November 29, 2007

The Amber Spyglass

Part three.

#30 Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass (November 2007)

I'm unsure how many times in the past I read this book, but as I read I knew there were scenes waiting to be read once more that were favorites of mine from readings in the past, scenes which touched me just as much despite six years having passed since my first reading of this series. I won't spoil this book by giving these scenes away. However, know that parts are very touching. This book is filled with big scenes that hold you at the edge of your chair, sitting alert and reading at a quicker pace than you would normally read, anxious to discover what it is that's happening, and how it all comes to an end.

For my first reading of this book, I was still attached and wrote a small piece of fan fiction, my first ever. I've no idea what became of it, though still remember how it goes. (No, I won't be rewriting it.) I would no longer write it the same since I think I could capture key characters better now that I'm older.

Right now there is a lot of controversy surrounding this series what with the film coming out this December and bringing more awareness to these books. Had it not been for the Harry Potter books, I'm sure this series would have received more recognition, and sooner. As is, I can say it is a great piece of YA fantasy, action-packed and lovely at once. I see no reason for all the trouble that is going to be brought upon these books and the film from some groups of people. It is argued that Pullman is teaching atheism to the minds of children. I say maybe he is simply opening their minds to see the world in more views. Everyone grows up eventually, as Pullman well points out in this series, and exposure is a necessity to further understanding of life. Reading and watching this series captured on either paper or film will not do away with the essence of youth. They will not suddenly gain the look of shock and announce a strong will and desire to become an athiest, which by the way, is not a hurtful word in any way. Let the children read and obsorb their minds with tales of the importance of truthfullness, honor, and love, as this series does. Let them watch the film and be enthralled as they see a world much like our own and yet somehow different, making the ordinary suddenly possess an extraordinary quality to it, where armored bears may speak and the lights in the northern part of the world gives a magical glow that is well thought of at this time of year. Excitment, not thoughts of religion being good or bad, is what will fill their minds. They are too young to as of yet see things the way some adults may interpret this series, and so it is simply this: innocence, unharmed and still protected. Please do not prevent a single child from enjoying this charming wonderful story, as I have also enjoyed again and again which each reading of it. The gift of story is truly a marvelous gift.

November 28, 2007

Harry Potter Full Circle

I was writing in a word document for a summary of the books I've read in 2007 (so far to date) and discovered something that truly shocked me: I had not entered in my most eagerly anticpated read into my blog! All I can think of is that I had wanted to give it the time it deserved to make it a really good post. Meanwhile, I wrote a review on LibraryThing for this book that was awarded a prize. This is the book,

#13 J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (July 2007)

And this is my review I had posted on LibraryThing. I warn you, it does spoil the previous book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Please read with some caution.

A big fan of Harry Potter, I was eager and yet afraid to begin the final book of what for me has been a much-loved series. Throughout books one through six, we have read and watched as Harry grew up from an eleven-year-old child deemed The Boy Who Lived who learns he is a wizard, to what he becomes in book seven: a man with a heart of gold who will do everything in his power to save all he loves and then some. We have thought up as many theories as we possibly can, and have argued them thoroughly. At last, the final book has arrived, and there became seven.

With the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry is soon to become a wizard of age, and with that, is about to lose some powerful magic left to protect him by his mother, Lily, who sacrificed herself for her son nearly sixteen years before. Harry and the Dursley's part once more, and Harry is given a surprise as they go. The Order of the Phoenix arrives on scene with their plan that they hope will not fail as they attempt to take Harry away from Privet Drive once and for all. With not all that he left with, Harry as well as the Order make it to safety.

With the death of Albus Dumbledore new to the wizarding world from Harry's last adventure in Half-Blood Prince, people begin to speak about the Albus that they knew, whether he was the Albus they loved or that mystified them. Harry learns much more about the man who he looked up to, and, only months before he died, had told him that he was his man through and through. As it turns out, there is a heart-breaking story about Albus's past, and we learn all there is to know about Albus Dumbledore.

Unsurprisingly, Harry arrives at the Burrow in time, home of his family-at-heart, the Weasley's. Here, he celebrates his seventeenth birthday, and Harry accepts a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley that would have been given to him by his parents were they still alive. Harry watches Ginny as he would very much like to be with her but knowingly cannot until Voldemort is defeated. From the previous Harry Potter book, we know their will be a wedding between Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour. The wedding proceeds, an after-party is thrown, and danger begins to lurk nearer.

