Book Review: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey from The Dragonriders of Pern

Book Review: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey from The Dragonriders of Pern
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Spoiler Free Summary:  Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey is the first book in the Dragonriders of Pern series (at least what is commonly regarded as the first in the main arc). Humans have lived for decades without a single strand of thread falling from the sky. The dragons are fat and lazy. All the Weyrs save one are empty. Politics have stolen the birthright of one woman who means to take her hold back, but fate has other plans. The ancient threat returns. It’s time for dragons to fly again.

The cover image for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Character:  Here is where I expect there to be a lot of dissension. One can argue the relationship between Lessa and F’lar to be unhealthy (to say the least). This book was written so long ago with a completely different perspective on things. However, these characters are awesome. Lessa is a strong-willed, decisive character. I affirm she was the first true female hero in fantasy. If she isn’t, please try and justify your nominee in the comments below. She absolutely has character flaws and inexperience, but she’s amazing, strong, motivated, and capable. F’lar is a classic rogue hero. Without understanding (or getting into the logistics) of the dragon bond and how everything works, one may strongly disagree about these characters and their relationship, but I don’t. Their relationship and individual arcs are amazing.

Exposition: It takes a degree of patience to enjoy a Pern book. There is a lot of exposition because this world is so different from our own. I wouldn’t read this to my kids because I don’t think they’d appreciate it at their age (and also there are the adult themes and concepts that aren’t appropriate for young readers). However, once they grow more mature and appreciate reading and world building more, I can’t wait to recommend it to them.

Worldbuilding: This amazing wold is the reward for readers patient enough to endure an excessive amount of exposition. This wold has a political structure and a magic system grounded in science. I’ve borrowed from Pern (in several ways). Brandon Sanderson has admitted Pern’s influence on him. McCaffrey laid the foundation for so many in the genre that I’d consider it a must read for anyone who says they are fans of either science fiction or fantasy.

This Camera Press image was found on McCaffrey’s New York Times obituary and used for this review.

Dialogue: When these characters talk, they’re not just spewing exposition to the readers. Yes, there is some of that, but the characters are interacting for their own sake rather than simply to provide information to the readers. Their voices are distinct and unique to them. This is an under-appreciated skill and a sadly underused technique, but McCaffrey is great at it.

Description: While meticulous and (in my mind) a bit much, there’s no denying that McCaffrey’s description is immersive and captivating. I’m not individually impressed by description, so I’m probably harder on her than I should be, but I’m positive fans of deep-immersive worlds will actually be excited by the description in this book.

Overall: Dragonriders is the best series ever. @me all you want, it’s how I feel. Dragonflight introduces a world of imagination and wonder and makes dragons compelling characters rather than just flying horses or monsters to be fought. This book alone (not to even go into the rest of the series) has everything a fan of fantasy and/or science fiction could ever ask for. It’s not one great idea, it’s ten ideas seamlessly woven together into a perfect story.

Thanks for reading

Matt

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The Top 5 Most Awesome Heroes In Fantasy

The Top 5 Most Awesome Heroes In Fantasy

Greetings all,

So I was running dry on ideas. I’d been doing a lot of update posts and bracket posts, and I felt it was time to do something different. That got me thinking about one of my favorite reasons I read fantasy: the idea of “who would win in a fight?”

Therefore, I decided to do a “Top 5” list. What is this list based on? My opinion! It’s my list. I hope this post encourages healthy (kind-hearted) debate. It may even inspire a bracket.

What do I base my opinion on?

That’s a great question. The first is memorability. I’m going to provide the five characters who came to my mind. If I have to try to remember you, you clearly aren’t that powerful. The down side? I honestly haven’t read that much. Oh I read a lot, but there are books I haven’t read (again why I hope you lovely readers would be interested in enlightening a fan). So, you can also look at my “read” bookshelf on Goodreads to tell me if there’s someone in a book I read that you think would top any of these five. From there, it’s based on sheer power and capability.  Limitations are also factored. for instance, you won’t find an Aes Sedai on this list. All I’d have to do is not threaten them, and, though they could make life inconvenient, they couldn’t hurt me. The rest is just me thinking about what I’ve read about them doing and how impressive it is.

