Sunday, December 31, 2017

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This book was pretty good. Here's the song portion for this one:

Harry gets put in the Triwizard Tournament
With dragons, and mermaids
Oh no! Edward Cullen [Cedric Diggory] gets slayed 
He's back [Voldemort]

Harry had a big argument with Ron when Moody (who we later find out was actually Crouch junior) put Harry's name into the goblet of fire so he would be in the Triwizard tournament. At the time, many had thought Harry managed to put his name in there, but Harry told him he didn't know how he got nominated. Voldemort did all this just to get Harry's blood in the end and try to kill him, but I think it was way over complicated. Here was the plan from Crouch, Pettigrew, and Voldemort.

  1. Break into Moody's house
  2. Trap Moody in a magical drawer for an entire school year
  3. Make polyjuice potion constantly so Crouch can look like Moody
  4. Put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire
  5. Teach classes all year (nobody even noticed he was teaching everyone illegal curses, or if they did they didn't stop it)
  6. Make sure Harry knows about the dragons
  7. Make sure Harry eats gillyweed and survives the underwater challenge
  8. Turn the trophy into a portkey that will take Harry to Voldemort and Pettigrew
  9. Make sure Harry gets to the portkey first so you have to take out every person and make sure Harry doesn't run into any monsters
  10. Harry gets to Voldemort
  11. Tie him to a grave
  12. Take his blood
  13. Battle him
  14. Lose (this wasn't part of the plan)
I mean, Voldemort could have come back to life with anyone else's blood (who was an enemy) but he wanted Harry's because it would make him stronger than regular blood. That kind of makes sense. However, fake Moody was around Harry all year. Couldn't Moody have just turned something in his office into a portkey and make Harry touch it? Unless Voldemort wasn't strong enough. Still, he could have done something right after the competition. That way there wouldn't be a ton of people watching, he could make it look like an accident or play innocent, and they wouldn't know a thing. Plus, when Harry returned from battling, he would still be trapped in Moody's office. That plan just makes a lot more sense than this complicated mess. 

Everyone starts going into action after this, but it turns out decent in the end, and Rita Skeeter, who ruined so many reputations, is trapped by Hermione because she is a beetle animals, and is basically blackmailed by Hermione. Ta Da! This is the last book of 2017 that I read. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Lupin was the teacher. Peter Pettigrew was caught and then uncaught. Lupin was a werewolf. They go back in time to save Sirius and to save Buckbeak. Harry finds out that Sirius was his godfather. Harry blew up Aunt Marge after getting angry. The dementors come and make Harry pass out. He finds out more about his father's friend and his father's childhood. Everybody thought Sirius was evil but he's not. Ron had broken his leg after being pulled in by Sirius. Snape was trying extra hard to get Sirius killed because he didn't like him. Everyone thought the trio was being brainwashed. Good book. Also very good plot. They go to Hogsmeade. He finds out about how "SIRIUS" betrayed his father but it was really Pettigrew. He meets Trewlaney. She's kind of annoying. He goes on the nightbus.

