A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle

Title: A Study in Scarletastudyinscarlet

Author: Author Conan Doyle

Genre: Crime, detective story, mystery, historical fiction

Thoughts: I thought I might try to read some crime and detective stories on the holidays, and so got out the originals, the fathers of detective: Sherlock Homes. Arthur Conan Doyle’s original story, The Study in Scarlet, is the first story of the famous detective, and where he first meets his accomplice, Dr John Watson. After watching the modern TV series remake, I was pleased to see that a number of the facts were kept the same, but it was still fun to figure out the crime, as there were differences.

“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.”
― Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

 It was a hard read, you have to concentrate to get all the details, so it took a little while to fully understand what was going on. It was easier as I had some idea of what was going to happen, but it is definitely something you have to concentrate on. The amount of detail in the plot line and the amount of research behind it was astounding. It seems almost normal while you’re reading about the crime solving, that Sherlock Holmes can hold all this information in his head. It’s easy to forget that someone had to research all this information about footprint tracking, and the different types of tobacco, and then apply it to his plot line in a book. 

“To a great mind, nothing is little,’ remarked Holmes, sententiously.”
― Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

Obviously the story is well planned and set out. I also like the characters, and the way Sherlock interacts with John at the beginning and at the end, and then how both of them interact with the two police officers. Both Sherlock and John have very sarcastic attitudes about certain things, and these little comments were what brought the book up that little bit extra. 

“It’s quite exciting,” said Sherlock Holmes, with a yawn.”
― Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

I quite enjoyed the journey of the crime solving during this story, and my favourite part would have to be when Sherlock explains how he reached his conclusion. He makes it sound easy, but in reality, to notice all those little details is near impossible. The writing style does make it a little harder to enjoy, as you have to concentrate hard, but it was an enjoyable storyline.

“It was easier to know it than to explain why I know it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty, and yet you are quite sure of the fact.
― Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

Why should you read it: For anyone who likes detective stories, and who hasn’t already read the Sherlock Holmes stories, get onto it quickly. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has most definitely done his research, particularly for his first story.

Book in a word: Puzzling

Rating: 8/10

 

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J. K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John TiffanyHarry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_Cover.jpg

Genre: Fantasy, magic, young adult

Thoughts: So the eighth story is here!! How exciting was it for everyone??? After waiting so long without any new material, and now two more instalments!! This year is heaven for Potter fans everywhere. But all this fuss, was the book really that great? Now, the rating doesn’t really count for this review. J. K. Rowling could write anything, and I would read and rate it well, but it doesn’t mean it’s that great of a story. But don’t let this stop you, it wasn’t bad, it’s just that The Cursed Child didn’t really fit in with the rest of the series.

The story line, regardless of plot-holes, was enjoyable. I really liked reading it, and the characters were really great. It was also written well, as you would expect, and even the style wasn’t too bad after a while. The Cursed Child was written as a two-part West End stage play, and was presented as a script. At first, this took a little getting used to, as it is basically just made up of dialogue, with small explanations at the start of each chapter. But, after a day or two, I found myself just slipping back into the world, and not really noticing the strange set up on the page. So don’t let this be the fact that stops you reading it.

“The world changes and we change with it. I am better off in this world. But the world is not better. And I don’t want that.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two

Other people are saying that this book is just like a really well written, (badly written, according to some people) fanfiction. And this is true. The plot is fine, and characters are great, and the book as a whole is actually a good, enjoyable book to read. But as I said earlier, it just didn’t fit in with the rest of the series. Now, the original seven book series was a masterpiece. The intricate magical world created by Rowling was literally a masterpiece, so I can see how hard it is for another book to slip back into it after so long. The Cursed Child just lacked the magical feeling of the originals. It was as if Rowling had kind of finished weaving her magical world at the end of the last series, and has just kind of added this to the end. There were no descriptive paragraphs about Diagon Alley, or the floating candles in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, but instead more focus on the character’s developments over the story. This isn’t exactly a bad thing; Books do need good character development, but it also needs to be balanced with the descriptions of the alternate world.

“They were great men, with huge flaws, and you know what – those flaws almost made them greater.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Cursed Child

Saying this, we must remember that this was written as a play, and so the vivid descriptions aren’t really needed because for people watching it, they can simply see what is going on. The most important part of a script is the dialogue and how the characters are saying it, as this is the only thing a script can determine. And this script did exactly that. So judging from a script perspective, this was an amazing piece, and watching the play would be an amazing experience. But judging it from a book’s perspective, it lacked some of the original magic.

“My geekness is a-quivering.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two

Why should you read it: For all the Harry Potter fans out there, you’ve probably already read it. If you’re still uncertain, don’t let the fact that it’s a script stop you, as isn’t too bad after a while. Just remember, go into this thinking of it as a play, where you can see the destinations, and just read it as if the characters are standing there acting it out. I enjoyed reading it and I’m sure you all will too.

Book in a Word: Professional

Rating: 8/10 (don’t take this into account too much…)