Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Hogwarts Library) by Newt Scamander, J.K. Rowling

Rated it: 4.5 stars

Read: December 2017

Read count: 2

See my review for The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The first time I read this it was a copy of my cousins, three years ago when I was visiting in England. A slim red paperback edition with Harry’s scribbles which I’d thoroughly enjoyed. I believe that being on the island, while not in Scotland where Hogwarts is, added more to the sublime atmosphere. At the time this was one of the three books of the Hogwarts Library Collection that I did not have.

Ah, but I remedied that recently and now I have in my possession the edition above published just last year. A gorgeous hardcover, smooth as a baby’s bum and has an illustration of a Runespoor, the three-headed serpent, on the back cover.

While sans scribbles it has a forward by the man himself, Newt Scamander, who briefly mentioned on the incidents in the movie adaptation of Fantastic Beasts which in my opinion was a brilliant touch for those of us who have watched the movie, fostering a sense of familiarity.

The introduction states what is considered a Being and a Beast and the controversies that have challenged and modified the definitions over the years; and how they’ve secretly coexisted with muggle-kind. Read More »

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

 

Rated: 5 Stars

Read: August 2nd, 2017

I have read many books in my almost twenty-three years of life and it should not have surprised me how a mere one hundred and ninety something page novel could contain such multitudes.

Fireman Guy Montag’s world is a bleak futuristic outlook up to its eyeballs in censorship, where ignorance is peddled by the powers that be as the height of bliss. Books are banned completely, they’re burned by the firemen, sanctioned domestic thugs that keep the sheep-like people in check.

Two pages in, he first encounters the odd young woman Clarisse McClellan who blew at the cobwebs in Guy’s head and turned some cogs he’d already begun to grease. He finally faces the truth of how unhappy he really is even though seemingly his life is pretty fine. He questions his role as a fireman. When did he even begin to burn books and why?

Increasingly the confines of little to no intelligent interactions with other people bother him, especially with his wife Mildred, whose obsession with the scripted television shows on “the walls”, “the family” in them and preoccupation with everything superficial is what pushed him over the edge.

Nobody listens anymore. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re yelling at me, I can’t talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough it’ll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read.

He sought out a man he once met, a man of words and poetry who Guy should have reported long ago. Together they hatch a ploy to shake up the status quo but things don’t go as planned. In fact, things went dreadfully; a discovery, a betrayal, murder, a little blackmail and an escape into the wilderness.

But as fate would have it, it happened for the best in the end. Guy worried me in the beginning but he became more human to me eventually as his curiosity and instinct to preserve his free will over rode his default programming.

I’ve had my copy for over two years I think, Fahrenheit 451 is one of those books that both fascinates and disgusts me. Not for the lack of writing, mind you, but the mere idea of censorship, most especially book burning that are by no means confined to fiction as history would have you know.

There are some points that remain vague to me, a situation I can remedy with a reread or three. Here’s what I do know:

  • the setting is a city in the USA, somewhere close to Los Angeles.
  • the US is a part of a war going on in another country but is approaching the homeland.
  • not only are people encouraged to be critically stunted, they appear to be emotionally vacant as well in the sense that relationships are one of those recyclable notions.Read More »

Harry Potter and The Chambers of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Rated it: 4 stars

Read count: 2

Harry Potter’s second year at Hogwarts preluded with an unexpected visit from a most unlikely creature, Dobby the house elf, who brought with him ominous tidings and a warning not to attend the wizarding institution for his own good. Despite Dobby’s numerous interventions Harry with the help Ron, and his twin brothers, escaped not only Privet Drive but the duo also worked around the block barrier of Platform 9 & 3/4 in a most interesting fashion.

The plot is centered around the legend of the Chamber of Secrets and the Hier of Slytherin who has not only access to it but also the beast that resides within. It officially began with the first victim Mrs. Norris, the caretaker Filch’s cat, who was found hung petrified by her tail in the halls next to a chilling message scrawled on the wall in red lettering.