Throughout Deathly Hallows, Harry searches for the Horcruxes while amongst friends, and together, they destroy them. Destruction of one such Horcrux brings them closer together. Places from the past are revisited, one of which Harry can barely remember. Harry is frequently reminded of how many hold him dear, and how many are rooting for him and offer support. More characters from the past reappear. To some, Harry must say good-bye in heart-breaking moments when you will find yourself in tears. Many of them do all they can to help Harry, even two who are very much unexpected. Filled with surprises as well as chapters that had me crying all the way through them, this is a book I will reread for decades to come. J.K. Rowling has created a marvelous series, full of love, tears, and laughter. Without a doubt, the Muggle world will never forget the name Harry Potter. To the Boy Who Lived!

November 20, 2007

The Subtle Knife

And so the adventure continues...

#29 Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife (November 2007)

Everytime I read this series beyond the first book, I notice an immediate difference in the second and third book. Pantalaimon, Lyra's daemon, is not nearly as present as he had been in The Golden Compass. I find myself missing the conversations that went on between the two of them. Suddenly Pan is given the backseat, and we don't hear much from him, other than what he says directly to twelve-year-old Will Perry, Lyra's newest friend.

Another difference is the point of view of the story. Pullman had written it from persepectives other than Lyra's in the past, but suddenly the amount of times this happens strongly increases. This book has a feel to it as if it is Will's story, not Lyra's. If you think about it, even the titles suggest so. In The Golden Compass, Lyra obtains the alethiometer, while in The Subtle Knife, Will obtains the AEsahaettr. It's been too long for me since I've read the next book in the series, but I have a character in mind for whom that story is told for as well.

While reading this book, you come across many adults striving for the greater good, and dying for a cause. Ideas such as 'the greater purpose,' 'live life to the fullest,' and 'give it all you've got' come to mind.

This book ends with as much mystery as the first one did, perhaps more. Lasting question: where is Lyra now? While some may be able to read the first book and not continue on, I can't see how anyone could do that with this one. The Amer Spyglass becomes a must-read.

November 14, 2007

The Golden Compass

I was introduced to this book as a senior in high school. My school had started a reading program which required everyone on campus to read at the same time for perhaps fifteen to twenty minutes each day. On one of these days, I didn't have anything to read with me. I walked over to my Engligh instructor's shelf where I found a book with an interesting looking cover on which a large polar bear and child looked back at me, and I walked back to my seat with the book. By the time we finished our reading period, I was sad to return the book to the shelf, and spent the next few days rushing to make sure I could pick up the book again before another student beat me to it. I purchased the book that weekend, finished it, and proceeded with it's following books in a similar fashion.

Since first reading the series, I read it a few times more until perhaps two years ago when, it attempts to get my youngest sister to start reading books, I attempted to make her something much like the althiometer. (A project never finished, for the record.) Now with the movie coming to theaters next month, I had an excuse to reread this series once more.

#28 Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (November 2007)

I love this series, and perhaps did a bit too much when I was younger. I would read it to read it again after just three months, and perhaps made it so that I'm a bit tired of it now, as much as I still adore the books. Some details are foggy to me and I'm able to read a little easier, though that's more so for the later books in the series.

It must be said that all the while that I was reading Frances Hardinge's Fly by Night, I thought of Lyra Belacqua and how much Mosca Mye reminded me of her. I wondered if the two fictional girls, of similiar ages, would be friends had they known each other's stories, and felt sure they would be. Later, I must reread the two books one after the other to write some more about them.

As I finished reading this book once more, I thought how much I disliked Lyra's parents, and how much hate I had for both. Lyra is truly a brave little girl. I am very happy that her story has been made into a movie, and am very excited about watching it soon. I hope the future will see the later books in the series to be movies, as well.

November 6, 2007

"You compare one small tree to the entire forest."

And so the series continues...

#27 Stephenie Meyer: Eclipse (November 2007)

I think this is my favorite of the Twilight series, but I'm not sure. Twilight was pretty good, too.