Now that the logistics are covered, let’s see who’s the top dog!

51yPTs-9jqL._SY346_#5: Ian Troy, The Crown of Stones  I honestly had a fight with myself about this.  Do I select the characters “at their most powerful” or their power level (or lack there of) at the end of the last book I read. Since most nerds like me will always argue fights on a “height-of-power” scale, I went with that as well. Ian begins the whole series with a display of power that would put any on this list on notice. Ian stops at number four because the crown serves as a weak point that could be exploited.  Since I have to take the character at the height of his power, I must also take him at the most dangerous of issues weaknesses too.  Ian could honestly destroy a world, but his power comes at the expense of the lives of others. This wouldn’t be a problem for a villain, but a former addict trying to protect life just wouldn’t consciously throw power around at the expense of (possibly) those he loves.

41kUPvqlguL #4: Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings: I honestly had a lot of trouble placing him. As one reads LotR, it’s easy to understand he has the potential to lay waste to a number of opponents. The thing is, we never really see him do much in the way of magic. We feel like he could, so I have him all the way up to number three just for that reason, but he never really displayed it. If someone said to drop him to 4 or even 5, I don’t know that I could argue, except that the guy seems so powerful.  Therefore, I met in the middle.  This ranking (I feel) gives the potential of his power respect while also taking into account how little power he actually used in the books.

51RphRxrZPL#3: Vin, Mistborn: I think she’d fall in this spot even without the “at her most powerful” rule. She wasn’t just powerful, she used that power in clever ways that made it pretty much unfair to fight her (unless you’re essentially a god). The events of the book take that seeming unfairness and make it down right laughable to think she couldn’t take out pretty much anyone. Allomancy is just an awesome power, and a full Mistborn is pretty much impossible to beat if you’re limited to a single power, but not if you’re using the One Power.

51-NVUtW9XL#2: Rand al’Thor, The Wheel of Time: The Dragon Reborn already has the strength to “break the world.” The One Power is such that some serious power get’s flung around. With this power, characters can make or flatten mountains. They can even use a weapon so great it erases one from existence (or even burns away parts of their life).  There are even ways to amplify that power! It’s honestly ridiculous when I think about it, but it’s so fun to read. While Rand could break a planet, he could make one, so he falls second to number one on the list.

516rFaN7djL#1: Harmony, The Cosmere: Sure, anyone who follows my blog knows Sanderson is my favorite author. But I dare you to point out a character who has god-power X 2. The Cosmere surrounds sixteen shards of what was once a whole. Each single shardholder is known as a god in their system. Harmony has two. Even Sanderson has said flatly that Harmony is the most powerful shard-holder for this reason. 2-4 could probably end a world, but Harmony could create one if he wanted. Some may argue limitations here, but only one shardholder to my knowledge is actually limited. Two were limited for reasons explained in the books. But, as far as I know, Harmony could do whatever he wanted, and no one could stop him. At his most powerful, there isn’t a fantasy hero (or even many villains) I can think of who could stop him.

So there’s my list! What do you think? Who would you add to the list of “most powerful”? Who would you rank higher than my guys? Do you think I got my list wrong? I want to hear it folks!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Centyr Dominance by Michael G. Manning

Book Review: Centyr Dominance by Michael G. Manning

510gRhw1dtL._SY346_Centyr Dominance is the second book of the Champions of the Dawning Dragons series, which is the third series in the Mageborn saga. My review for the first book in this series is here. My review for the earliest series (Embers of Illeniel) is here.  My review for the central series (Mageborn) is here.

