Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Harry Potter Stage Play, Third Place Opens Pub, Sherlock on January 1st, and Daughter of the Blood/Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

Oh dear, how I wish I lived in London, England, so I could see this wonderful play! Perhaps they will stage a traveling show that will come to Seattle? One can only hope!

On Stage: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child

"It's official," the Pottermore team noted on Friday in posting a
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, "the eighth story in the Harry Potter
series." Written by Jack Thorne and directed by Olivier and Tony
award-winner John Tiffany, the play is a new story written in
collaboration with J.K. Rowling. The production will be in two parts,
due to the "epic nature of the story," and features a cast of more than
30 actors.

"The story only exists because the right group of people came together
with a brilliant idea about how to present Harry Potter on stage,"
Rowling observed. "I'm confident that when audiences see Harry Potter
and the Cursed Child they will understand why we chose to tell this
story in this way."

Tickets for the play, which comes to London's West End next summer, are for sale online only October 28
"on a first come first served basis to all who have registered for
priority booking," and October 30 to the general public.

Third Place Signs on Restaurant/Coffee Bar/Pub

This is so exciting for Third Place Books to be opening a restaurant/pub that allows patrons to browse for books at the same time. I'm going to try to get my husband to take me to Raconteur next year.

Third Place Books, Seattle, Wash., which is opening its third location
Seward Park neighborhood, has signed on Flying Squirrel Pizza Company
which has three locations,including one down the street from the new Third Place, to open a
combination restaurant/coffee bar/pub that will be called Raconteur.

According to Seattle Met, "while the bar will be in the basement [of
Third Place's 7,200 square foot building], the rest of Raconteur is
separated from the bookstore only by low walls, a purposeful design to
encourage people to wander the aisles while waiting for a table, or page
through a magazine with an Americano in hand."

The coffee bar will be at the entrance and also offer pastries and
bagels. The pub will have 20 taps and "slightly Belgian and German
overtones" in its beer, pretzel and sausage offerings.

Flying Squirrel founder Bill Coury is still tinkering with the
restaurant menu, Seattle Met wrote, "but he's thinking unfussy,
comforting food with a variety of influences--a burger, tacos, a falafel
sandwich, a take on dan dan noodles--with minimal fried stuff and the
same sort of local sourcing you'll find at Squirrel."
For now, the building continues to be renovated, and Raconteur is aiming
to open in February.

I LOVE this version of the Sherlock Holmes stories, because they're witty and wonderfully enacted by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Now they're putting the series back into the 19th century, so Holmes can wear the Deerstalker cap and Watson can have his handlebar moustache. Should be fun!

For the first time, the popular BBC/PBS series Sherlock will premiere on
the same date on both sides of the Atlantic. reported that
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
will make its debut January 1, and plans for movie theaters around the
world to show the 90-minute episode are also in the works, with the
first of those cinema dates now set for January 5-6 in the U.S. The plan
is to include more than 500 cinemas nationwide, with cities to be
confirmed closer to November 6, the on-sale date for tickets. Theater
audiences will also see 20 minutes of exclusive, additional footage. 

Daughter of the Blood and Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop are the first two books in the dark fantasy Black Jewels series that I read about on Goodreads awhile back, and then again when I found books 6 and 7 at the Finally Found Bookstore closing sale for 50 cents each (in hardback, no less!). I think that calling this series "Dark Fantasy" is something of a misnomer, however. It's really horror fantasy clothed in mystical legend tropes and set forth on unsuspecting readers who might be expecting something less nauseating. Here are some blurbs:The Dark Kingdom is preparing itself for the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy the arrival of a new Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But this new ruler is young, and very susceptible to influence and corruption; whoever controls her controls the Darkness. And now, three sworn enemies begin a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal...and the destiny of an entire world is at stake.... Enough time has passed for the young girl Jaenelle, heir to the magical Darkness. Her physical wounds have healed while amnesia keeps her frightening memories at bay. But with Saetan--a Black-Jewelled Warlord Prince and Jaenelle's foster-father--to protect her, she will continue to grow. Her magic will mature. Her memories will return. And Jaenelle will face her destiny when she remembers Daemon, Saetan's son, who made the ultimate sacrifice for her love. 
I believe other reviews made it clear that this is an adults-only series, and I'd go further to say that even some adults will find it too much. There is a great deal of rape, sexual and physical abuse of children, murder of children and sexual predators in the first book, enough so that I wanted to toss the whole thing by the third chapter. I'm not a fan of horror fiction, and even less a fan of pedophiles and child murderers, and descriptions of predators and their practices. Sexualizing children, especially the main character, a 12 year old child, was even more nausea-inducing, but Bishop's prose and storytelling abilities, along with her strong supporting characters made me put my head down and read on through the storm of vileness. You know you're in trouble, as a reader, when the most sympathetic character in the series is Satan, Lord of Hell. He becomes a strong father figure who does everything in his power to help his daughter, though he doesn't expend half that energy to help his grown sons, one of whom descends into madness and the other tries to commit suicide after being physically and mentally abused and enslaved for years.  Of course, the person behind all the real horror, pain and death is a woman, Hecateh, who, along with another evil Queen has it in for Satan and Janelle, and wants them both dead so she can rule over all. Women come off as either angels (if they're young) or evil, power-hungry abusive whores in these books, while men seem totally enslaved by their desires, and are therefore somewhat weak and completely enthralled by a self-sacrificing angel like Jaenelle. Still, the bad guys/women are being thwarted right and left, and for that reason alone I've decided to read the third, fourth and fifth books, if I can make it through more descriptions of child abuse. I am finding the writing fascinating and the actual magic interesting, as well as the half-blood magic animals that are fighting for survival. I'd give this series, so far, a B+, and only recommend it to those who have a strong stomach and are willing to suffer through the first book's horrors to get to the better second book, wherein resides karmic justice for the bad guys.

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