Tag Archive | Lynn M. Boughey

Review: Harry Potter and the Art of Spying – by Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest

 

Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

 Title: Harry Potter and the Art of Spying

Author: Lynn M. Boughey and Peter Earnest

This review is of an ARC. Purchase the book September 15th at these links:

Amazon. The International Spy Museum (Available now!). Itasca Books. Hooray for Books. Red Lodge Books.

Goodreads. Official Website.

Summary: The Harry Potter series is more than just a story about a young wizard who saves the world from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The seven-book saga is an excellent primer on spying, intelligence, and politics. Join spy novelist Lynn Boughey and thirty-six-year CIA veteran and executive director of the International Spy Museum Peter Earnest as they review the spy craft employed and celebrated in J.K. Rowling’s bestselling books. From the invisibility cloak to house passwords to Fred and George Weasley’s Extendable Ears, “Harry Potter & the Art of Spying” is full of spy lessons for the secret-agent-in-training in the Muggle realm. Learn how to break secret codes, gather intelligence, read character’s motives, and why Severus Snape is the best double agent ever.

Genre/Pages: Fantasy Analysis/Espionage non-fiction/632

Rating: ★★★★ (4.5 of 5)

A Quote: “Severus Snape was perhaps the best spy ever portrayed in literature. But we must remember that there are real spies out there, spies who take all the risks, perhaps more than Snape did. The World is full of risk. It is a very dangerous place. Only through information can our leaders make the right decisions.

And information is hard to come by.

Countries hide what they are doing. Leaders make statements that are intentionally false. And informants are often untrustworthy or just plain wrong.

It is spies — and intelligence analysts — who derive truth from a blurry world.” ~pg 541 of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying.

My Review:  When I first heard about this book I was sitting on my bed listening to Alohomora! I knew as soon as I heard authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest analyzing Harry Potter with the Pros (read: The Alohomora! cast), that I HAD to read this book. It was a given. I had to get my hands on a copy of this book. Weeks later, after many, MANY delays and mail mix ups I finally got to hold a copy of this wondrous book in my hands. I was overjoyed. I cannot possibly fully express my thanks to Lynn, Peter, and all of the other amazing people who helped me to get an ARC of this book for review. Y’all are the best! All of this aside, however, I do consider this an unbiased review.

The first half of this book is a play-by-play analysis of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. At first I was nervous. Was there REALLY enough information in OotP to create a full-on chapter-by-chapter, line-by-line, espionage analysis? Believe me, there is. Lynn and Peter will bring up points and theories I had never even considered.

The second half of this book is a series’ analysis from an espionage perspective. It focuses on the specifics of character motivation, different types of spies throughout the series, Wizard security, Magical (and muggle) means of tracking and spying, personal espionage experiences from the authors, and so much more. This was probably in some ways my favorite part of the book. Not only did you get HARRY POTTER, but you also will be absolutely astonished by how much you learn about how Muggle world spying works. It’s fascinating!

So, at this point I’m typically writing about my thoughts on the hero/heroine. Well… As you’ve probably deducted by now, there isn’t one. So I’m going to split these next two sections (Usually Hero/Heroine and Plot) into the two main focuses of the book: Harry Potter Analysis, and real life Espionage.

Harry Potter Analysis: A word about Harry Potter Analysis: HARRY POTTER ANALYSIS. (Oh, all right, that was three words!) << Did you see what I did there??? There are quite a few running jokes throughout the book, but it wasn’t annoying, actually. It was more like a smile and eyeroll type of running gags. They were legitimately amusing. Anyway, I digress. The blow-by-blow analyzing got a little bit slow at times, since I already know the series (and particularly OotP) so well, but I understand that it was necessary for the points they were trying to make. This book had many laugh out loud moments, some due to the genius of J.K. Rowling, and some to the genius of Lynn and Peter. This form of analysis, however, fully immersed you into the world and you were able to have many Ah-ha! moments of realization. No matter how many times I read the books, listen to the podcasts, or read books like this, I can ALWAYS learn new things about Harry Potter, and new mind-blowing JKR things. This is my OGM for the day. (Obligatory Genius Moment to JKR). Some might think that the book recap would get boring, but it honestly stayed pretty intriguing. In fact, I’m even more desperate to go back and re-read OotP AFTER reading this book. I love getting to see my favorite books from the eyes of someone else, and what better way to get a new perspective on my all-time-favorite book than through the eyes of a CIA veteran and a spy novelist?