Spoiler Free Summary:  Moira Illeniel has an unusual history. She’s the ancient (and yet teenage) daughter of an even more ancient wizard from another family. Her biological mother’s ability allows her to tap into a great power, but that power is dangerous, and it can lead to darkness. She’s set out to find her missing father, but as things get worse for her, that power calls her to darkness; it calls her to let go of her innocence.  Between her and answers about her father’s location are a god and new, terrifying enemy.

Character:  Moira is my favorite of this series so far. Her character is so well-balanced. Her conflict is fantastic, and her struggle to maintain her innocence reminds me of her many times removed grandfather. Where Thorbear was a fairly adventurous story. This book is more action packed, and it also has a higher emotion rang.  I found myself invested in her, and if she’s rumored to be anywhere in any future books in the series, I’ll pick them up just to see how shoe’s doing.

Exposition: This is right on par with Manning’s best work. Yes, the dialogue becomes a back-handed way for him fill in the reader. That’s still better than just four or five pages of exposition just to help the reader know what’s going on.

Dialogue: I felt this was pretty solid in comparison to his other work, which is a bit better than average for most. It’s not as snappy as the central saga, but it’s still solid back and forth at times despite the aforementioned exposition, which was used to help fill the reader in on some things.

Description:  I find myself picturing his scenes in my mind. The emotional description is sometimes lacking, but there’s plenty there to be happy about.  My point is, I feel like a I’m there when I read his work.

Overall:  This book required zero “hanging in there” like the last one did. Every page has conflict and tension. Every moment seems happy, but tragic. Fans of the saga as a whole need to pick this book up, because it stands out with one of the best in the timeline.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Book Review: The Blacksmith’s Son by Michael G. Manning

Book Review: The Blacksmith’s Son by Michael G. Manning

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Images taken from the Amazon buy page for review purposes. Featured Image pulled from dailywaffle.co.uk.

Spoiler Free Summary:  The Blacksmith’s Son by Michael G. Manning takes place 2,000 years after Betrayer’s Banewhich was December Book Cover of the Month, which I reviewed and you can find here. I started this series up right away via Audible because I loved Embers so much. Mordecai was raised as a humble son of a blacksmith with some rather affluent friends. Just as he learns the truth of his birth, he also discovers his magical ability and makes a powerful enemy. When everything in his life should start looking up, it all takes a turn, and Mort must figure it all out before the secrets that led to his unusual upbringing come back to haunt the kingdom of Lothion.

Character:  Mordecai is a fun character. He’s clever and proactive. Some may think he’s too good at too many things, but I like a skilled character. He’s not a Mary Sue by any stretch of the imagination, but some might argue how quickly he learns. What I like about him is his emotions. He’s a passionate person (meaning he cares deeply).  A lot of his conflict starts with how he reacts to certain people or events. That emotion (I’ve actually finished the whole series and will post reviews in time) is what draws me to him and helps me connect to him. Dorian is someone I want to highlight. I like him. He’s my favorite character in the series. He’s a solid, stand-up, white-hat kind of guy. He’s honest, fair, and truthful to a fault. These traits make him a charming character to meet.

5215279Exposition: Manning breaks the fourth wall quite freely here, and that reduces the impact of any exposition. Told (mostly) in first person, the story does have a touch or two moments of exposition, but Manning does something here that I don’t see often. He switches perspective. Most of the story is told by Mort, but the story switches to third-person omniscient and back. It’s actually a bit jarring for a reader the first few times it happens.  That said, the technique allows Manning to get around some of the info dumps first person usually forces. There are also excerpts from an in-world book that are pretty heavy. They serve to tease the chapter, but also tend to slow things down just a touch.

Worldbuilding: For me, the big reward of the book (and this series) was seeing the world evolve from Betrayer’s Bane. This book feels sort of more like a prequel than an actual first book. It’s a ton of setup, which bogs this first book down. Most of this book either tells us how things got to this point or set us up for the overall conflict. It doesn’t make it a boring story by any stretch, but I won’t lie. I found myself wanting to get into it. It may be unfair though coming right off of Embers.  Seeing the world as it’s progressed since then was one of the major reasons I kept with it. Mageborn is a great series, but this book is more of a warmup to a great saga.

