Tag Archives: Illustrated

A History of Magic by J.K. Rowling

Overview
Image result for harry potter a history of magic book cover

Title: Harry Potter: A History of Magic
Author: J.K. Rowling & Others
Series: Harry Potter Illustrated Editions Companion
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Illustrated, Urban fantasy, Witches
Dates read: 19th November 2018 – 2nd January 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Harry, Ron and Hermione left the castle together, crossed the vegetable patch and made for the greenhouses, where the magical plants were kept.

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Synopsis

Harry Potter: A History of Magic is the official book of the exhibition, a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling and the brilliant curators of the British Library. It promises to take readers on a fascinating journey through the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – from Alchemy and Potions classes through to Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures. Each chapter showcases a treasure trove of artefacts from the British Library and other collections around the world, beside exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive. There’s also a specially commissioned essay for each subject area by an expert, writer or cultural commentator, inspired by the contents of the exhibition – absorbing, insightful and unexpected contributions from Steve Backshall, the Reverend Richard Coles, Owen Davies, Julia Eccleshare, Roger Highfield, Steve Kloves, Lucy Mangan, Anna Pavord and Tim Peake, who offer a personal perspective on their magical theme. Readers will be able to pore over ancient spell books, amazing illuminated scrolls that reveal the secret of the Elixir of Life, vials of dragon’s blood, mandrake roots, painted centaurs and a genuine witch’s broomstick, in a book that shows J.K. Rowling’s magical inventions alongside their cultural and historical forebears. This is the ultimate gift for Harry Potter fans, curious minds, big imaginations, bibliophiles and readers around the world who missed out on the chance to see the exhibition in person.

Thoughts

I bought this because my sister wanted it and it had something to do with Harry Potter. Mostly because it had something to do with Harry Potter… I have a sickness.

And I’m really glad that I did. This was an incredibly interesting and engaging alternate look into the world-famous world created by J.K. Rowling. And as someone who couldn’t get to this great exhibit in England (you know, being that I’m in Australia and all), it was a great way to imagine really being there.

I love the intertwining of history and fantasy in anything that I read. The modern day with ancient mythologies. So the idea of a book all about these combinations and a world that I am more than a little obsessed with… it worked perfectly for my happy, geeky little brain.

 <- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ReviewThe Tales of Beedle the Bard Review ->
Image source: Bloomsbury

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay

Overview
Image result for the chamber of secrets limited edition illustrated book cover

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition
Author: J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay
Series: Harry Potter Illustrated Editions
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Illustrated, Urban fantasy, Witches
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Completely nonplussed, Harry said nothing.

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Synopsis

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling full-colour illustrations in this stunning new collector’s edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. With paint, pencil and pixels, Kay conjures the wizarding world as we have never seen it before. Breathtaking scenes, dark themes and unforgettable characters – including Dobby and Gilderoy Lockhart – await inside as Harry and his friends, now in their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, seek out a legendary chamber and the deadly secret that lies at its heart .

This beautiful, deluxe edition features an opulent page size and an exclusive pull-out double gatefold; intricate foiled line art by Jim Kay on the real cloth cover and slipcase; gilt edges on premium grade paper; head and tail bands and two ribbon markers – the ultimate must-have edition for any Potter fan, collector or bibliophile.

Thoughts

I don’t need to harp on about the beauty of the Harry Potter series – I’ve done that elsewhere, and, quite frankly – we all know. But reading the absolutely gorgeous illustrated edition of The Chamber of Secrets and having the ability to submerse myself in Kay’s beautiful reimaginings… it just added an extra level of amazingness to the entire franchise.

There was a slightly darker patina to the images in the second illustrated Harry Potter – which works, because this is a slightly darker storyline. Although, one of the things I love most about these illustrated versions is the fact that I can use them to show my partner (who doesn’t read) the beauty of the written world… much much much better than that of movies…

 <- The Philosopher’s Stone ReviewThe Prisoner of Azkaban Review ->
Image source: Bookdepository

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling & Olivia Lomenech Gill

Overview
Image result for fantastic beasts illustrated limited edition book cover

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Author: J.K. Rowling & Olivia Lomenech Gill
Series: Harry Potter Illustrated Editions
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: IllustratedUrban fantasy, Witches
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Many a Muggle child has been accused of vandalism when an offended Knarl was the real culprit.

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Synopsis

Famed Magizoologist Newt Scamander’s years of adventure and exploration have yielded a work of unparalleled importance, admired by scholars, devoured by young witches and wizards, and even made available to Muggles in the early years of this century. With this dazzling illustrated edition, readers can explore the magical fauna of five continents from the comfort of their own armchairs. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is essential reading at Hogwarts.

This new edition features the fully updated 2017 text includes new profiles of six magnificent beasts that inhabit North America and a new foreword by J.K. Rowling, writing as Newt Scamander.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed the first reading of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So I was super, amazingly, ridiculously excited to read the illustrated and expanded edition. Actually, I was incredibly disappointed to finish this story. It was just so damn good.

