Harry Potter e-books Now Available

Rejoice Harry Potter fans. Your favorite book series is now available for your reading pleasure as e-books, which work on any device you own: iPad, iPhone, Kindle, etc….

The news was announced via Pottermore after many surveys for the website’s users asking them about their opinion regarding Harry Potter e-books.
The first three Harry Potter books: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets & Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are priced at $7.96 each. The subsequent four installments: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are priced at $11.15 each.

The whole collection can be purchased at a 10% introductory discount for $61.65 from the Pottermore shop.

You can also get the books from Amazon for $7.99 for the first three and $9.99 for the rest, but not from Apple’s iBookstore. They probably couldn’t reach a deal with J.K. Rowling regarding shares.

Why is buying the series as soft copies a good idea?
I was the most skeptical about e-books. But when I started reading on my iPad, I found out the experience to be as engaging, if not more, than reading on paper. You can highlight sentences you like, bookmark pages and passages – you can really make the book your own, which is something that I don’t like to do with a paper copy, wanting to keep it in a pristine condition.

At a time when e-books are on the rise, Harry Potter is now catering to the growing market: he future of reading is in soft copies that can be downloaded to your personal device in less than a minute. Those who haven’t read the books, this is your chance to hop on the bandwagon of this cultural phenomenon. You won’t be disappointed.
For those who have read the books, perhaps coughing up $60 for the books is a little unnecessary at this time, but if you feel like you need to own a soft copy of them, then why not, I guess?

The Hunger Games (Book Review) – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It is already a top seller and will soon be released as a motion picture, being one of 2012’s most anticipated releases.

The Hunger Games takes place in the nation of Panem, in a post-apocalyptic United States. The state is divided into twelve districts, each of which is specialized in a trade, all centered around the Capitol. Each year, the Capitol holds The Hunger Games, an event to remind all twelve districts of their submission to the power of the Capitol. Why? A few years prior, there were thirteen districts with District 13 starting an uprising against the Capitol. The revolution failed and District 13 was eradicated and so arose The Hunger Games, whose is quite simple: a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected as tributes through a lottery to represent their respective district in The Hunger Games. The  total of 24 candidates will then battle each other to the death, as all 12 districts are forced to watch their sons and daughters getting killed and killing. The winner gets a life of ease, which in the harsh world of Panem is almost tempting enough to enter the games. Some districts actually train their youngsters for the games.

Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorn are best friends from District 12. They also have their names in the lottery more than once as a way to get food to their hungry families. Their chances for getting selected are rather high. But both their names are not drawn. Instead, Katniss’ sister, Primrose, is selected – with her name being in the lottery once. In a burst of courage, Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place. Gale is also not selected and instead Peeta Mellark is chosen as the male representative of District 12. Together, Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol where they will try their best to build an image that will help them while inside the games, not knowing that there’s way more going on behind the scenes than they know and that the slightest “wrong” move on their part will cost them dearly.

The Hunger Games is probably one of the most riveting books you might read. The action goes on at breakneck pace, not leaving any dull moment for you to take in what has passed or think about what might happen. You cannot let the book down before finishing it. I had to learn this the hard way with a major exam coming up and finding myself reading this book instead of my anatomy textbook.

Don’t let the fast pace undermine the book’s value, however. The book is perfectly paced. It doesn’t linger on sequences more than it should and, seeing as it’s a book about life and death, it doesn’t dwell on details that are irrelevant to the ultimate goal of its characters: survival. The text may become violent at points, but it remains hypnotizing and chilling.

Simply put,  it is one of those books, which are immensely suspenseful, that will get glued to the palm of your hand and refuse to let go until you turn the last page, only finding out that the story has not been fully resolved and you’ll have to read the second book, Catching Fire, to know what happens next. And before you know it, you have that book in your hands and you’re at it again. The Hunger Games takes you aboard its cycle and doesn’t let you go. Even the love triangle, which the author tries to set up, becomes irrelevant to you as a reader with everything else going on in the book.

At the end of the day, The Hunger Games, despite being totally rooted in fiction, has strands of real-life intertwined in it. There’s humor, there’s treason, there’s death, there’s love, there’s life, there’s loss, there’s pain. All in a couple hundred pages. A must-read, definitely.


The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (Book Review) – Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third and final installment in the Millennium trilogy, currently the best selling books worldwide.

The final installment picks up where the second one left off: Lisbeth Salander has been shot, Zala is wounded and Niedermann is tied to a sign post. And so both Salander and Zala are taken to the hospital to fix up their wounds, with Lisbeth barely making it through. However, the revelations that started with the second installment, about Lisbeth’s deep involvement with a section of the Swedish secret police, continue to work in the third book. Never before has the Zalachenko club in Sapo (the Secret Police) been revealed to this extent and they must do their best to clean up.

Little do they know, however, is that this time around Lisbeth Salander has decided to fight back – and similarly to them, her fight will not be clean. Unlike them, however, she will always be one step ahead, even when Sapo believe they’ve got it all in the bag.