During an implemented dueling lesson led by the woefully incompetent and absolutely rank git Gilderoy Lockhart, latest DADA professor, an incident involving Harry, Draco Malfoy and Ernie Macmillan led most of the student body to suspect that Harry was the Hier. Where Voldemort fits into this? That’s an excellent question.

All the signs were there but I, like most I imagine, was too anxious and curious to take the time to analyze much in my first reading. Subtle hints, such sneaky writing has never delighted me and at the same time invoked a sense of sadness before.

Read More »

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

Via Goodreads

Rated it: 4 stars

Read: October of 2016

SPOILERS IF YOU HAVENT READ THE OTHER PJO BOOKS.

We’ve met the glorious Apollo in the first Percy Jackson books, with his good-natured arrogance (if that’s a thing), and is basically full of himself and selfish but benevolent about it. After the fiasco in Blood of Olympus, Zeus had to find someone to blame and Apollo happened to be the perfect scapegoat, brought him down to earth. Literally, the dude landed in a dumpster in New York.

There he met a ferocious garbage wielding twelve-year-old demigoddess Meg. If you recall towards the end of the last series the Oracle of Delphi was silenced, therefore prophecy was cut off, meaning no quests.

Somehow connected to it all an ancient power that is slipping out of the shadows from which they’d lurked during the Second Titan War and the waking of Gaia. It is up to Apollo and Meg to reclaim the Oracle, of course with the help of our favourite demigods!

The most satisfying part of it all was Apollo’s character progression. I’d known it was unlikely Apollo was that oblivious after four thousand years. He had had his share of pain and regrets that still weighed on him, it was much easier to live beneath this mask of perfection, good cheer and narcism and some willful ignorance.

However his unwelcomed mortality opened his eyes to all those he took for granted, it made space for true fear, more searing remorse and … appreciation for the sacrifices of others. Read More »

Book review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Rated it: 5 stars

I reread this gem last year and the feels are still incredibly strong. Long story short this is a coming of age story of teenager Aristotle (told entirely in his point of view) during the 1980s set in El Paso, Texas, and spans two years.

The summer was hot and humid, the rain was like a veil into different emotional dimension I kid you not. And the birds, well they were there crapping on people in a real way. Oh, just read the thing and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s raining as I’m writing, and usually when it does I’m reminded of my summer boys.

And I’ll be straight with you, dear readers, this is a novel I cannot formulate a coherent sentences worthy of a decent review so I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for this mass of fangirl babble. Ari was at the awkward age where he’s coming to terms that his body is changing, he’s occupied with thoughts of his veteran father who’s in another world most of the time. Added to that he’s somewhat obsessed with an older brother who he barely remembers. 

He meets the soft spoken and bookish Dante (one of the cinnamon-iest cinnamon roll I’ve read so far) one day at the pool. A loner by choice, Ari begins to find his company an education.

The friendship that grows between these two … it’s simple yet it’s not. For better or for worse they change each other. Simply by being there they challenged themselves with facing the hard questions, the kind of questions that makes them realize just how vast and painfully tangible the universe possibly is.

What I loved

  • Sáenz didn’t mince words, let me tell you. When I first read it I was confused and uncomfortable but then I got it. This was Ari’s voice: raw, undiluted and straightforward. Also the writing gets poetic, which I expect from a book with a guy named Aristotle in it. Not that he’s poetic. Hmm, well he does get poetic but he doesn’t think he is.
  • Ari. I like him. A lot. Full of angsty pubescent emotions, foul mouthed (as much as a fifteen year old can be in YA), a natural born smart ass, and an actual decent human being. Cute too, did I mention?
  • Dante, another smarty pants. He’s the yin to Ari’s yang. Gentle, fierce, kind and forever curious. If I recall correctly, he has identity issues with his Mexian ancestry, having not been immersed in it as much as Ari. He’s terribly brave when it comes down to it.
  • The parentsRead More »