I always enjoy companions and partners to series that I’m obsessed with. This is no different. But the amazing images by Olivia Gill… they just add an extra layer of… well… obsession to this. The images alone in this book would make me want to flick through it again and again and again. But, partnered with the realistic wording and creation of a whole new world.

This was my quiet, easy, late night read with a cup of tea. It has that sense of wonder and awe that I find with every Harry Potter book, but the illustrations add an extra sense of waboom. Incredibly disappointed that I had to finish this, and it didn’t continue on forever.

 <- The Prisoner of Azkaban ReviewA History of Magic Review ->
Image source: Amazon

When Water Sang Fire by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Image result for the language of thorns book cover

Title: When Water Sang Fire
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)
In: Grishaverse Companion
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Fantasy, Illustrated
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Imprint
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: The sands turned black and the waters froze and never warmed again, so now all the exist there are whaling villages and the few brave souls who can bear such empty places.

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Synopsis

In this retelling of the wicked witch from The Little Mermaid, Ulla is a poor girl with a beautiful voice. But tragedy is about to strike, and twist her into something a little more bitter.

Thoughts

Holy crap.

Holy crap.

Holy crap

This was not expected. And it took me way longer to realise how this related to The Little Mermaid than I would like. Especially since I’m an incredibly big fan of the story (both the Disney version and Hans Christian Anderson’s version).

This is a story of creation. Not of The Little Mermaid, but how the evil with (Ursula) came about. And now I’m completely on her side, and can’t believe that there was ever any doubt as to the validity of Ursula (or in this case Ulla’s) point of view…

I want to say all these amazing and meaningful things about this story. But honestly, my entire reaction to this is simply HOLY CRAP.

 <- The Soldier Prince ReviewShadow and Bone Review ->
Image source: The Grishaverse Wiki

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay

Overview
Image result for harry potter and the philosopher's stone illustrated limited edition book cover

Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay
Series: Harry Potter Illustrated Editions
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: IllustratedUrban fantasyWitches
Pace: Fast
Format: Illustrated Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Harry kept to his room, with his new owl for company.

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Synopsis

An utterly enchanting feast of a book, this stunning collector’s edition of the full-colour illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a volume to treasure for a lifetime. Brimming with rich detail and humour, Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters will captivate fans and new readers alike. In oil, pastel, pencil, watercolour, pixels and a myriad of other techniques, Jim Kay has created over 115 astonishing illustrations; there really is magic on every page.

This beautiful, deluxe edition of J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic features an opulent page size and an exclusive pull-out double gatefold of Diagon Alley; intricate foiled line art by Jim Kay on the real cloth cover and slipcase; gilt edges on premium grade paper; head and tail bands and two ribbon markers – the ultimate must-have edition for any fan, collector or bibliophile.

Thoughts

I was given this last Christmas from my partner. And although I’d flicked through it, I didn’t quite get the chance to actually read this until the other night. And man are Jim Kay’s illustrations damn amazing!

I didn’t really read this word for word – I skimmed the words and let the illustrations throughout tell their own story. Letting the images wash over me as I read a passage here and there bought back all the wonder of the first reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But something about somebody else’s imaginings took the story to a whole other level. One that I will be thinking about for a long time yet.

 <- The Tales of Beedle the Bard ReviewThe Chamber of Secrets Review ->
Image source: Bloomsbury

The Soldier Prince by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Image result for the language of thorns book cover

Title: The Soldier Prince
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)
In: Grishaverse Companion
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Fantasy, Illustrated
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Imprint
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: I want.

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Synopsis

A modern retake on the classic Nutcracker. A darker twist for a fairytale.

Thoughts

Something about The Nutcracker has always interested me. Or at least, something about it has drawn me in from the very beginning. So to read a short story, rewritten fairy tale that features the plotline of the nutcracker completely drew me in. The fact that it was kind of dark, and incredibly fun… just made it all that much more intriguing and engaging.

About halfway through this tale, I was kind of gunning for Clara and the Nutcracker. But then the discussion of an individuals’ wants and needs came into play, and I no longer wanted them to end up together. The story quickly stopped being about a romance between Clara and the Nutcracker, and something more. A tale of finding one’s own life and path. And maybe, just maybe, breaking free of a toxic past and toxic parents…

 <- Little Knife ReviewWhen Water Sang Fire Review ->
Image source: The Grishaverse Wiki

Little Knife by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Image result for little knife leigh bardugo book cover

Title: Little Knife
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)
In: Grishaverse Companion
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Fantasy, Illustrated
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Imprint
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: She was so beautiful, in fact, that the midwife attending her mother snatched up the wailing infant and locked herself in a linen closet, begging for just another moment to gaze upon Yeva’s face and refusing to relinquish the baby until the duke called for an axe to break down the door.

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Synopsis

In this third Ravkan folk tale from Leigh Bardugo, a beautiful girl finds that what her father wants for her and what she wants for herself are two different things.

