Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

After the second Harry Potter book, I wasn’t holding out much hope for the third one. I mean, authors usually just get worse, I’ve never seen one have a dip and then recover.

Until now.

[Was that too melodramatic? Sue me 😉 ]

J. K. Rowling pulls herself together and delivers a riveting read, with many of the weaknesses from the second book stamped out. Gone is the totally obvious formula, gone are the long periods of boredom. We have a gripping story about Harry and his friends, and another bunch of new and weird adults. We have touching moments and thrilling scenes. More background history is revealed, and Harry gets to learn more about his past.

Well worth reading, as good as the first one, and ever-so-slightly more mature. Roll on book four.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Age of Misrule

I originally wrote this review after finishing the third single book in the series, however there’s now a single anthology which includes the three first books, to which the links in this review point, and for which the review is now appropriate.

Having just finished the third book in this series I felt I should write up a review. At the time of writing, I’ve been struggling with reading. The Harry Potter books may have kickstarted my reading habbit, but before I started those, I’d read the first two in Mark’s Age of Misrule series. Picking up the third one was easy, and it felt good to be back in the world, with Church, Ruth, Laura, Veitch and Sharvi, the five main characters in this modern-world-turned-mythic adventure.

The writing is clean, crisp and easy to read, although Mark has a tendancy to enjoy the word frisson, and he ensures you get to enjoy it too. The characters are believable, and easy to empathise with. The story is well paced, interesting, deep, puzzling in places, and funny in others. I was kept guessing as the final outcome all the way through, and enjoyed it all the more as a result. I certainly felt a frisson each time Church declared ‘he felt there was some deeper meaning, but it was just beyond his grasp’, because I felt the same way during much of the book, that if I just thought hard enough I’d work out where it was going, but I was never able to, and as I said, enjoyed it all the more.

Our protagonists are forced together to help out in a world gone mad, thanks to the ‘return’ of all those things we thought were myth and legend. The Brothers and Sisters of Dragons (the five mentioned above), must fight for a cause, although it’s not clear which one or why, early on, and help the world survive the change that is underway.

Interesting, entertaining, thoughtful, emotional, and well paced. I recommend it, especially if you like your British Mythology.

Book Information
  • Author: Mark Chadbourn
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Dead Witch Walking

Rachel Morgan is a witch. A witch who is under a death threat for daring to leave her employer, rooms with a still living vampire, shares her garden with a pixie family and is a bounty hunter of the supernatural, keeping the normal world safe from the creatures that would prey on them. Welcome to The Hollows in Cincinnati.

I actually picked up the third book first and when I found it hard to follow what had happened before, I put it away again until I could get this first book. I’m glad I did as so much became clear. I liked the history about how the world came to be what it is today, humans and the supernatural Inderlanders co-existing in a world that is vastly different yet so similar to our own. The main characters are flawed yet eminently likeable and you very quickly come to care about what happens to them.

The story centres around Rachel and her desire to be her own boss which becomes her struggle to stay alive. Her friend and room-mate Ivy is a still living vampire, who refuses to give in to the desire for blood. As she is still living, it’s a craving rather than the necessity it would be if she had died. Then there is Jenks, the six inch high Pixie, who helps Rachel and Ivy in their bounty hunting. He and his wife and fifty four kids live in a tree stump in the garden.

The story flows very well, even when filling in history and the action is fast paced, often leaving you tense along with it. It’s written in first person which is good as there are a lot of characters coming in and out and I think third would have been too chaotic. I liked being in Rachel’s head.

By the end I was eager to pick up the second book straight away and plunge right back into it and I was very happy to find there were five books so far!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kim Harrison
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)