Espionage: A word about Espionage: ESPIONAGE! This was absolutely fascinating  — I read it in no time! The depth and detail was enthralling! You learned immense amounts about the intricate functioning of the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore’s Army, and much more. This book merely expanded upon the genius that is the world of Harry Potter, and made you understand JUST how great it REALLY is.  In addition to that, with many personal stories and real-life events, you get to learn how the muggle world of espionage works, as well! It was a very enlightening read on many levels. Peter and Lynn did a fantastic job with the formatting and layout of this spectacular novel.

Content Advisory: Ummm….Nothing. Absolutely nothing inappropriate. 

To Sum it Up: It’s not what I’d call an EASY read, but if you love Harry Potter, then you will love this book. If you’re intrigued  by spy stories, then you will love this book. If you’re interested in the political and social themes of the Harry Potter novels, you will love this book. Written in an easy to read format, with plenty of side notes, digressions, and personal stories, you will not regret reading this book. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all Die-Hard Potterheads.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

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Bookish Survey: Cast a Harry Potter Spell!

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HP1

Reparo

fixes damaged objects

A book that needs some serious fixing: Rumplestiltskin – By Jenni James. I couldn’t even finish it. In fact, the dialogue and writing was so unrealistic, stilted, and rushed, that I even broke my cardinal rule of always read 5 chapters before quitting. I couldn’t get past 5 pages of this dialogue.

Lumos

creates a narrow beam of light

A book that deserves more attention: Knightley Academy – Violet Haberdasher. Maybe if this book got more attention the author would flippin’ FINISH THE SERIES ALREADY. You can’t just end the second book on a cliffhanger, PROMISE a third book, then change your name and disappear off the face of the writing earth. That said, oh my gosh, I ADORED this book. It’s the kind of book that fans of Percy Jackson, Ranger’s Apprentice, Beyonders, etc., would enjoy.

Nox

counters the effects of Lumos

An overhyped book: (I’m going to ignore the obvious answer of Twilight), Matched – By Ally Condie. It wasn’t horrible — heck, I even followed through and read the entire series. But… eh. It just fell flat for me. Very flat.

Accio

summons an object from a significant distance

A book you’re anticipating: The Blood of Olympus – By Rick Riordan. Need I say any more? It’s the series finale. The end of Percy Jackson. After more than 10 books… it’s all going to be over.

Alohomora

opens unlocked doors, unless bewitched

A book you want to be more open about: Sweet Romances in general. I’ve started reading a handful of them lately, but I always feel like I can’t talk about how much I loved them, because sweet (AKA clean) romance novels aren’t “cool.”

Expecto Patronum

conjures an incarnation of positive feelings

A book that made you cry, or at least want to: The Burning Bridge – By John Flanagan. Anyone who’s read the ending of this book understands. I was crying. I was sobbing. It was uncontrollable. OH, the feels. Never has a book ended that horribly. And beautifully. And tragically. Oh, goodness, if I keep on talking about it, I’m gonna start crying all over again.

Morsmordre

conjures the Dark Mark

A book you wish to mark as one of your favorites: The Captive Maiden – By Melanie Dickerson & The Dark Lord of Derkholm – By Diana Wynne Jones. The Captive Maiden is a retelling of Cinderella — except I actually loved it! It was very different from the classic, and the characters were actual people. I loved it. It was a feel good happy ending book. Ranger’s Apprentice meets Cinderella. The Dark Lord of Derkholm… Well, I love books written in that era. It is a wonderful fantasy high adventure for middle grade and YA. I loved it.

Petrificus Totalus

petrifies victim

A book you wish to keep forever: I can’t pick one… So I have two. Harry Potter – By J.K. Rowling & Narnia – By C.S. Lewis. I really don’t think an explanation is necessary for either of these. I will treasure these books all my life, and read them to my children from a young age. This will be a part of their lives forever.

Protego

shield charm

An intimidating book you keep putting off: The Illiad – By Homer  and The Odyssey – By Homer. I think it’s quite obvious why they’re so intimidating. You know… 500+ pages, in prose, of greek mythology. The original greek mythologies. I desperately want to read these books, but they’re just SO HUGE.

Riddikulus

used against a boggart

A book with a deceiving synopsis: North of Nowhere – By Liz Kessler. The synopsis makes it seem quite boring. Stereotypical, cliche, been there, read that. But the actual book? PHENOMENAL! It was a middle grade mystery with suspense that actually had me enthralled and engaged by the mystery.

Lacarnum Inflamarae

shoots fireballs

A book you wish to burn out of your mind completely: Unwind – By Neal Shusterman. Even just thinking back to this book makes me nauseous. The premise was fascinating, but the dystopian world was far to intense for me. I don’t often abandon books, but I couldn’t physically bring myself to continue this one. It was sickening. It felt rated R. Everything was too intense, too graphic, to messed up. The world was just so twisted I couldn’t physically handle it. If I could, I would burn this book completely out of my memory. That would be wonderful.

