July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling
Rating: 4 3/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

The last of the Harry Potter series, the seventh book, was not what I expected it to be like, and for that, I think it is one of the best of the series (although Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favorite). Except for a somewhat slow portion in the middle, the book is nonstop action and full to bursting with information we need to follow the plot and wrap up our time in Harry's world. We pick up the story fairly close to where we left off. The magical protection of staying at the Dursley's ends with Harry turning 17, so the Order of the Phoenix is taking the Dursleys into hiding as well as Harry. But things go wrong from the get-go. And keep going wrong, as Voldemort and his Death Eaters are concentrating on finding Harry and don't care who they kill to do it. So Harry, Hermione and Ron are on the run, trying to puzzle out where to search for horcruxes (and destroy them) as well as figure out the meaning to the objects that Dumbledore left to them in his will. The horcrux search is nearly derailed by a new quest for the Deathly Hallows, 3 magical items from a fairy tale which may prove to be extremely important or a wild goose chase. There are many risky plans and lucky escapes as Harry struggles to meet his destiny. Although there are many doubts about what he is doing and hitches in the plans, Harry, Ron and Hermione fight their way towards the ultimate showdown between Harry and Voldemort. Hogwarts will host the final battle between Death Eaters and the good guys, and not all of the good guys will make it out alive. We discover the pasts of both Dumbledore and Snape, and did I mention the ultimate importance of the Deathly Hallows? Any which way you look at it, this book is a nail biter, nearly impossible to put down, as fans will be looking to see if the theories and rumors are true or proved false. There is always a sense of disappointment when a series ends, and readers will miss the anticipation of new Harry Potter stories, but overall, they should be satisfied by the conclusion to the series. Bravo!

July 16, 2007


By Angie Sage
Rating: 4 1/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

This is book 3 in the Septimus Heap series. Sage continues her lighthearted wizarding series with a stronger entry than the last one, Flyte (see review, October 2006). Newcomers will definitely need to have read the first couple of books to follow this new storyline. Septimus' father, Silas Heap, unseals a room in the attic of the palace and unleashes the ghost of Etheldredda--a horrible queen from 500 years ago. Etheldredda plots to take her queenship back up, but to do so, must dispose of both Jenna, the current princess, and Septimus Heap, the apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary Wizard. Both Jenna and Septimus (as well as Nicko and a newcomer named Snorri) will find themselves victims of Etheldredda's plot and be sent back 500 years into the past. Sideplots which weave into the main story include the dragon named Spit Fyre, Snorri the Northern trader and spirit-seer, Marcellus Pye and his experiments with "physik" (which involves medicine and chemistry), and a mysterious illness plaguing the town. The series continues to add some layers to its characters, insert humorous incidents, and bring the overall storyline a little further along. Fans will be happy to see Silas and Sarah Heap, Lucy Gringe, Stanley the message rat, Wolf Boy, Beetle, and other favorites. The plot moves well and wraps up the main points, but leaves us hanging for the next installment, for there is unfinished business involving Marcellus Pye, Snorri and Nicko. Overall, a solid entry in this enjoyable series.