51ynOSd1JtL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_Dialogue:  A lot of the exposition for this story comes through dialogue (but most authors (including me) do that). It’s noticed here because Mort is either conversing with another character about what he means to do, what’s going on with his friends, or what happened in his past. The best conversations are those between him and Penny (which are charming). His conversations with Rose (who’s honestly more like a Mary Sue than any other of these characters) are also endearing.

Description:  This was pretty natural for Manning. The scenes were visceral without being overly detailed. This is the highest compliment I could offer any book.

Overall: With a charming cast and a ridiculously compelling prequel trilogy, The Blacksmith’s Son sets the stage for a new saga in Manning’s world. While not remotely Manning’s strongest book, it teases at great stories to come while it also provides clever intrigue and deep world building. Fans of large worlds and complex magic systems would enjoy this story.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Betas Wanted: Sojourn in Captivity Update!

Betas Wanted: Sojourn in Captivity Update!

early-seferam
This is a very rough concept sketch of Elele. She actually doesn’t look much like this save for her figure and the wings.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen how happy I am to have completed the third draft to Sojourn in Captivity! I truly feel this is the best thing I’ve written so far (which I honestly hope to say each time I write something). Now that I’ve had an editor take a look at it, it’s time for what I call my Beta Draft.  That means I need beta readers!

I’m sending out the call for any interested beta readers. I tend to like between 5-20 betas. In my mind, the more people who read it, the more feedback you get.  The more feedback you get, the more certain you can be about certain aspects of the story.  I’d like to send out the draft (31,000 words) Saturday, and I’d ask that you send your feedback (and a few very short questionnaires I have for each segment), by May 6. (That would mean you need to read at least a segment every other day.)

Sojourn in Captivity is a prequel, I guess it’s more of a novella now, but I’m calling it a short story, to my Perception of War space war science fiction/fantasy sequence.  He’s an off-the-top-of-my-head blurb:

Elele’s course in life was altered when Adhol (her planet’s name for God) arrived three years ago. Her life remained relatively normal even though she couldn’t travel to the Gernis home planet of Welt, where she was supposed to study with the greatest mathematical minds in the galaxy. She’s still her father’s favorite child. She’s still gotten everything she’s ever wanted that was within her school’s or family’s power to give. That’s all about to change. Since Adhol’s arrival, he’s used his power to elevate her people from vestigial-winged, slender beings known as Seferam into the membrane-winged, monstrously sized Var’lechen.  It’s supposed to be the greatest blessing a Seferam could ask for. It’s supposed to be when a Seferam evolves into a form that more closely resembles their god. There’s only one problem, Elele doesn’t want to transform. When she faces her god, she’ll discover that not only is her life about to change forever, but her family’s had secrets that she’ll have to come to understand before its too late.

I’d be honored if anyone cared to give it a read.  Please reply below or send me an email if you’re interested.

Thank you for reading,

Matt

 

Book Review: A Halo of Mushrooms by Andrew Hiller

Book Review: A Halo of Mushrooms by Andrew Hiller

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Cover and other images used for review and critique under Fair Use doctrine.

Spolier Free Summary:  A Halo of Mushrooms is Andrew Hiller’s second published novel. (NOTE:  Hiller did a story about me on his blog which I talked bout in my blog about My Journey So Far.) It’s about Derik a magical healer from another land who carries with him a very special mushroom. If I’m being honest, the cover leaves a lot to be desired. I implore you to ignore the cover and read the book as it’s a treat. It reminded me of Pratchett’s Discworld Series. I’ve mentioned a few times I’m a huge fan of Tiffany Aching’s saga, but not such a fan of The Color of Magic. This book has the traits of both books that I do like, and I feel fans of Pratchett would at least (if not enjoy) appreciate Mushrooms.  In the book, Derik has to find the right location to plant his magic mushroom all while earning a dollar and avoiding cats and monsters who are hunting him down for stealing the magic spud.