Briar Rose

The book is Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. The climax of the novel is either when Potocki finishes telling the story about her grandmother. The major and minor conflicts are solved by finding out the information. Near the end, Becca solves her conflict of not knowing her grandmother’s past by learning her story from a man in Poland. She also solves her conflict of not knowing if Stan likes her by flirting with him, and then having him kiss her. The most major thing that helped to resolve the plot was the story. Throughout the novel, all Becca wants to do is find the story of her grandmother’s past. Before her grandmother, Gemma, died, Becca had promised her she would find her “castle” and her “prince.” In the end, Becca found the “castle” which was a big grave for all of the dead, exterminated people. The main message of the novel may have been to not give up, as Becca persistently tried to find her grandmother’s story although her sisters discouraged her, and the journey wasn’t easy. However, I feel as though the theme is about how we all have a calling to know the stories of our own grandparents, and their ancestors, and their history. Several times Becca and Stan had a conversation about why they had such an urge to find these stories (Becca wanted to find Gemma’s story and Stan had a desire to find his true birth mother). After Stan found his birth mother, he didn’t even really feel like he wanted to stay around her. They were out of each other’s lives and he discovered his ancestry simply because he felt he had to do so. So I believe one of the themes of this story was how most of us have at least a little curiosity as to where we came from. This novel is very realistic. It is a realistic fiction Holocaust story. In it, Becca is trying to find the story of where Gemma came from. Later on, she gets this story from a man named Josef Potocki in Poland, who tells the story of how he and his fellow partisans saved her from Chelmno, a place where they sent dead people from Holocaust camps. At the end, there is a disclaimer from the author saying that she doesn’t know any woman who had been found alive in Chelmno, and that her book is fictional. I, however, almost have a hard time believing that it wasn’t a true story. Jane Yolen crafted this novel so well that it almost seems like a true Holocaust survivor story. It was absolutely beautiful and it had so much emotion in it for someone who didn’t even go through the Holocaust herself. Of course, she can’t put as much of that raw emotion into it since it wasn’t a personal experience but it wasn’t that far off either. All in all, I think this was a beautifully made book. However, I didn’t think that at all until I got to the part where Potocki began telling the story. For a large portion of the book, the pace is so slow. It’s all about Becca’s struggles trying to find the story, and while interesting, lacks action. For about half of the book, the scenes consist of her pouring over photographs and old things that Gemma had kept. The only interesting parts were the two-page intermissions where Gemma was telling the story. These intermissions were there to tell us Gemma’s story bit by bit. At the end of the novel, the story was completed and all the questions were answered. However, until we met Potocki the novel was very slow. There were hardly any answers. Although, this may have been a good decision on Yolen’s part, as it portrayed real life. Not everyone finds the answers right away or in conveniently placed increments, and so the revealing of the story at the end was well-timed, as long as the audience didn’t stop reading the book first. To correct my statement, the Holocaust portion of the story was not the only interesting part. Not long before that, it picked up a bit when she went to Poland, and met Magda, one of my favorite characters. I would definitely recommend this book to someone else. Although it had it’s flaws, it redeemed itself in the end, and Yolen proved herself to be an amazing author.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This book was really good. It is also Daniel Radcliffe's favorite book. It's one of my favorite plots as well. This is how it goes, in the song, and then the plot.

Ron breaks his wand
Now Ginny's gone
And Harry's in moral danger
Tom Riddle hides a snake inside
His gigantic secret chamber

In this one, Ginny finds Tom Riddle's Journal, which she thought was normal (nobody thought to warn them bout any of this?) and talks to it. He draws her into the Chamber of Secrets that wants to get rid of all mud bloods. Ron breaks his wand. They get locked out of the platform by Dobby and have to take the flying car. They get in trouble and get hit by the whomping willow. Harry has to fight a giant snake and Hermione is paralyzed by the basilisk. She temporarily turned into stone because she did not see him all the way but Myrtle was killed that way many years ago. Harry frees Dobby by the end, and Tom Riddle's journal is destroyed therefore destroying Tom Riddle (who was just a memory by the journal's magic). Gilderoy Lockhart was the teacher, but he lost his memory by trying to erase the memory of the other kids and some people found out he was a fraud. He was fired.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I was a little late jumping on the Harry Potter train, but I don't regret it. I feel like because I'm older now, I can fully appreciate the series for the literary beauty that it is. These books are by J.K. Rowling, and this is the plot of the first book.

Harry is a boy who was the only one to survive the Avada Kedavra curse. After being slightly socially abused by his uncle, aunt, and cousin, the Dursley's. He discovers that his parents were never killed by a car crash, but rather by a powerful evil wizard, who Harry diminished to almost nothing when he was just a child. Hagrid shows up and tells Harry that he is a wizard. Harry fights a giant mountain troll with Ron and Hermione and is nervous when he goes on the platform for the first time.  He wasn't friends with Hermione at first and Ron hated her, but now they were all friends. They also help Hagrid hide a dragon on Hogwarts grounds, but they have to let him go escape to Charlie, Ron's brother, who is a dragon person. That is basically this whole book it's kind of self-explanatory. Wait! Also there was the sorcerer's stone that Voldemort was trying to get by means of the back of Quirrel's head. He was attacked. Harry passes out, and the sorcerer's stone was destroyed by Dumbledore.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Sister's Grimm: The Unusual Suspects

