Friday, May 21, 2010

REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

It is now year six at Hogwarts for Harry and his friends. Support for the evil Lord Voldemort is growing stronger by the day, many of his supporters, aka the Death Eaters, have managed to take control of key positions within the Ministry using the Imperius Curse, allowing them to control the other person without their knowledge or consent.

Back at Hogwarts, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore has decided to tutor Harry in preparation for his forthcoming battle with Lord Voldemort. Together they explore the memories of several people from the young Tom Riddle's past, including Dumbledore's himself. Dumbledore feels it's important for Harry to understand the past events which shaped Tom Riddle and how they forged his growth into Voldemort. He also feels these memories should help Harry track down the hidden Horcruxes in which Voldemort has stored pieces of his soul in order to render himself immortal. For in order for Voldemort to be completely destroyed, all of his hidden Horcruxes must be located and destroyed.

This being book six, and the second to last book in the series, it didn't contain nearly as much action as previous books and this was even more apparent in the movie version. Instead, it seemed to contain a lot of "back story", sort of like an appetizer before the main meal or the prep work prior to a big assignment. There was certainly a lot of useful information here however and I didn't like the book any less for it; it was very deep and insightful into what makes Voldemort tick. But unfortunately, much of that didn't transition well to the movie and many of the memories that Harry and Dumbledore explored in the Pensieve were left out completely. If I hadn't read the book prior to watching the movie, I'm sure I would've felt like I was missing a lot of the little nuances which pulled it all together.

Towards the end of the book, an extremely significant event occurs, the exact sequence of which makes a very big impact on events in the final book. I really don't know how to say much more without giving away a major plot point for people who haven't read this far (or saw the movie) yet, but suffice to say you're definitely left hanging on the edge of your seat at the end. Had I read this book immediately upon it's release without having the final book ready and waiting to dive into, I'm certain I'd have gone crazy waiting a year for the conclusion!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

REVIEW: Afraid by Jack Kilborn

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

A helicopter crash just outside the small town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin has unleashed a group of terrifying fighters on a mission. These top-notch special forces mercenaries have government training, a strong thirst for murder, and even stranger, brains that have actually been chemically altered to allow them to be controlled by outside influences. The mayhem they release on this small Wisconsin town is the stuff that nightmares are made of! Though this book may tend to get a bit gory at times, true lovers of the horror genre won't mind one bit as it only adds to the terror. What will happen in the end? Will anyone in town escape the hands of these madmen? Will the Red-ops team get what they came for?

Jack Kilborn is a pseudonym for author J.A. Konrath, known previously for his police thriller Jack Daniels Mystery series. Though this book is his first foray into the horror genre, it clearly shows that he's certainly no amateur when it comes to writing some well and scary horror!

BookCrossing journal page for this book