Character:  There are three main characters in this book, though it focuses on Derik. The other two characters are Imani, a baker, and Lara, a scientist. The characters are real enough, with decent identity and progress, but for my money, I think the most of Imani. Derik is the most well rounded of the characters, and we get a lot of insight into him, but Imani grows on the reader. Lara has some very interesting aspects, but I felt like her characters had some missed opportunities. What I feel makes this book stand out about these characters is that while they each individually may be lacking, this is a pretty strong ensemble cast. I realize as I write this that while I wish each character was more fleshed out, I moved through this book because of the way they interact with one another. For those who read my blog on plotting, this was a pretty effective relationship plot, and it’s honestly the strongest part of the book. These characters know Derik as a man trying to do something nice or right. They bond over their desire to help him.

mushroom-1765870_960_720Exposition: The exposition of this book is a little on the heavy side. There are a few segments where I feel Hiller is giving scope to the book, but I don’t think I personally needed it. Though there are patches of over exposition, they don’t slow the pace or enjoyment of the book.

Worldbuilding:  I’d say this is the weakest area of the book. The magic system here doesn’t make a ton of sense. Now…I have to explain that I’m a fan of either (1) books that have a sense of wonder in which the magic is a complication or (2) books that have well understood (even if complex) magic systems that are part of the resolution. This book maintains a sense of wonder, but I felt that cost something at the end. However, it wasn’t something that brought the book too far down as the reader has enough understanding of how the worlds work to believe what’s happening. Once the reader understand the effects of the “Poms,” things flow pretty well. Now, I just said the exposition here was heavy, and how does one explain a magic system with out more of what was already a lot of exposition? So I see the sense in limiting the explanations to what the readers must have.

andrew-hiller-radioDialogue:  There’s a scene near the end of the book between Imani and one of her regular customers that I felt was a sign of a next level from Hiller. I wouldn’t begrudge an editor telling him to delete it, but it was strong writing that helped reveal the character. We see this again when Derik talks to a character referred to as Baba.  Those two scenes are great examples of how dialogue can move a plot and define a character.

Description: I’m not as over the moon about description as some. It shows in my own writing, and it’s something I’m working on because I understand it’s something readers look for. With that said, I couldn’t tell you what any of the characters look like. The clearest memory I have is of a certain car that got great mileage without a lot of gas. There’s a lizard I can remember clearly as well. This didn’t bother me at all because of how much less invested I am in that sort of thing, but I evaluate the quality of description based on how much I can remember a day or so after reading the book. There are a few characteristics about Imani and Derik I can recall, but that’s about it. For my  money, it didn’t bother me at all, but readers who want down to the thread count descriptions may find this element of the book lacking.

Overall: I want to go back to what I said earlier. A lot of the readers who enjoy the Discworld saga find a charm in the satire and melting pot of ideas.  For me, this book has that sort of feel to me. The charm in my opinion is Derek’s sense of wonder in our world. I think that’s the main reason I enjoy it so much. Hiller shows our world from the point of view of someone from another world, and it made me feel more magic in our every day corner of the known universe. The ending was a cliffhanger, which I don’t generally like, but it did satisfy the plot of the book while pointedly indicating what I hope is a equally endearing sequel.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Book Review: Magic-Borne by C.L. Schneider

Book Review: Magic-Borne by C.L. Schneider

I’m very glad I had the chance to finish this book last week.  I’d been excited to read the final book in the trilogy, and I wasn’t disappointed.  To remind you all what’s happened so far, please check out my review of Magic-Price land my review of Magic-Scars.

magic-borneSpoiler Free Summary:  Magic-Borne is the final book in the Crown of Stones trilogy.  It takes place pretty soon after the events of Magic-Scars.  Ian is trying to solve the mystery of his scars, save a loved one, defeat his father, and find a way to bring peace to the land.  We get a lot of questions answered and the readers will get a complete resolution, which is all any reader of a series can ask for these days.

