Book reviews...from picture books to adult books, as well as books-to-movie info, and other stuff I think is interesting. Note: Not all books reviewed or recommended are appropriate for all ages.
MARCH 29, 2007
Harry Potter book cover released
The new Harry Potter book cover has been released. What do you think? Apparently (according to an AP artcile posted on Yahoo News) the book cover that will be marketed to adults has a photograph of a locket with the serpentine "s" which is supposed to be the "horcrux" where Lord Voldemort keeps a fragment of his soul. I'll post that cover when I can find it.
We just received Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine which tells the true story of one of history's most famous escaped slaves, Henry "Box" Brown. With just a few words, Levine manages to evoke such strong emotions about Henry's childhood and adulthood as a slave and his subsequent escape. This would be a great read aloud for older elementary students just being introduced to the history of slavery and the underground railroad...but I would really recommend it to teens and adults as well. The pictures, by one of my favorite illustrators Kadir Nelson, are beautiful and life-like. Nelson also illustrated Moses: when Harriet Tubman led her people to freedom, the new mutiple award-winning picture book biography of Harriet Tubman, as well as some other favorites of mine, Ellington was not a street and an illustrated version of He's got the whole world in his hands.
My husband just finished reading Magyk and I was talking about it with him last night...and I'd like to revise my comments in an earlier post.
The more I talked about it, the more I realized how many elements of it I really enjoyed...I like many characters, especially Boy X (some number? instead of a name) and Jenna, and the aunt who they stay with deep in the bog. I also like many of the plot elements, like how they make the shield bugs and the legend of the dragon boat, and lots of stuff.
I think that I was trying to read so many books on the Battle of the Books list, that it started feeling more like work...and I should have taken a break and picked something different. I'm sure that's what AR feels like sometimes, too. I'm glad most of the time I can read whatever I want.
I think also that it is not a favor to books or movies when they are compared (in their advertising or back cover blurb) to other really famous, well-liked books or movies, as it just sets them up to be disappointing.
So...in conclusion, if you got this far in reading this rant (!), I do recommend that book and think there are lots of fun things about it. It is exciting and draws you in...and makes things easy to visualize. Like Dom Daniel, the evil Necromancer, looks in my head like the master of Darth Vader in Star Wars...who I think is a really creepy villain.
"There Will Soon Be 7" is the soon to begin national media campaign in preparation of the 7th--and last--book in the Harry Potter series, which has broken all kinds of publication records. Click here to see another record that the 7th book will make due to the publisher's commitment to print the 784 page book with environmental considerations in mind.
Okay, here's the thing. It really bugs me when every new fantasy that comes out is compared to Harry Potter...as that is a very high standard and it sometimes just sets the book up to be disappointing.
I recently finished reading Magyk by Angie Sage, which has a quote on the paperback comparing it to Harry Potter.
I'd say that the book was "fine." There were likeable characters, an exciting (if a little easy to predict) plot about Jenna, the rightful future queen (the "Queenling") who as an infant was hidden to protect her from harm...and the takeover of the kingdom by the evil Necromancer. The book also explores the fate of Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh son, thought to have died in infancy and prophecized to have extraordinary magykal powers.
There were quite a few things about the book I liked...yet I felt it could have been edited down to about 60-75 percent of its actual length without affecting the plot or characterizations.
I think fantasy fans who enjoy a lot of detail about creatures and other "magykal" things would really like this book....but I, myself, would not put it on the level of Harry Potter...whether quality plot, writing, or characterization-wise.
For those who have already read Magyk, we do have the sequel, Flyte, and the third in the series, Physik, is set to be released toward the end of May, 2007.