It is a companion story to the third book of the Grisha Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, and the stories “The Witch of Duva” and “The Too-Clever Fox.”

Thoughts

I thought this was going to be very traditional-feeling. The overlooked suitor keeps on trying for the beautiful, rich bride. He gets help from an unpredictable source (in this case a river), and after completing task after task, he finally triumphs. That is until you remember that this is one of Bardugo’s fairy tales and they aren’t going to be like this at all.

One of my favourite recurring moments throughout is “it wouldn’t have happened if they just asked her what she wanted”. And it honestly reminded me of all the times that what I wanted / said / needed felt like it went ignored. And I remembered that most young women have probably felt the same – prized for their beauty / standing / whatever and had their wants and needs ignored. It was certainly the issue that I had in all of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales that I’ve read recently…

Little Knife is a wonderful story with (in my opinion) a happy ending. It is a great reminder that marriage, and social standing aren’t everything. It is about not taking things for granted, and not thinking that you own something just because it has helped you. Everything, everyone has a spirit and it is far better not to trap them… in case the worst should happen.

 <- The Witch of Duva ReviewThe Soldier Prince Review ->
Image source: Overdrive

The Witch of Duva by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Image result for the witch of duva leigh bardugo book cover

Title: The Witch of Duva
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)
In: Grishaverse Companion
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Fantasy, Illustrated
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Imprint
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: The trees are hungry tonight.

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Synopsis

There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls…or so the story goes. But it’s just possible that the danger may be a little bit closer to home. This story is a companion folk tale to Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel, Shadow and Bone.

Thoughts

I love the notes of a traditional fairy tale throughout this story. The idea of “don’t go into the woods”. Be careful of the wicked witch. A young girls’ life being turned upside down by the remarriage of her father (after the mother has passed away). But this is where many of the similarities end.

The Witch of Duva goes to show that sometimes the danger is actually a lot closer to home than we realise. That the big unknown isn’t actually what’s scary and dangerous. It turns the traditional tales and themes on their head. Nadya is sent off in to the woods to protect her. Her step mother acts the way she does for a completely unexpected reason.

Bardugo does an amazing job of rewriting fairy tales with a spin, that, at least for me, feels far more realistic than the traditional stories. And this tale tells us that it is often that which is close to home that is the more terrifying and dangerous…

 <- The Too-Clever Fox ReviewLittle Knife Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Ayama and the Thorn Wood by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Image result for the language of thorns book cover

Title: Ayama and the Thorn Wood
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)
In: Grishaverse Companion
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Fantasy, Illustrated
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Imprint
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: And what a brave girl to attempt such a task.

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Synopsis

Ayama’s sister is beautiful, and she is often forgotten. Until the day that the King needs a messenger to go and negotiate with his beast of a son… then her entire world is changed.

Thoughts

Most stories, fairy tales, really anything that I read features a pretty girl. She is gifted by grace, beauty, kindness, yadda, yadda, yadda. But not so with this reimagined fairy tale story. This is all about the ugly (and somewhat forgotten) ugly sister.

Ayama isn’t beautiful, her voice sounds horrible, and even her parents are kind of freaked out by her. She’s a lot more like everyone else in the world, and it’s kind of nice to read about someone who isn’t beautiful. But she does have all of the characteristics that I have become used to in a lead girl in a fairy tale. Ayama is kind, and humble. She has a strong moral and ethical compass. And she isn’t afraid to love. Everything that a young girl should actually aspire to be.

Although there is a major point throughout the story of the difference in perceptions and acceptance of siblings, this isn’t actually seen to cause a rift between the two siblings. The sisters still love each other and treat each other with respect, even when the parents are a little lacking in this. Normally I would expect a level of bitterness throughout, and it was incredibly refreshing to not come across this.

 <- The Language of Thorns ReviewThe Too-Clever Fox Review ->
Image source: The Grishaverse Wiki

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Image result for the language of thorns book cover

Title: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)
In: Grishaverse Companion
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Fantasy, Illustrated
Short story collections
Pace: Medium
Format: Collection
Publisher: Imprint
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: The bear craved jokes.

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Synopsis

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Thoughts

I found it almost impossible to put this damn book down. Which is a little problematic… since I have a whole heap of other productive things to do… the illustrations in this version just helped to make it ten thousand times more difficult to put down.

I’ve been on a bit of a fairytale binge lately. But there is always something that sits a little funny when I read the old school stories. They don’t really feature strong women, or women with any kind of power at all. Bardugo’s versions were completely different. They were dark and twisted. They featured women with power and independence.

One of the tales throughout this constantly says, it all would have been different if they’d just asked her what she wanted… and this works brilliantly as a theme throughout the entire collection.

The only disappointing thing about this novel was that it ended. I sat there staring into space for ages, wondering when I would next find such an amazing read… luckily there is a whole series to sink my teeth into now!

 <- King of Stars ReviewAyama and the Thorn Wood Review ->
Image source: The Grishaverse Wiki