Lisbeth Salander has to seek the help of Mikael Blomkvit, who’s now under strict Sapo surveillance. And he’s willing to help. He will harness the power of his magazine and investigative journalism to bring justice to Salander, a woman who has had her most basic of rights violated.

Erika Berger has a stalker as well. Someone who wants her to fail at her new job, as editor in chief. But the collective effort of all people who are involved, in one way or another, with Millenium – as well as Milton Security, Lisbeth’s former employer, is needed to bring the Zalachenko group of the Secret Police down.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is a very riveting book, especially when it comes down to the trial during which Lisbeth speaks up and surprises everyone. The cross-examination of Dr. Teleborian, the psychiatrist who decided Lisbeth needed to be locked up when she was twelve, is probably one of the most exciting passages to read in the whole series.

However, unlike the previous two books in the trilogy, there isn’t a mystery in this one. There isn’t a killer to be identified like in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or The Girl Who Played With Fire. All the cards are laid out on the table for you to see. You know what each side is capable of and you know the material they both have.

In books like this, it is up to the author’s talent and expertise to deliver a book that is captivating and still wholly engrossing for you to read. And Stieg Larsson delivers. The author’s approach towards this book is not different from the previous ones but there’s an undeniable sense of urgency in the way he laid his words on paper. The monologue italic thoughts are still scattered out throughout and they serve as a strong catalyst for the advancement of the plot.

There are moments however where Larsson abandons his novelist self and goes into a pamphlet-like writer, giving you what I believe is pages and pages of credible history about the workings and logistics of the Swedish Secret Police. The fact that I skimmed through those pages and still understood the whole book is testimony to how useless they are. Perhaps he wanted to use his books for some sort of activism, but it just doesn’t work. Or it could be that I have nothing to do with Sweden.

However, at the end of the day, even though the ending of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is quite expected, it still brings you a sense of relief to see Lisbeth walk out free. The girl with the dragon tattoo who played with fire all her life dared to kick the hornet’s nest and live to tell the tale. And it is a great tale.

Pottermore Revealed

JK Rowling has just revealed on Pottermore’s website what the thing is all about.

She said: “I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years. Pottermore is a way for the creativity to live on and a way for me to be creative on a platform that did not exist when I started writing the books.”

It is a free website that builds an online experience based on reading the Harry Potter books. People can register for the challenge starting today and one million users will be selected by July 31st (which happens to be both JK Rowling and Harry Potter’s birthday), after they successfully complete the challenge, for early testing of the website, with full public availability in October.

Registration is currently down on the Pottermore website, which you can access here, probably due to an overload of Potterheads trying to get their emails through.

The announcement came via JK Rowling’s youtube page, through a video, in which she said:

Thirteen years after the first Harry Potter book was published, I’m still astonished and delighted by the response the stories met. Even though the seventh book and the eighth movie have now been completed, I’m still receiving hundreds of letters every week and Harry’s fans remain as enthusiastic and inventive as ever. So I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, because no author could have asked for a more wonderful, diverse and loyal readership.

I’m thrilled to say that I’m now in a position to give you something unique. An online reading experience unlike any other: it’s called Pottermore. It’s the same story, with a few crucial additions. The most important one is you.

Just as the experience of reading requires that the imaginations of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built, in part, by you, the reader. The digital generation will be able to enjoy a safe, unique, online reading experience built around the Harry Potter books. Pottermore will be the place where fans of any age can share, participate in and rediscover the stories. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase digital audiobooks and, for the first time, e-books of the Harry Potter stories.

I will be joining in too because I will be sharing additional information I’ve been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter. Pottermore is open to everyone from October but a lucky few can enter early and help shape the experience. Simply follow the owl. Good luck.

The project will allow readers to answer their own questions, get sorted in Hogwarts houses, play games, add comments, drawings, etc…

The project has also been carefully planned to be spoiler-free. For the time-being, the world of Pottermore will be restricted to the first book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the US version), with the story unveiled over a two-year course, for new readers. It will enable them to live each impact moment of the books.

The new material by JK Rowling is said to be around 18000 words so far. The e-books will be DRM free, meaning they can be viewed across platforms without the need to purchase them again, but they will be watermarked with the buyer’s info. While this doesn’t prevent copyright theft, the file can be retraced to the original buyer.

“This was about the give-back,” she said. “The technology now existed to do something outside the books and the films for existing fans.”

And the attempt to register starts… now!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Trailer

Apple has released a new trailer for the upcoming and final Harry Potter movie. And I have to say, if you thought the first trailer was epic, wait till you watch this one.

It’s also the last Harry Potter trailer ever. It’s the end of an era, my friends. And this makes me sad. I grew up reading these books. Hopefully Pottermore will sustain us, though.

Less than a month to go, Potterheads. July 14th. I’m sure you already have your calendars marked. And quoting the everwise Rebecca Black, “we so excited!”