Sunday, 1 February 2015

Book Review: James Potter and the Bolt of Ages by L Wilt

The James Potter Project is a series of fan written novels about James Potter (Harry Potter's father) and the Marauders (Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Petter Pettigrew) during their time as students at Hogarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 


My Review:
My previous reads of fan fiction have not been very happy experiences but this one attracted me because it was a prequel to the Harry Potter books. I would love JK Rowling to write a series of books about James, Sirius, Snape and the gang at Hogwarts, so seeing that this was a fan fiction of their first year, I had to read it. And I thought it was GREAT!

The first thing to say is that it is true to the characters and the world that JK Rowling invented and nurtured. The author obviously referred to the books to get things right, then added in a few things of their own to enhance the plot, things that were a perfect fit into the world we know. This book is a salute to the work of JK Rowling but is also a great piece of writing in its own right.

So, what is the plot? A death eater at Hogwarts is seeking the Bolt of Ages, the scepter of Alexander the Great which is said to control time. James, Sirius, Remus and Peter need to find the diary which gives clues as to where the Hogwarts founders hid the four pieces of it. It is a dangerous treasure hunt and the death eaters are waiting for the chance to take the prize from them.

The four boys are exactly the way I imagined them to be. Sirius with the good looks and lazy grin, always ready for an adventure, James trying to catch Lily's eye and getting into fights with Snape, Peter going between being terrified and daring depending on the situation, and Remus being caught out in lies about visiting his sick mother while he covers up his werewolf condition. Peter becomes less of the bad guy and more like Neville was in the first Harry Potter book, which felt weird in a way but you could see how he would be easily led to the dark side. Snape sees James as a rival for Lily and tries to get him into trouble and make Lily think that James hates muggle borns. We see other characters as well, with the boys sharing a room with Frank Longbottom, which was nice. Kingsley and Lucius are prefects, Slughorn has his Slug Club with Lily as a member, and Ernie, driver of the night bus in HP&POA is the conductor on it in this book. It felt comfortable to read, as if you were slipping back into that world all over again.

There was plenty of humour in the book, which I enjoyed, including the boys adventure with the Giant Squid and the Knight Bus as they sneak out of school to find the diary. I liked the whole adventure of looking to solve the clues and find the pieces, which had the elements of excitement and tension, with death eaters and Peeves lurking around every corner! The map that they are following is obviously the inspiration for them to invent the Marauder's Map which Harry finds so useful. The action was well written and fits with the sort of adventure which you could imagine having in the castle, with great attention to detail. We have the paintings getting involved in the fun and even an 'appearance' from the Invisible Book of Invisibility' which was fun. There was so much attention to detail to make it feel more like a JK Rowling novel.

There were poignant moments too, as we get flashes of how James is to meet his fate. After being attacked by a rat during an adventure Sirius says to James 'That'll probably be the last time a rat ever tries to kill you'. I found that kind of sad, as was the future glimpse of a scene involving Harry. I won't spoil it but I did feel a bit sniffly after that!

L Wilt has certainly got a flair for storytelling and is very good at putting it together for the reader to flow along with. She pays homage and respect to the material of JK Rowling but adds things that fit well into the world. I have no hesitation in recommending that you get yourself a free copy if you love all things Harry.  
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

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