Growing up, The Prisoner of Azkaban was my least favourite Harry Potter book. It just seemed slightly slower and a little off-topic. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve finally gotten a good appreciation of how wonderful this story actually is. I love the character of Sirius and finally getting to meet him and watch the story of James Potter’s childhood unfold is really interesting. After reading the whole series numerous times, the set up in this story makes the rest of the series make so much more sense. The small pieces that seemed so insignificant when I was a child are actually what make the series so potent.
The Chamber of Secrets is one of my all-time favourite Harry Potter books (if I must pick a favourite that is). If I’m in the mood for a Harry Potter book and don’t feel like reading the whole series (since that can take a few months), it’s the second book that I tend to pick up.
I don’t think that you can say anything about a Harry Potter book these days that someone else hasn’t said. It is so ingrained into our culture and our minds, that I can’t even imagine a person who hasn’t read or at least heard of, the Harry Potter novels. It is certainly ingrained into my memory and childhood.
As usual, Mercedes Lackey managed to seriously surprise me with this story. Similar to The Last Herald Mage trilogy, I knew that Brightly Burning would be a tragic tale – it’s mentioned in some of the other Valdemar books. But, it still hooked me and took me on an amazing journey through Lavan’s short, and sad journey.
This book was such a unique experience for me – it was an engaging and insightful look into phenomenological ethnography. For those of you who don’t know (as I didn’t when I started reading this book), phenomenology is the different ways in which we view the world. Our phenomenological understandings of our realities are shaped by culture, personal experience and spiritual considerations, amongst other things. Ethnographies, of which I have read a few, are anthropological texts. Ethnographies involve the author immersing themselves into another’s culture and life. Here they participate and observe at the same time, at once part of the group and separate.
Riordan tried a new tack in this story – in that he split the storyline into two stories, running parallel in time. It effectively split the story into the well-known characters of Percy and Annabeth, and the new arrivals in the Percy-verse. This gave the story such a variety and flavour that it was hard not to continue to flip the pages late into the night.
For me, The Mark of Athena was Annabeth’s story. She first had to test her pride and courage in Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, but it was this journey that really tested all that she was. Not only was she forced to strike out on her own and rely completely on her own skills, but Annabeth had a huge choice to make. Honour her mother’s wishes or save the others (and in the meantime, the world).
The Son of Neptune introduces yet another one of my favourite characters from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Nico completely plucked at my heartstrings throughout his story and his inability to fit in (even with children who tend to be misfits) made me feel some kind of kinship with him. He is still very dark and unhappy and has a layer of mystery surrounding him – it’s hard to tell whether he is on the side of the heroes, or willing to let the world fall.
I loved delving into the world of Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase again. For someone with an obsession with reading, Greek mythology and fantasy, this series is definitely one that has me coming back again and again – so the expansion of the Percy Jackson verse was kind of exciting. Plus, it begins a journey that is way more intense and epic than Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
There are some moments that I’m sure I’ll always remember and treasure in my life – and snorkeling with the mating cuttlefish at Stony Point (near Whyalla, South Australia) has definitely made it onto that list. As a slightly obsessed nature buff, I have seen numerous documentaries that talk about this awesome phenomenon. Seeing it in person, was far more extraordinary than even these shows had led me to believe.