Thursday, September 22, 2011

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling and New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Review by C)

Reviewed by Caressa.

     I give it: 4.8/5 Pottermore's
      "The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts Schools of 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 Lockhart; a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom; and the unwanted attention 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?"

     I give it: 3.3/5 cliffs

     "Shoot, I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut.It all happened very quickly then.Edward threw himself at me, flinging me back across the table...I tumbled down to the floor by the piano, with my arms thrown out instinctively to catch my fall, into the jagged shards of glass. I felt the searing, stinging pain that ran from my wrist to the crease inside my elbow. Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm-into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.Legions of readers entranced by Twilight are hungry for more and they won't be disappointed. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The "star-crossed" lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy's reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality."

      In order to write this review properly, I must explain why I am, at 15, reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. As explained in my intro, as a child I cast away popular literature and promised to read only old, old books in hope of finding better reading material. This plan backfired as my peers became more interested in reading and discussing what they read and how they felt about the material. Grudgingly, I eased myself into a more recognized collection of works, still avoiding the most popular literature as possible. I primarily tried to read books my fellow “book-nerds” enjoyed, particularly older ones like Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle and eventually read books like Twilight by Stephanie Meyers and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by none other than J. K. Rowling. I disliked both. Never having been a fan of blank-slate characters, Bella was an extremely fake character to me. With the belief that I love my friends deeply without thought, it's logical to have a character or person brighten up their day at the sight of a friend or love interest, or suffer from depression at the loss of them. What irked me was Bella's lack of background and other motivation. Regardless, there is obviously a lesson to be learned as Twilight pulls more and more people into the world of literature (/end Twilight rant).
      Harry Potter, however, was a different story. Everyone of my friend “book nerds” loved this book in capital letters. I began to learn all the points of discussion and major plot turns and characters as they eagerly read book after book. By the time I was willing to read Harry Potter, however, the book simply felt under-developed and young. Without growing up with them, the book itself was interesting and lightly good, but nothing to the flamboyancy of my expectations. Finally, I started reading and commenting on book discussions discussing the amount of discrepancy between the first two books and those that followed them. After watching a Very Potter Musical and its sequel I gave in. I finally picked up New Moon and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets from the library and resolved to read them and expect nothing.
      And I absolutely LOVED J. K. Rowling's second book.
      Because I had loved and watched A Very Potter Musical and its sequel before caving in for the second installation, I couldn't read Draco's dialog without imagining him rolling around on the floor. I laughed, I cried, I gripped the book in expectation, and was late to class because I couldn't stop until I finished reading the chapters. All the words of the various Harry Potter nerds I'd met over the ages came to life in a book. I expected nothing when I read this book, but I got everything.
      If you have not read this book yet, PLEASE go read it. The first book is exceptionally dull when you expect perfection, but abandoning your pretenses I think you'll find the rest of the series most wonderful (or at least the second book).
      And, surprising even myself, I didn't hate New Moon (Please forgive me for starting sentences with and. ). It seems like everyone has lost someone they loved, whether it be a breakup, a friend moving away, or the death of a family member. I myself, have had this experience countless times and I get really depressed after a big loss. There are a lot of things about New Moon that I really appreciated because it didn't cut any corners. There were also reasons I loathed the novel or characters and got distracted easily.
      To start with what I did like, I really enjoyed the full representation of Bella's loss. Sure, many claim she's being melodramatic, and I agree. Bella only knew Edward for a little under a year before he left. Still, I think it's important there is a book out there that represents the full experience of losing someone you love. It didn't surprise me at all that Bella was about to move on. It what we “as humans” do. Furthermore, it was also obvious to me throughout the whole book that when Edward was an option, she would be off in a heartbeat. Isn't that almost always true?
      Now, I didn't like Bella's exaggerations. In my own experience, when you realize you're depressed you try to pick yourself back up. Bella had to have Charlie threaten her before she was able to jump back into her life.
      The twilight books (and I've only read one and two so far, so don't pick on the lack of application, if at all, in the following two) are a chronicle about different kinds of love (the hard, if totally illogical parts). Twilight was almost all about obsession (many will argue with me, leave your thoughts in comments) and New Moon was about loss and starting recovery. I'm glad these books exist because they help to bring people into the world of literature and yet, the series is not at all what I would read if I was in the mood for a plot and full side characters. Still, (and Rae I AM talking to you as well) the series does have a purpose.
      So that's all for this week. Please leave your doubtlessly controversial thoughts in the comments. ;) No hate please, but don't be afraid to disagree. :P And, how excited is everyone about the upcoming Pottermore

Also, PLEASE check out our book blogs profile and leave a comment. ;) A big shout out to Sari (if you read this, we're more than willing to post a link to your blog if you'd like. I'm sure Rae is overly excited about bringing her posts to attention. ) for posting the first comment on our page!! Our Malice by Chris Wooding giveaway ends Saturday, so go check it out and a big welcome to all our new followers; we appreciate you. ;)-C

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