This is the second book in Michael Buckley's series. In this one, we get to know the character Puck a bit more. Now that the girls finally have a foster family, they get to go to a school on a steady basis. Daphne is excited, because she gets to have Snow White for a teacher! However, Sabrina is much less excited, because school is school, and school in this town is horrible.
The teachers are super mean (except for Snow White, because she's awesome, but I think she's only a second grade teacher). The kids are mean and tired on top of it. When the girls stumble upon Sabrina's teacher's room (Mr. Grumpner) and finds that he has been killed, and wrapped in spiderwebs, they know something is going on.
There is another mystery brewing for the Grimms to solve. There are more deaths and this book is slightly gruesome as others are attacked and killed. They find out that the principle, monstrous students at the school, and Rumplestilskin have all been doing something horrible. Rumplestiltskin has been working with the Principle to use his instrument to hypnotize the kids into digging a giant tunnel under the force field and out of the town (it is protected by magic to prevent people from escaping).
Now the Principle's son has been affected, and he doesn't want to be a part of this anymore. Sabrina was hypnotized, but is broken out of it by the principle (the pied piper) and she runs off to save everyone. They are all spiderwebbed and stuck to the ceiling. They get caved into one of the sections of the tunnel.
Sabrina tries to free everyone, but Wendel, the principle's son, is almost killed. He is revived, but it was close. Sabrina was given magic matchsticks that can take her anywhere she wants to go. She only has about three, but they use one to get out of the cave, and leave Mr. Canis, who has turned into his wolf form, to fight Rumplestilskin. The monster kids are unconscious and they have been trained by Rumplestilskin to be murderous. They are returned to their original parents: Beauty and the Beast, The spider and Little Ms. Muffet, and the Princess and the Frog. They had been tricked by Rumplestilskin into giving up their children many years ago.
Everyone is worried about Mr. Canis when the tunnels cave in. He returns later on, but not until the next book. Sabrina thinks this is all her fault. She uses the last match to find her missing parents, who have been held captive by a mysterious group called the Red Hand. She finds that a young girl (Little Red Riding Hood) who is delirious has been keeping them there under a sleeping spell, and that she also has a dragon for a pet (the Jabberwocky) who sets the building on fire. The girl runs away with Sabrina's parents. Puck comes in to the closing portal to save Sabrina. The little girl still wants Mr. Canis for a dog, and Grandmother Relda for a grandmother. She will return!
The book ends with the house burning down around them.

The Sister's Grimm: The Fairytale Detectives

This is the first book of many in one of my favorite childhood series: The Sister's Grimm by Michael Buckley. The books are decent. I mostly like them because I can recall the moments I read certain events in the story when I was younger, and because the humor is so young and stereotypical that it's funny. Here is the plot:

Two young girls whose parents mysteriously disappeared not long ago have been taken from house to horrible house, where they have been mistreated by their foster parents. They had no other living family, so they find that they might be thrown around until they can find a proper foster family. When one woman claims to be their grandmother, Sabrina, the oldest sister, thinks that this is it for them. They have no living relatives. She must be a fraud! The woman feeds them strange food and tells them that everyone in the town is a fairytale character.
Daphne falls in love with the dog, the grandma, and her helper, Mr. Canis. Daphne doesn't want to leave. Sabrina, however, is determined that their so-called grandmother is a fake, and that they must escape as soon as possible. This lands them in some trouble. As they try to escape for the first time, they run into a winged boy who lives in the forest, and they are attacked by pixies. They are saved, and Sabrina starts to see that they weren't lying.
When a farmer's plants are mysteriously attacked, and squashed, Sabrina, Daphne, and the others must solve the mystery. They have become detectives along with their grandmother. They are the only regular humans in the whole town who know what is actually going on.
When Mr. Canis and Grandmother Relda are taken captive by a rampaging giant, it is up to Sabrina, Daphne, and Puck (the winged boy) to save them. Will they make it? (Obviously they do, because kids wouldn't be happy with an artistically unfinished novel).