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The Bookish Owl – Nation by Terry Pratchett

Nation by Terry Pratchett

We’re back with a familiar author on this blog, seeing as today’s book is Nation by Terry Pratchett.

I’ll admit that this book wasn’t quite what I expected. I felt like reading something funny, so of course I went with a Pratchett book, but ‘Nation’ starts out with the main character surviving the tsunami that wipes out his entire village and he then has to bury everyone he’s ever known and loved in the sea.

So, yeah… Funny.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book. It is very deep and enjoyable, and not as dark as the beginning leads you to believe. It was, however, not quite the right book to pick when you needed a laugh. It still has a lot of Pratchett’s usual wit to lighten the dark themes, but it’s still more serious than his other books.


Nation
by Terry Pratchett

Finding himself alone on a desert island when everything and everyone he knows and loved has been washed away in a huge storm, Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He’s also completely alone – or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird and gives him a stick which can make fire.

Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She’s certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, all she has for company is the boy and the foul-mouthed ship’s parrot.

As it happens, they are not alone for long. Other survivors start to arrive to take refuge on the island they all call the Nation and then raiders accompanied by murderous mutineers from the Sweet Judy. Together, Mau and Daphne discover some remarkable things – including how to milk a pig and why spitting in beer is a good thing – and start to forge a new Nation.


Nation by Terry Pratchett

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The Bookish Owl – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Owl

Hoot, hoot! All aboard for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling!

I might be a little sleep-deprived…

But I must say I enjoyed rereading the Harry Potter books as an adult. Like most readers my age, these books were a huge part of my childhood and all the way through my later life (every twenty-something knows what Hogwarts house they belong in), but there are so many small details you only truly appreciate upon rereading them after almost a decade of obsessing over the story and the world.

Yet, somehow, I haven’t completely learned my lesson. Even with everything I know about him, I still got all emotional during the scene with Dumbledore’s funeral and had to repeat “He’s an asshole, he’s an asshole, he’s an asshole” in my head, so I wouldn’t start getting teary-eyed…

At least he’s being all flashy and badass on the cover. My Danish edition shows the same scene, just 5 minutes earlier, where the Inferi is crawling toward Harry kneeling by the water, and that cover art almost struck me as rather nightmare-inducing. Yet I still had a poster with it on the wall of my bedroom for years, so it was the last thing I saw every night before I closed my eyes.

No wonder I have suffered from insomnia ever since my early teens.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by J. K. Rowling

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even the Muggles have been affected. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet . . . as with all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Harry receives some extraordinary help in Potions from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. And with Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thus finds what may be his only vulnerability.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Owl

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The Bookish Owl – Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Today’s book is Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce.

This is the last book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, and honestly, I found it a little disappointing. There was so much potential in the plot with Duke Roger and his schemes, but so little of the book was dedicated to that part, and in the end it fell flat. But if it hadn’t been so rushed, I would have really enjoyed it.

However I would still recommend the series as a whole to anyone who wants some lightweight YA fantasy with an independent and relatable female protagonist. Each book is a nice bite-sized length and contains several great characters.

Still not sure how I feel about the magic cat, though…


Lioness Rampant
by Tamora Pierce

Having achieved her dream of becoming the first female knight errant, Alanna of Trebond is not sure what to do next. She has triumphed in countless bloody battles, and her adventures are already legendary. Perhaps being a knight errant is not all that Alanna needs…but Alanna must push her uncertainty aside when she is challenged with the impossible. She must recover the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem with enormous power for good—but only in the right hands. And she must work fast. Tortall is in terrible danger from all directions, with enemies great and small plotting to destroy everyone and everything Alanna loves.


Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

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The Bookish Owl – King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Another day, another pretty book: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo.

This book is part of the Grishaverse, of which I thoroughly enjoyed the original trilogy. ‘King of Scars’ focuses on some of the supporting characters from the Shadow and Bone trilogy and it was really interesting to get a look inside their heads. Zoya, who was a total bitch in the original trilogy, ended up being my favorite. Mind you, she’s still a total bitch, but when you get to see more of her character you start to understand why. Besides, she’s a bitch who fights so very hard to protect her country and those under her command, and that makes her a likable bitch.

Of course there’s also Nikolai, the dashing Prince-turned-Pirate-turned-Prince-turned-Monster-turned-King. For once he got outshined by other characters, but to be fair to him he was dealing with turning into a monster at night and attacking livestock…

I had not expected this book to be part of a duology, so now I’m rather miffed that I have to wait for the next book. I’m off to sulk.


King of Scars
by Leigh Bardugo

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.


King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

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The Bookish Owl – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

We’re back in owl territory with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling.

Of course every book is owl territory when I’m involved, but I have to say something in these posts, right?

By the way, this is not the book to be reading after dropping your owl off for surgery. It is not an effective way of distracting yourself. Big spoiler alert, but there’s a lot of owls in this book, y’all.

All kidding aside, I had forgotten how creepy the scenes in the Department of Mysteries were, what with brains floating in water tanks and that horrifying scene with the Death Eater with the baby head. Remember, this is a series of kids’ books. I might have been a messed-up kid (when you got a 5 years older brother, you see a lot of horror movies and kill a lot of hookers in GTA), but it’s still a wonder I didn’t have nightmares about this.

But all that stuff isn’t what people remember about The Order of the Phoenix, is it?

They remember Umbridge.

I was prepared for Umbridge, because she’s so utterly awful that she’s edged into your childhood memory. But really, she’s not as awful as she seemed as a kid. Honestly, she’s just a more extreme version of the type of person you have to deal with in your adult life. We have all had a boss or a manager with a ruthless streak and a near sociopathic way of dealing with people, right? If you haven’t, just turn on the news and watch the political leaders of the world for a bit. That should do it. It’s hard to be amazed by how far the Ministry of Magic is willing to go once you have dealt with today’s political scene for a few years.

This got surprisingly deep, so let’s get back to my usual brand of enthusiastic rambling:

McGonagall.

Professor McGonagall was the MVP of this book and every scene with her is amazing. I would give my left foot to read a series that’s just about her dealing with students and other everyday problems at Hogwarts.

(I had already written this before I realized Artemis no longer has his left foot in the photo below – I swear its unrelated and that he’s not the victim of me making some shady deal with Rowling!)


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J. K. Rowling

Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors’ attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord’s return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces. Harry must allow Professor Snape to teach him how to protect himself from Voldemort’s savage assaults on his mind. But they are growing stronger by the day and Harry is running out of time.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix