Sunday, August 9, 2009

Harry Potter and the Future is Now.

From Museum and Ice Cream Cake

LED dress from the Future.

Yesterday we went to the Museum of Science and Industry to see Harry Potter: The Exhibition. Because we are not the smartest, we didn't purchase tickets ahead of time, and thusly ended up spending some quality time wandering about MSI looking at oddities like the LED dress above (that would be in the part where the Future is Now), Lego(tm) Skyscrapers, and poop to power. No really:
From Museum and Ice Cream Cake

Harry Potter: The Exhibition was totally worth the wait. The attention to detail in all the sets and costumes and props, from the slug on Slughorn's wand to the knit blanket on Ron's bed, was astounding. And though I feel the books and the movies are so different as to almost not be related is good to see that the world J.K. Rowling created was effectively brought to life in both. If you get the chance to see the exhibition, I recommend that you do. PS: Buckbeak is SO COOL.

Anyway, if you like the world building in HP then do I have a book for you! Maybe.
Full disclosure: I got the ARC from our Children's department head who got it from the publisher, who sent it to her possibly by mistake.

Shifter (The Healing Wars, #1) Shifter by Janice Hardy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In Nya's world pain is a product to be bought and sold. Many people, including Nya, can take pain from others and heal them in the process. Unlike most people though, Nya can't transfer the pain into the Pynvium stone that is later shaped into pain-dealing weapons. Nya is instead, a Shifter, she can act as a conduit, shifting pain from one person to another, sometimes holding the pain to herself for a time. She's unusual and dangerous and valuable to those who lack scruples enough to use her when the Pynvium supply runs low.

The premise alone really sucked me into this intricate novel. The world building is very well thought out and interesting. Nya is spunky and determined, realistic about the bad things that will probably happen, but willing to go through them anyway to save those she cares about. She's such a likable character that some of the slower moments of the book are made quite a bit more tolerable by extension. And the ending (part of a planned series it seems, being that it is the Healing Wars #1) is very snap, bang, whizzle! The beginning draws the reader in with instant action and excitement. But then in the middle there's a lot of tension and adventure, but also a lot of: "and then I went here and did this thing and then I went here and did this other thing and over here I was doing this stuff and really it is all totally relevant I swear and have I mentioned that I hate this race of people who invaded our land and treat us like crap? Let me reflect with you for a moment on how evil imperialism is and how happy I was before it darkened my doorstep...Nevermind that I am very young to remember life before the invasion so very well! Or at least, those three memories I keep telling you about over and over."
So what I'm saying here is that it is good that the ending suddenly speeds it all up again. And, good characters and an excellent new world can definitely redeem indulgent editing.

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  1. I've actually been wanting to pick this up! I am such a fantasy addict, and I am a sucker for a fun new world to explore.

    Also: I want that LED dress! (:

  2. We visited the HP exhibit while I was at ALA and we really enjoyed it. I went with a big group of family and we're all HP fans, so it was really cool to see how much detail they put into each prop. I only wish they could have made it a little more interactive and magical, but I'm hoping the theme park will do that.
    And yep, Buckbeak was very cool-and so was the great hall with the awesome food I wanted to be real!!

    Oh-and did you guys see an unclothed Dobby too? We were all a little weired out by that...