Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (Book Review)

The future looks grim for thirteen year old student wizard, Harry Potter when Lord Voldemort’s sidekick, Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban, the Wizard Prison.

Sirius Black is said to have murdered thirteen people with a single curse, twelve years previously, resulting in the Ministry of Magic locking him away in the fortress known as Azkaban. The prison is guarded by hooded creatures known as Dementors, which suck the joy out of everything around them and the island is supposed to be so secure that it is impossible to escape from. However, Sirius Black has somehow managed to do just that. The madman is now evading capture and seeks revenge on the one person who has lost him everything: Harry Potter.

With Sirius Black looking to commit another murder, Harry is on lockdown inside Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, unable even to visit the local village, Hogsmeade with the rest of his fellow 3rd year students.

Would Sirius Black dare to break in to Hogwarts with Professor Dumbledore in charge and the Dementors on guard outside the school gates? Is he planning to bring Lord Voldemort back into power and if so, will he be successful?

The Prisoner of Azkaban is the third novel in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and at 5 out of 5 stars is a very difficult book to put down, once you begin to read it you’ll soon find that you can’t stop until you’ve reached the end.

J.K. Rowling’s writing matures and becomes more and more complex with each subsequent book and the Prisoner of Azkaban is no exception, as we learn that not all is as it first seems when Harry’s Godfather, Sirius Black comes looking for revenge.

The third instalment also plays host to a variety of intriguing magical creatures including: Animagi, werewolves and Hippogriffs, while Harry has an extremely amusing ride on the ‘Knight Bus’, the transport for stranded Wizards and Witches.

The film for the Prisoner of Azkaban however, has a number of problems and doesn’t quite match up to the quality of its predecessors.

See also:

Book 1 – The Philosopher’s Stone

Book 2 – The Chamber of Secrets

Book 4 – The Goblet of Fire

Book 5 – The Order of the Phoenix

Book 6 – The Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 – The Deathly Hallows

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Book Review)

Although not previously acquainted with the authors work, I took an interest in reading Agatha Christie’s mystery novel And Then There Were None after watching the TV adaptation.

The story revolves around ten guests who are seduced by nefarious means to visit a private house on Soldier Island, off the coast of Devon. Once they reach their destination however, circumstances take a very mysterious turn when their hosts are nowhere to be found.

It soon becomes apparent that the guests were not chosen at random, but rather have been selected specifically due to a particularly disturbing incident in their past.

The mastermind behind the rather odd situation at this secluded, seaside house wishes to impart his own rather unusual form of judgement, upon the unsuspecting guests.

One by one, the ten occupants of the house begin to drop dead, but which one of them is actually the murderer?

 

And Then There Were None is a gripping mystery novel from Queen of crime, Agatha Christie. It is a very unique tale that does incredibly well to keep the reader guessing all the way to the very end.

Loaded with bewildering twists and misdirection, And Then There Were None is most definitely one of the VERY best mystery novels to cross my bookshelf, and while it is not a genre that I usually tend to lean towards, I feel that I may be inclined to delve a little more deeply into Agatha Christie’s immense catalogue in future.

At 5 out of 5 stars I promise that you won’t be able to stop turning those pages, or prise this book out of your hands, until you discover the intimate confession that awaits you at the novels conclusion.

 

 

As previously stated And Then There Were None is also available on DVD as a 3 part TV adaptation, featuring top performances from Charles Dance, Sam Neill, Miranda Richardson, Burn Gorman and of course the delectable Aidan Turner.

Horns by Joe Hill (Book Review)

Almost a year after Merrin Williams is found raped and murdered; the main suspect in her death and boyfriend, Ignatius Parrish wakes up to discover that he has horns growing out of his forehead.

At first Ig thinks he’s suffering from hallucinations due to a brain tumour, or some other terminal disease, but soon discovers that despite the fact that his horns are clearly visible to the people around him, no-one pays them much attention. Instead, they inadvertently reveal to him their deepest, darkest, most evil thoughts and desires, almost as if they are requesting his permission to commit atrocious acts or confess their darkest sins.

