Witches Abroad

Hello Everyone and Welcome Back to The Boss Book Club!

Today we will be looking at the 12th book of the 41 long Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. This book is called Witches Abroad and features the three main characters previously introduced in Wyrd Sisters: the boisterous, fun loving Nanny Ogg, the stern and scary Granny Weatherwax and the wimpish amateur Magrat.

This novel sees our loveable trio step outside their comfort zone and go travelling to foreign places after Magrat is unexpectedly given the task of being a Fairy Godmother. It is her job, with her companions in tow, to seek out the young Princess who is to be her charge, and ensure that a magical wedding is prevented.

Terry Pratchett’s work always contains an element of satire, and this time, as you may guess, this book centers around the ideas of storytelling, happy endings and fairy tales. Terry takes the conventions and turns them upside down, all with his trademark humour, quips, plays on words, and funny asides.

The three main characters feel like friends, and accompanying them on their journey to fairytale lands is full of such adventures as winning their way out of being bankrupted by card sharks, putting a big bad wolf out of its misery, trying a voodoo witches gumbo (and befriending her zombie boyfriend) and tasting banana daiquiris whilst flying around on broomstick.

This book, along with all the others of the Discworld series is recommended for people of all ages and genders. It’s fun and light- hearted fantasy with loveable characters and a quick pace.

You will have a great time!

Happy Reading and thanks for joining us at The Boss Book Club!

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Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Hello Everyone and Welcome Back to The Boss Book Club!

Today we will be taking a look at the new Harry Potter story, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child (Parts One and Two).

This is the eighth story of the Harry Potter series, set nineteen years after the 7th story. Harry is a 37 year old man, and himself, Ron and Hermione are all parents now. This story includes what the adults are currently up to, but mainly centers around their children, particularly Albus, Harry’s youngest son, and his best friend Scorpius.

I had a lot of reservations before reading this story. Firstly, it’s been years since a Harry Potter tale: what if it’s not as good? What if this story tramples on my childhood by being terrible on it’s own, or worse, interferes with my warm memories of reading it as a kid? As for many people, there hasn’t been a book released since that has captured that same excitement as the Harry Potter releases did growing up. I didn’t want anything to spoil that.

Secondly, it’s a play. In fact, it’s a stage show that goes for five hours apparently. What if I don’t like the play format, and that makes it tricky to read? Will this just leave me wanting a novel, and feel disappointed that it’s a play instead?

Many concerns- so many that I nearly didn’t buy the book. However my husband talked me into it.

I really needn’t have worried at all.

The story is wonderful. It is filled with all the magic (literally and figuratively!) that made the books so succesful. All of your favourite locations and people are included here. The Hogwarts Express and Hogwarts itself, as well as, through some flashbacks/memories and other devices, the characters we all love- Dumbledore, Hagrid and some of the other teachers. It contains all the people and places you’d love to see come to life on the stage.

The story isn’t afraid to step ahead into new territory either. Albus and Scorpius are new characters that are flawed but immensely likeable too. They prove that a Harry Potter story without Harry Potter can work just as well. Their scenes feel strong on their own, you aren’t reading and waiting for Harry, Ron and Hermione to show up again.

The play centers around themes of Father and Son, and the challenges of parenthood. It deals with grief and acceptance, and our desire to change the past. There is a wonderful balance of humour and heartfelt moments.

As for the problem of it reading as a play, not a novel, it’s really a non-issue. The stage directions are minimal, and only serve to add to the visualization in your mind. They are not lengthy, therefore the story doesn’t drag. After you get used to reading it as a play, you soon get into the groove and are able to read through it as smoothly and quickly as you would a novel- not that you’d want the experience to go fast!

Having said that, you will read through it quicker than a novel. It took me all up about eight hours to read it from cover to cover.

This play was written by Jack Thorne, based on an original story idea by himself, J.K Rowling and John Tiffany. It reads as though it was written by J.K Rowling herself, which is of course important to the whole experience. It also leaves hope that if JK Rowling doesn’t want to write any more stories herself, she could continue to allow others to expend the universe utilizing her ideas, and that can be successful.

J.K Rowling has said that this is the last Harry Potter story. I strongly believe that it won’t be the last story altogether- it feels like just the beginning for Albus and Scorpius. Bring it on!

Having said all of this, if you by luck are living in the UK and have the opportunity to see the stage show in the near future, definitely boycott the book and wait for the show, as I’m sure seeing it live would be spectacular. For the rest of us, we’ll have to patiently use our imagination!

I will say that I haven’t read any other reviews of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. Whether or not anyone else enjoyed it is completely unknown to me, but personally, this play has gotten me right back into Harry Potter mode- I’m reading them all again from the start and am loving the experience!

Thank you for joining us,

Let us know your thoughts down below!

Happy Reading Bosses 🙂

The Girl on the Train

Hello Everyone and Welcome Back to The Boss Book Club!

Hope you have all been keeping well! I’ve been living under a rock apparently, as I’m sure I’m one of the last to read the suspenseful hit of 2015, the global bestseller and soon to be movie (starring Emily Blunt). This is the review for The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins.

If you too have been living in a dark, isolated place over the past year, let’s see if this thriller interests you…

The Girl on the Train is divided by chapters that are told in first person view from a variety of characters. The central character is Rachel, an overweight alcoholic in her late 20s whose life has gone from perfect to disaster in the past five years. She had it all- a great job, a loving husband, health and happiness. We’re catching her at her lowest point, after she’s lost it all.

On her daily train trips (whilst sneaking booze from her handbag), she always takes note of a particular house she passes, which has what appears to be a loving couple within. Often the lady of the house, Megan, is sitting outside. Rachel imagines what life is like for the couple, creates a little backstory in her mind as to what their lives are like.

When Megan is reported missing, Rachel decides to investigate.

The back cover of the novel has a quote from The Times review which states: “My vote for unreliable narrator of the year.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Rachel is unreliable for a lot of reasons- her constant consumption of alcohol has made her memory poor and untrustworthy, she’s desperately lonely, and she’s often overstepping personal boundaries because of this. She is somewhat, for want of a better term, mentally unstable. However, her situation could have happened to anyone- and she’s sympathetic and relatable because of this. Despite her faults, as a reader you feel compassion towards her, you want her to solve the case, and you want her to start rebuilding her life. You want all of this, but you can’t shake the idea that Rachel is also a suspect in this suspenseful tale.

This novel maintains its suspense as it unravels the story slowly, keeping you reading to unlock more clues as to the circumstances of Megan’s disappearance. The switch between chapters from different viewpoints keeps it lively and interesting. Particularly good are the chapters from Megan’s viewpoint, who is a well developed character with, of course,many secrets that need unveiling.

A weakness of this novel is that some of the character chapters are stronger than others. As just mentioned, the chapters from Megan are particularly good. Others, such as the chapters that focus on Anna, one of Megan’s neighbours, feel thin, and the character is less fleshed out and I felt, too superficial. Anna’s viewpoint often doesn’t reveal enough new information and was repetitive of other characters viewpoints. However, this is only a minor flaw in the context of the novel as a whole.

This book is absolutely perfect for reading whilst travelling, especially if it’s on a train! It will have you looking out the window, thinking over the mystery, and will have you pondering about the lives of strangers you pass. It is an easy read, and the chapters are short, great for filling in small gaps in your free time. I did pick whodunnit, but only a chapter or two before it was revealed.

It’s not one of the greatest novels of all time, but it’s a great suspenseful story that will keep you hooked until a satisfactory conclusion. I recommend suspense lovers give it a read if you haven’t already.

Thanks for joining us at The Boss Book Club!

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Happy Reading 🙂