Tag Archives: Fantasy

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two: The Official Playscript of the Original West End Production (Harry Potter Officl Playscript)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two: The Official Playscript of the Original West End Production by John Tiffany

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Through his first few school years placed in Slytherin house at Hogwarts, we follow young Albus Severus Potter, son of Harry and Ginny. Harry Potter is now a Minster of Magic, and has trouble connecting to his son on a personal level. Albus, being the son of such a famous Wizard is unhappy; discontent with who he is and his family’s history. He befriends Scorpius Malfoy, and together they go about (indirectly) proving that a name and school house don’t necessarily dictate who you really are.
Along with the help (and hindrance) from a few other characters, Albus tries to right a wrong in the past which he thinks will help make the future better – the ramifications of which, of course, go way beyond anything he could have imagined.

Ultimately a stand-alone story, which gives some new perspectives on previously seen and read situations, but don’t ultimately affect or interfere with the overall narrative of the Harry Potter books, or movies.

Written, as explained on the cover, as a play script, the action is primarily delivered through dialogue and set directions. The world building in a play script is always bare-bones, in order for the director to utilise their own vision for the production itself.

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The Vagrant by Peter Newman


The Vagrant (The Vagrant, #1)The Vagrant by Peter Newman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this book because of the intriguing main characters, and the fantasy setting. Stay with it because of the GOAT! That’s a farm animal with one hell of a survival instinct!

The Vagrant has no name, and he never speaks. His only purpose initially is to keep his ward alive, a young baby, hidden within his cloak. He has come into possession of a mystical sword, and it is this item which drags him into the plot of the novel, somewhat reluctantly. Since an invasion by an infectious entity (or two) from the underworld, the human inhabitants struggle to survive in this new reformed world. Many humans and creatures have become infected with mutations, or are mind-controlled by the entities as they spread their influence and corruption. The invasion is described in flashback passages whilst the current narrative continues.

I’ve not read pure fantasy in a while, and it took me some effort to conjure the setting, characters, and entities in my mind. These types of books are very good for exercising your visual memory and imagination. If you don’t have a particularly “visual-brain” then fantasy can be tricky to follow. I’ve certainly got to be in the right mindset to begin with, when starting one of these novels. But they’re usually worth the effort!

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How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman


How the Marquis Got His Coat Back
How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short novella. Story wise, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Minor spoilers in the review below. You do need to have read Neverwhere before reading this follow on, as it happens concurrent to the events in that book.

The Marquis, during the plot of Neverwhere, is relieved of his precious coat. Croup and Vandemar essentially kill our Marquis, and dispose of his body. Luckily, the Marquis had a back up plan, and he can therefore continue in his quest and get his coat back! And also, eventually return to his responsibilities in the main story of Neverwhere.

A very enjoyable reminder of the world of London Below, the sewer people, the rat people, and all of the other varied inhabitants of that other world.

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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman


Neverwhere
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Neil Gaiman writes as though he’s telling a child’s fairy tale. No matter how grotesque or violent the events depicted within the story are, the language used seems to make it seem (almost) OK. I suppose actually the original old fairy tales were actually quite nasty before Disney started making sanitised versions!

Richard Mayhew stops to help an injured girl on the street of London, but she’s not from London Above, she’s from London Below. When you’ve been exposed to London Below, the people from Above don’t even notice you, let alone recognise you; you’ve slipped through the cracks, and fall down into the underside of the city. A place where you might actually meet the Earl of Earl’s Court, the Blackfriars, and maybe even the Angel Islington. The girl, Door, is on the run from a variety of unsavoury characters, in particular Mr Croup and Mr Vandermar, the assassins who murdered her family. But why? And who is their employer? Richard tags along with Door, the Marquis de Carabas, and a whole host of colourful characters, in the hope that he can find a way to get back to his old life.

Having previously heard the BBC Radio 4 production of this book, I’ve wanted to properly read this for ages. The radio play did a really good job adapting this book, and both the written and audio versions work really well. Very little was left out of the radio adaptation, and yet the book still is full of detail that can only be hinted at through other formats. It’s a gripping narrative, and showcases all of London, at it’s best and worst. One of Neil Gaiman’s best (and they’re all good!).

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The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman


The Masked City
The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second in the Invisible Library series begins by finding Irene and Kai on a fairly stable assignment in an alternate London, the one that is home to the Sherlock Holmes facsimile Peregrine Vale, their friend and colleague. Kai is kidnapped and taken to a different alternate, of which there are an indefinite number, it is up to Irene to unravel the mystery of who or what has taken her partner. Kai, hails from a Royal family of Dragons, though they are not always in their scaly form. Dragons are one of two extreme form of being in this universe, they focus on order, whereas at the other end of the spectrum the Fae promote chaos. Irene, as a representative of The Library which bridges all of the various alternates is supposed to primarily keep the balance between these two sides.

Irene must work out how to get Kai back, who she can and cannot trust in an alternate filled with magic and rigid class structures. Will the Library even allow her to go and rescue him? What will become of her life and work if she disobeys the rules?

Quite an easy and enjoyable read, the story flows well, and the mystery is generally focused on how Irene is to get Kai back, rather than who took him and why, which is described early on. Irene’s use of the language which allows her to manipulate the physical world around her, is a useful skill to have, particularly as most of the scraps that she finds herself in are solved, or removed with a few simple words. This takes an effort on Irene’s part, although it never felt as though she was ever going to run out of steam during this particular plot.

If you’re looking for something of a fantastical pulpy mystery, then this series has you covered.

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