The horns provide a unique insight into the minds of the people around him, providing answers to what really happened the night the love of his life was murdered, and Ig sets out for revenge on those responsible for Merrin’s death.

 

Favourite Quote:

“The devil is always there to help those who are ready to sin, which is another word for ‘live’. His phone lines are open. Operators are standing by.” – Ignatius Martin Parrish (p254)

 

Unlike Joe Hill’s previous novel ‘Heart-shaped Box’, at 4 out of 5 stars Horns manages to captivate the reader, as it flows neatly along. It delves into a simple notion that most people have longed for at some point in their lives, the ability to read someone’s mind. Joe reminds his readers that knowing what goes on inside other people’s heads may not necessarily be something you wish to know, that the knowledge of a person’s deepest, darkest desires is not a pretty thing at all.

 

 

Horns, has also been adapted into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, along with James Remar and Heather Graham. Although it’s a little different to the novel, it retains the basic fundamentals of the story and provides a pretty good adaptation of this entertaining and rather unusual tale from Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill.

 

See also:

20th Century Ghosts

Heart-Shaped Box

NOS 4A2

The Fireman

Strange Weather

Break Point – James Patterson with Lee Stone (Book Review)

I’d like to apologise for the lack of book reviews lately as I have been a bit distracted from my usual reading. One of my favourite rock bands, Backyard Babies, released a new album on March 1st (Sliver and Gold) and as a result I’ve rediscovered my love for this band’s music, listening to all of their albums pretty much for the last month straight, so there’s been very little reading going on. Anyone interested can check out the Backyard Babies music videos on their Official Youtube account here. I’ve been a fan since I was 16 year’s old, when a friend loaned me his copy of their debut album, Diesel and Power, back in 2000.

 

Anyway, since I don’t have a new review for you I’m reposting an old one that I did for an earlier incarnation of my blog; Break Point is a deviation from my normal repertoire of science fiction, fantasy and horror, instead focusing on my Mother’s favourite writer, James Patterson. Speaking of Mother, it is Mother’s Day tomorrow (Sunday) here in the UK, so I guess this works out quite well really.

I arrived into the midst of a family situation a couple of years ago, which left me waiting around and twiddling my thumbs, and having not had the foresight to bring along a book to read in case of emergencies, I was a little restless. As a result I ended up diving into one of my Mother’s piles of James Patterson crime thrillers that were sitting close at hand, and coming out with one of his ‘Bookshots’ or short novellas under the advice that “that one about the tennis players is quite good.” With nothing more interesting to pass my time I decided to give Break Point a chance to amuse and enthral.

 

Kirsten Keller is a tennis pro on the verge of winning the French Open, when an unexpected noise from the crowd terrifies her so completely that she flees the court in fear for her life. It soon transpires that Kirsten has been receiving mysterious death threats, and after the embarrassing circumstances in France she decides to employ the services of ex-Metropolitan Police Officer turned Investigator, Chris Foster, to protect her at Wimbledon, and provide some much needed piece of mind allowing her to focus on her career. Can Chris find a way to capture the person responsible for Kirsten’s torment and save her life?

 

Despite my misgivings about reading crime thrillers, which aren’t necessarily my usual cup of tea, I must confess that I rather enjoyed this brisk, straightforward story which at only 119 pages can be easily read within an hour or so.

Not being very familiar with either James Patterson or Lee Stone’s other offerings it’s a little difficult to truly do a review of Break Point justice, however the book is long enough to provide enough depth to the story for it to feel properly complete, which is a feat that even some full length novels often fail to achieve.

At 3 out of 5 stars it is perfect for those who enjoy crime thrillers that can keep you guessing until very near the end, and/or you’re a little too short on time to read a full novel.