Wingardium Leviosa

levitates objects

A book you wish to reread: Harry Potter – By J.K. Rowling. Seriously? I ALWAYS need to re-read this series. You can never read Harry Potter enough! I’m actually in the middle of a Harry Potter Movie Marathon (13 hours and counting! 8 hours left! Wish me luck!), so I REALLY want to read the books again. And again. And again. Best books in the world.

Avada Kedavra

causes instant death

Worst book EVER: Switched – By Amanda Hocking. I’m in the hated minority here. Everyone loved this book. I hated everything about it. Starting with the main character (she was a brat! and a totally undeveloped one at that!), and ending with the entire world. In the middle was the writing, the backstory, the so-called “romances”, and the awful, awful, everything about this book. Horrible, abusive relationships. Word to the wise? If a mysterious stranger’s been stalking you for days, asks you to dance at the school dance, yells at you while dancing, and then shows up at your bedroom window (on the second story) that night, WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU LEAVE YOUR FAMILY AND TRAVEL TO AN ALTERNATE REALM WITH HIM?!?!?!? Let alone spend all your time thinking about nothing but making out with him. Ughhh…

HP2

Stupefy

puts victim in unconscious state

A book with a chapter you couldn’t seem to get over:  All is Well – By Gerald N. Lund. Having spent THOUSANDS of pages invested in these wonderful characters, and the historical fiction era they lived in… To finally read that last chapter — Where everything had finally wrapped up so perfectly… It was… Heartwarming. Overwhelming. Tear jerking. Beautiful. Satisfying. Perfect.

Confundo

causes befuddlement or forgetfulness

A book that generally confused you: Proxy – By Alex London. In the moment, while reading it… I sorta enjoyed it. Anytime I’d put it down I would think that I didn’t like it. But then at the climax, I did like it. But then in retrospect, I thought that maybe I hadn’t liked it afterward. But the ending had made me cry. But I didn’t even LIKE the characters ALL that much. Confused is a good word to describe it.

Crucio

inflicts unbearable pain

A book that was a pain to read: Mockingjay – By Suzanne Collins. I could go on for hours about all the things I hated about this book. Long story incredibly short? The entire book was painful. A horrible end to a wonderful series by a truly talented author. This book crashed and burned. It was hard to read, to see these characters, the world,  coming to this.

Episkey

heals relatively minor injuries

A feel good book that you enjoyed: Appaloosa Summer – By Tudor Robins. This book was phenomenal. I thought it was going to be a YAWN been-there-read-that horse story. But this one was different. It was amazing. Even the (sweet) romance! I adored this book, and HIGHLY recommend it to all horse lovers! I would re-read this in a heartbeat on a bad day. It’s like my happy book.

Expelliarmus

temporarily disarms an opponent

A book with a swoon-worthy character: Persephone – By Kaitlin Bevis. I never thought I could love a Persephone retelling — let alone FALL in love WITH Hades, Lord of the Underworld. The sweet romance is perfect, and the mythology is like none you’ve ever read before! A modern retelling with PLENTY of new twists. You can never see them coming until they hit you in the face. And Hades. He’s got a rough side, a wild side, a sweet side, a gentle side. He’s not a “bad boy,” so to speak, but he’s not an angel, either. He’s the perfect guy. Flawed, but caring.

Impedimenta

impedes target’s progress

A book that kept you up all night reading: The Ruins of Gorlan – By John Flanagan

 I’d been meaning to read this book for quite some time, but nothing about it ‘spoke’ to me…so, it just sat there. Finally, late one night, at about 10 pm,  my stack was gone. All that was left was The Ruins of Gorlan. So, I picked up, I was desperate. About 4 hours later, I closed it. THIS BOOK WAS PHENOMENAL. This series is my LIFE! I love it!

Silencio

immediate silencing

A book that left you speechless after you read it: The Shadow Children series – By Margaret Peterson Haddix. Every single one of the books did this to me, but particularly the first book and the last book. The dystopia she creates is so believable, so close to modern society, it is terrifying. The characters she creates are phenomenal… you become so deeply attached to them, it hurts.

 

Legilimens

allows you to delve into someone’s mind

A book with well-developed characters: The False Prince – By Jennifer A. Nielsen. Sage, Jason, Imogen, Mott, Amarinda… Jennifer creates a character, you fall in love with him/her. The complexity of her characters is breathtaking, and the dialogue is absolute perfection. I cannot possibly speak highly enough of these characters. I adore each and every one of them.