Character:  Ian is still amazing.  His arch shows a lot of progress from the character we met in Price.   He shines more in this book.  I’ll admit I missed some of the other characters who, while still in the book, didn’t get as much air time as I’d have liked, but Ian is, and should be, why people are reading the series.  In my  review of the last book, I’d noted I would have liked more from them, but I think pulling back a bit was a sound decision.  Jarryd had some major impact moments that showed his evolution in some pretty powerful ways, but the rest of the characters simply don’t get a lot of face time.  It’s understandable given the ending, but I won’t lie that I wished they had a bigger role.

Exposition: This is about the same as the last book.  Schneider has a knack for blending exposition with description to help the reader avoid large blocks of data dumping.  I almost never notice the exposition in her work.

18714210._SX540_Worldbuilding:  So what I have to do here is admit that if someone shouts that the ending “seems” convenient (or at least the plot device that brings about the end), I couldn’t get too angry because I’d understand what they see.  I’d like to argue though that what Schneider did here is not MUCH different (if not even done better) than what McCaffrey did in Dragon Riders of Pern.  Before anyone throws stuff at me, realize I’m only drawing a correlation between plot devices.

Pern is my favorite series (by a lot) and will always be.  But if the plot device in that series didn’t bother you, the plot device in this one shouldn’t either. Schneider did a great job closing all the loops here and letting the readers learn about a complex magic system as they needed to. She sets up the ending to be complete and fulfilling while simultaneously leaving the door open for more books from that world.

Dialogue:  I’d say the dialogue in Scars was better.  There were scenes and arguments in Borne that felt a little quick for me.  As I write this, I’d have to say Scars was my favorite in the series on a lot of fronts.  That doesn’t take away from what this book is and could be.  The biggest difference stylistically was the pace of the dialogue.  Even the amount of dialogue felt a bit more rushed in this book.  This was not to a degree as to degrade the quality, just not the same crips, visceral dialogue we saw in Scars.  It’s still a great book.  I just felt this was a weaker element of the book.

The crown of stonesDescription:  I mentioned problems with how I saw characters in the review for Scars, and Schneider followed up her novel with much more character description.  Her extra attention to smaller character details made the book that much more visceral than the last.  I thought this was a great blend between setting, scene, and character description.  This was an improvement from Scars to Borne.

A note on content:  I don’t think this book is as explicit as Scars.  There are some adult scenes in this book too.  This still serves as a plot device as intimacy is a theme that shifts through each book.  Where as with straight romance (note, I’ve only read two), you tend to see scenes like this for the sake of scenes like this.  Here, you get steam and impact for the character.  That’s something I appreciate.

1d9390_138339a396c348f9ade2dfafb512d4c8Overall:  I stand by my opinion that Scars is the best of the three, but this book is a very satisfying and complete conclusion to a great story.  Where Scars upped the drama and the emotion, Borne lets us slip into the the resolution like a warm bath.  I appreciate how this story tied up all the loose ends and let us leave this world feeling as if we’ve seen all there is to see, for now.  This also holds true to how I usually feel about trilogies.  I tend to like the second act best because that’s where the most drama is.  That makes this book a perfect conclusion. No, it’s not the most exciting book because it can’t be.  A reader has to leave a story knowing there’s nothing more (in a manner of speaking) to be seen from this arc.  Borne does that.  If Schneider ever decides to go back, I’m going to be immensely pleased.  This was a sold, complete, well told story with an amazing protagonist and a fascinating twist on a few old tropes.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Book Review:  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

909e912878599.5601891c99bf9Spoiler Free Summary:  17 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all grown up with children of their own.  Harry’s youngest is the odd man out.  It picks up right where the last book left off, only we find out who young Albus Potter sits next to on the train, and it’s the most unlikely person.  Albus struggles to be the boy who’s the son of the boy who lived, and he and his friend Scorpious find all the wrong ways to make a name for themselves.  When they find a mission for themselves, a mission designed to fix one of Harry’s past mistakes, they only end up discovering the costs of trying to be heroes.

