he’s apt to be, if only to pay her back for the extraordinary amount of help she’s been to him. It seems inevitable from almost the beginning that thus will develop into at least an unrequited love on his part, as long as Galbraith moves the relationship along in future books as deftly as she does here, I don’t see it becoming the cliche it so really could.

Given the subject of Strike’s investigation — a well-known model from a prominent family, who socializes almost exclusively with A-listers — Galbraith is given plenty of opportunity to comment on celebrity culture –a subject Galbraith has had a certain degree of experience with, and obviously an informed opinion or two about. Hard-boiled detectives tend to comment on society as they go about their detecting, and Cuckoo’s Calling does its fair share, particularly regarding the paparazzi and tabloid journalism, as well as the ridiculous aspects of the lives of celebrities.

The case that Strike is hired to investigate has plenty of twists and turns, more than enough to keep those who don’t care for the rest of the book entertained. I was pretty sure who the Big Bad was early on, and I was right. But I wasn’t in the same time zone as the motive. I was about 50/50 on some of the more minor mysteries, which is nice — for a first time mystery author, I’d have expected to be right about 70% of the time or so. But when I was wrong — I was very wrong. I should add that Galbraith didn’t cheat — everything we needed to know in order to identify the villains of the piece is right out there for us to see, just wish I’d done a better job of it.

A solid set-up for a series, decently interesting characters, and a mystery solid enough to prove that this newbie author (at least in this genre) has some chops. A distinct pleasure. I’ll be waiting for more Cormoran Strike — no matter what author’s name is attached.

Dusted Off: Living with the Top of Our Son’s Head

This is pretty much all we’ve seen over the last week of Frodo. It’s mostly encouraging, but a little strange at the same time.

Frodo, like his siblings, reads more than your average kid–he really has no choice in this household, like I’ve intended it all along (TLomL has intended it, too…probably not as intensely as me).* I should add that it’s not all by coercion, he actually enjoys reading. Granted, he’s not at the level I was at his age, but that’s probably a good thing. He might actually have a social life in a couple of years.

Things changed a week ago, though. After repeated suggestions from his parents over the last few months, he pulled down Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from the shelf and dove in. I’m not going to be one of the roughly 97 bazillion people to use the line about Rowling casting a spell on him, but…she basically did that. He’s been plowing through them at a rate he’s never hit before–seven days after he started Sorcerer’s Stone, he started in on Half-Blood Prince. Samwise has been following his lead, but not at the same rate.

What’s more, he’s devoted hours to this project–he’s ignored opportunities to play outside, to play video games (not every opportunity, mind you), to do basically everything he normally does so that he can sit with a Potter novel open in front of him.

I do realize that parents all over the world have experience this phenomenon. It’s just great to see this in action. Never would’ve figured the top of his head would be such a great thing to look at (cowlick and all).

* Can I legally call that a sentence? Someone grab a Defibrillator for my inner-editor…

Dusted Off: Dumbledore’s Outing

I’m assuming by now you’ve all heard that J. K. Rowling outed Dumbledore in Australia last week. Now obviously, I’m not going to be excited by this–but I’m not going to use this an excuse to rant about the morality of a fictional character. One of the strengths of the series was that every character was flawed, they all did heroic things (well, except You Know Who and some of his cohort), and they all acted foolishly and immorally. Dumbledore was no exception to this at all. So adding one more sin to his list really doesn’t affect what I think of him.

And that’s what bothers me the most about what Rowling did–it doesn’t really add to, or detract from, the character. There’s one attraction in his youth, apparently unrequited, which has really no affect whatsoever on the events in the series. So was this just Rowling needing to get her name in the headlines again? (not sure I buy that) Her trying to make some sort of political statement? (eh, maybe). I’m not sure, it seems so purposeless, senseless to do this.

Now, is Deckard a Replicant or not? That makes a difference. Is Hobbes really alive or a stuffed toy? That makes a difference. This? I just don’t see how it matters. No more than knowing what third-world country Fez is from.

Then John C. Wright weighs in on the issue, and helps me see another problem with her announcement (Fabio Paolo Barbieri’s comments are great, as well). Potter fans, take a second or and read ’em.

H/T: Thanks, bluewoad for catching the typo.