Levicorpus

a spell that turns you upside down

A book that changed your mind about a character from its prequel:  I can’t think of any book characters. However, the one character that does come to mind is Wesley Wyndham-Pryce of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fame. In Buffy he’s the most detestable character on the planet… in Angel, you fall in love with him. He changes, and you understand him. By far the best character development I have ever seen on television.

Obliviate

used to hide memories

A book with a story you can’t remember: The Amaranth Enchantment – By Julie Berry. Apparently, I read this book in 2011, and gave it a 4 star review. Even looking at the cover and reading the synopsis… Nothing about it rings a bell. I basically have NO memory of this entire book.

Peskipiksi Pesternomi

useless spell

A boring book that had absolutely no effect on you: Prep School Confidential – Kara Taylor. I wouldn’t say it had no effect on me — It definitely succeeded in making me incredibly angry, frustrated, BORED, and completely lose faith in humanity at large.

Reducto

breaks through solid objects

A book that convinced you to reconsider a certain genre: Her Ex Next Door – By Beverly Farr. This was the first sweet romance (or, really, any romance, but I only read the clean stuff) that I had ever read. I actually ended up thoroughly enjoying it, and have since read 5 or 6 books in the genre. I love it!

Rictusempra

tickling spell

A book that made you laugh: Slaves of Socorro – By John Flanagan. Brotherband meets Ranger’s Apprentice in this amazing book! It’s hilarious, and Flanagan has a sense of humor that never fails. He (and occasionally Rick Riordan) is the only author who came make me ACTUALLY laugh out loud. And I laugh until tears roll down my cheeks — I laugh until I’ve completed my ab workout for the day… all because of this amazing book. It was far too short.

Sectusempra

offensive spell that violently wounds the target

A book that may have scarred you for life: Gregor and the Code of the Claw – By Suzanne Collins. MAY HAVE?!?!??!?! This entire series scarred me for life! In the best way possible, of course. I adore this series to no end, and would absolutely adore to re-read the series. But this is written for middle grade children. NO. I was 15 when I read it, and it scarred me. I love this book so much! Emotionally scarring, but one of the best books ever!

Tarantallegra

makes you dance uncontrollably

A series finale that made you feel giddy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – By J.K. Rowling. No words are needed. Harry Potter is the best series ever written, and Jo is the best author ever. She is the Queen.

Bombarda Maxima

causes an explosion that breaks through obstacles

A book that made you explode with the feels: Allegiant – By Veronica Roth. All I’m going to say is that I ADORED Allegiant. ESPECIALLY the ending. The ending was literary perfection. Don’t even try to argue this point with me. I LOVE THIS ENDING.

Finite Incantatem

nullifies other spells

A book you thought you’d dislike, but ended up loving: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – By J.K. Rowling. I’ve got an interesting story on this one. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER  So, I have always loved Sirius Black. By far my favorite character in the series. My brother was listening to the audiobook the day it came out, and little six year old me overheard Harry’s vision about Voldemort torturing Sirius. I demanded that my brother tell me if Sirius ACTUALLY died. He told me yes. And, little six year old me who had read the first 3 books, and watched the first 3 movies, determined never to read OotP. Half-Blood Prince came out, and, as a family, we all listened to the book day it came out. By the end, I was THOROUGHLY confused, and determined that my hand was forced — I had to go back and read OotP. I went into it knowing I would hate it. When I finished the book shortly thereafter, I proceeded to read it again. And again. I loved it. It is my favorite HP book.

I’d like to add one spell/mini review that was not included in the original post:

Animagus

being able to turn oneself into an animal, this process is highly

Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

dangerous, and yet authorization is rarely given out. (this one’s a bit of a stretch, honestly).

That fandom analysis book you’ve read and loved with “unathorized” on the cover (e.i. The Unathorized Harry Potter coobook, etc.): Harry Potter and the Art of Spying – By Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest. I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am almost done with this book, so you will soon be able to access the full review. However, here is my mid-way, mini-review. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. It’s written by two amazing people, Lynn (Author of spy novel, Mission to Chara) and Peter (Executive Director of the International Spy Museum). Basically, they’re analyzing the Harry Potter series (particularly books 5-7), from the persepective and experience of spies. Not only do you get to see the series in an entirely new light, but you also get to learn a lot about real-life spy techniques and missions. This is a SUPER fun and easy read. I thought it might be difficult to read, seeing as it’s non-fiction, but it’s actually quite the page turner! This book is set for release September 15th, 2014.

Soo… This is a Harry Potter heavy post, but I AM 6 movies into a Harry Potter Movie Marathon, and haven’t slept in over 30 hours, sooo…