(NOTE:  This isn’t a book.  It’s a script.  I think it was wise and kind of those involved to let people who love that world see what the next chapter is, and they did so in the most immediate format available.  If you just want to KNOW what happened, this does the trick.  Also, this isn’t a Harry Potter book.  He has a significant role, but the book isn’t really about him.)

Character:  This part frustrated me a bit.  Albus has a solid arc, and he’s very proactive, which helps, but things seem to move a little too quickly for my taste here.  It doesn’t hurt the book exactly, but readers should be ready to let a little development slide here.  You can probably give some of that to the performance as this is a script, not a novel.   I have to say this.  The lesson and arc Albus goes through is far less external than Harry.  I can see the reasoning here.  Harry had to beat the overlord.  How do you improve on that?  Options:  Bigger villain, or more dramatic focus.  The most interesting part of Albus is the lesson he learned because it was the only one there was for him to learn.

Draco-Malfoy-Alex-Price-Scorpius-Malfoy-Anthony-BoyleScorpious, on the other hand completely steals the show for me.  I found him more compelling anyway.  He’s a young man who has to struggle with his family’s mistakes, and all he wants to do is be a kid.  My opinion, this story falls short if Scorpious isn’t in it.  Where Harry was clearly the hero of the last generation, Scorpious carved a place for himself in my heart.  Sure, Albus does some cool things, but he wasn’t nearly as heroic as his friend.

Exposition: This was a script, so we get a little insight into emotions and stage direction, but this is heavy based on dialogue.

Worldbuilding:  This is where I think the book falls short.  The writers are asking readers to believe that nearly two decades have passed, and there wasn’t a hint of progress in the world?  Where the Mistborn world and even The Last Airbender worlds evolved, there’s nothing in this book to show any passage of time.  This will be grounds for argument for anyone who cares to waste oxygen on it, but if the only reason they’re still using owls to communicate is because they always have, then what significant contributions are there to be made in the wizarding world?  Especially with a Minister of Magic who was raised in a muggle world.

harry-cursed-child-art-closeI think this is a failure on the part of the writers.  I was glad to see more of the world of Harry Potter.  We even get a peek at some magical developments.  So if want you want is pretty much EXACTLY the same world you left, then you’re in luck.  Of course, if you really wanted that, you could actually just reread the original series.  For me, if I read a book nearly two decades after the last, I want some worldbuilding ways to note said passage of time.

Dialogue:  I don’t actually know if the dialogue is “good” here.  There’s a lot of it.   The character’s voices feel unique.  I’ve never read a script before, so perhaps there’s some expectation the actors will bring the words to life.  It’s honest to say it didn’t meet my expectations, but that my expectations were higher because I knew dialogue would drive the story.

Description:  Again, this was a script, so there’s not much there.

18192_show_portrait_largeOverall:  It was nostalgic to go back to this world and see what’s happened.  I can say what I want about the worldbuilding, but that doesn’t diminish the wonderful characters in the story, nor does is make this book unentertaining.  It is a fun, fast-paced story that I’m glad was published.  I love knowing “what happened next,” and this book does that for us.  I read this in about two days (which is fast even for me).  Yes, I was more happy to see these characters in a new story than I was impressed with the actual plot, but it was still enjoyable.  If you love Harry Potter, I imagine you’ll like this next chapter.  If you didn’t love the world and style of the books though, you’ll be disappointed because it’s the same in this book.

I’m not actually one of those who sing the praises of J.K. Rowling.  She did a lot for this industry, and I really enjoyed the saga.  I’m just a bit less in awe of her actual writing, and I had some serious problems with Deathly Hallows.  Regardless, I was very happy I read Cursed Child.   I was glad to see the characters again, and I’d look forward to more from this new generation.

Thanks for reading

Matt