Book Review: The Magic Lands

Book Review: The Magic Lands

A magnificent book of 55 folk and fairy tales, wonder tales and ghost stories from all over Britain and Ireland. Taken from original sources and then brilliantly retold in a fresh and modern way, this is the most comprehensive and authoritative collection written in the last twenty years.A handsome trade paperback with notes and sources. Each story has a beautiful opening illustration by Emma Chichester Clark, a major illustrator.

First published by Orchard Books as BRITISH FOLK TALES, it attracted rave reviews: ‘outstanding’ Naomi Lewis in The Observer ‘a sourcebook of folklore no home with children should be without’ The Independent ‘this great storyteller’ Philip Pullman in The Guardian ‘a fine storyteller with a poet’s ear’ The Independent

 

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed The Magic Lands. I love reading original folk tales and myths and this book puts 55 interesting British and Irish ones together.

Each tale is short, some less than a page, some several pages long, so this is a perfect book for reading to children or to bring with you while you need to wait somewhere.

As much as I enjoyed the stories, I am a historian at heart, so found myself going to the end to read the “Sources and Notes” section for each tale. Crossley-Holland has obviously done huge amounts of research in this area and tells us about where the stories first came from, where first recorded, and other interesting details.

This is a great book for anyone wanting original tales written in accessible, modern language.

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Book Review: The Emerald Dagger

Book Review: The Emerald Dagger (The Raiders of Folklore #2)

The hunt for the Eye of Odin continues…

Since discovering a hidden world existed parallel to our own, fifteen-year-old Grayle Rowen learned he’s also a Hexhunter, someone born with the skills to track down and kill witches. Awkward…since his friend, Sarah Finn, is a witch-for-hire.

Now, together with Sarah and her elf Caretaker, Grayle travels to Istanbul to retrieve a third runestone linked to the whereabouts of the Eye of Odin—an artifact of unimaginable power. Their search pits them against Romans, a Crusader hit squad, and a journey through a deadly tomb. But what Grayle and Sarah discover about themselves along the way might be more than what they bargained for, and may ultimately put their friendship to the test.

From Istanbul’s grandest sites to its deepest tunnels, Dennis Staginnus has created a fast and furious thrill ride in this sequel to The Eye of Odin.

Review:
Dennis Staginnus’ Raiders of Folklore series just keeps getting better. I enjoyed his first book, The Eye of Odin, but this second installment is even better.
The Emerald Dagger had me hooked right from the first pages and kept me turning the pages to see what’s going to happen next. There is never a dull moment. And the story has mythological elements, something which I love.
The main characters, Grayle and Sarah, really start to come into their own in this book as we learn more about them and their motives for getting the Eye of Odin. The stakes just keep getting higher and more personal which makes the reader want them to succeed even more.
This is a great middle grade/early young adult book, especially for readers who like lots of action and adventure.
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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Review:
I was so excited to get this book when it came out and I wanted to love it so much, but I have to say I didn’t. I didn’t exactly hate it either because it was missing that Harry Potter magic that we’ve all come to expect from this series.
It was fun to delve into a play, something I hadn’t done in quite awhile, which also made it a quick read. I enjoyed visualizing what the scenes would look like on the stage — and according to the stage directions, the play must be spectacular.
But I did find the story lacking. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the whole story was missing a major villain, someone the reader could really hate, someone along the lines of Voldemort. There was an antagonist, but they just didn’t seem evil enough for the Harry Potter universe.
The other strange thing was the lack of magic.
Also, I wasn’t thrilled with the relationship between Harry and his son. It just felt wrong. Harry knew what it was like not to fit in and be bullied and yet he seemed to have very little sympathy for his own son.
My favourite characters in the story, by far, is Draco Malfoy, followed closely by Ron Weasley.
Overall, I did enjoy The Cursed Child, but found it lacking at the same time.

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Book Review: The Name of the Wind

name of the windThe Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1)

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Review:
 I can see why so many people love this book. When I heard about it recently, I tried to take it out of the library, but the waiting list was months, if not over a year long. Then a friend lent me a copy and I dove into his huge volume.
And it was so much fun.
The Name of the Wind is the first day of Kvothe telling the story of his life. We get to hear all about his childhood and young adult years — his adventures and and glimmerings into background for some of his famous and infamous deeds.
Kvothe’s world is one of magic and fantasy, and where the harsh realities of a young boy on his own tug at our heartstrings. I immediately loved Kvothe and his mysterious character.
Then, there is Rothfuss’ writing. He has an amazing way with words. I also found it somewhat ironic that he could succinctly and vividly describe things in a few words, yet this is such a long book.
I’d easily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an action packed fantasy, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Book 2 to see where the adventure leads.

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