Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay
Published by Bloomsbury, 2019 (first published in 2000)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
It’s always a nostalgic delight to revisit the wizarding world, flaws and all – especially at this time of year. Kay’s stunning illustrations add another layer of immersion, making this re-read feel both fresh and familiar all at once.
I’ve always loved that Prisoner of Azkaban represented a turning point in the overall tone of the series, whilst Voldemort’s return in Goblet of Fire served as an equivalent turning point in the narrative.
You can pick up a copy of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire from Book Depository by clicking here.
Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye
Published by HQ, 2018
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Jacob Marley plays a key role in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The chain-clad ghost – once Scrooge’s business partner – is doomed to wander the Earth, lamenting the shame of a life fuelled by greed. In this prequel, Vanessa Lafaye explores the events that led Marley to this tragic state, told from the perspective of his sister, Clara.
The Dickensian setting is evoked well, with the handling of previously established characters in keeping with what readers experienced in A Christmas Carol. By framing this particular story through the eyes of a new character, however, Lafaye is able to pay homage to the original text without ‘trespassing’ – which she explained was her fear in the author’s note.
Important themes from the original are built upon, including the trappings of poverty, the struggle to transcend class, and the battle between fate and freewill. Clara’s viewpoint allows for commentary on female agency at the time, and there’s a real poignancy to watching Marley do all the wrong things for all the right reasons; hardening his heart in order to protect his beloved sister, blind to the harm he himself is causing her.
The best kind of tie-in novel, Miss Marley successfully toes the line between reverence for its predecessor, and innovation within the context of an iconic story’s existing lore.
You can pick up a copy of Miss Marley from Book Depository by clicking here.