We all know by now that Robert Galbraith is the queen herself, J.K. Rowling. Fans are celebrating, but post-unveiling we are now left wondering – is the book any good?

The story is a straight up detective novel, in the English crime tradition. We open the narrative following the death of supermodel Lula Landry, whose apparent suicide has the press in a frenzy. Three months later, private detective Cormoran Strike is asked to investigate if, in fact, Landry was pushed.

Together with his new secretary, Robin, Strike navigates the murky waters of celebrity culture, attempting to put Lula Landry to rest, once and for all.

Potter fans be warned (as if The Casual Vacancy didn’t tip you off by now), The Cuckoo’s Calling is the next step in Rowling’s clear decision to try things overtly different from The Boy Who Lived.

That said, even given the cloak-and-dagger nature of The Cuckoo’s Calling, Potter fans are likely to find more they recognise in this secret side project than they did in The Casual Vacancy.

Within the writing, there are bursts of recognition, like flashes of a distant memory. There is a familiar focus on names (bird names take centre stage in this novel), and you can be sure that the most die-hard of fans will already be checking their various meanings and connotations.

The physical descriptions are like the wave of a friend, reminding you of Rowling’s immense skill in bringing a character to life with a few swift strokes of her pen.

There are also some characteristics that we wish Rowling had left behind in her Potter days, such as the pages and pages in which she dumps (admitedly necessary) information on the reader. These have certainly developed from the Harry/Dumbledore conversations in which an entire book would be summarised, but are still offputting in their frequency.

Of course, this kind of information dump is a mainstay in the crime genre, and the question and answer style implemented in The Cuckoo’s Calling reads a lot more authentically than some of the occasions when these occurred in Potter.

As the two main characters, Cormoran Strike and Robin (both bird-related names, for those keeping score) leave a lot of room for development. In The Cuckoo’s Calling there is something vaguely unsatisfying about the large, burly detective and his attractive, plucky sidekick.

You finish the novel hoping that there is more to come for these two characters because their own stereotypical nature is only heightened by the range of brilliantly drawn bit-players surrounding them. Rowling can do better than this trope, and if a series follows as planned, we hope that she does.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is an enjoyable, entertaining read. You read it with the certainty that all loose ends in the Lula Landry case will be resolved by the final page, as part of the contract between a detective novel writer and a reader.

Rowling follows the crime conventions to a T, and the structure she implements doesn’t impede her story in any way. The side characters, in particular, are well drawn and diverse. There is enough suspense to keep you turning the pages.

The detective genre really does allow Rowling to flex the muscles she did not always have occasion to use in Potter, as she addresses more ‘adult’ scenarios, and twists the plot in whatever direction she fancies.

Yet for all that, there is the unsettling feeling that Rowling is doing nothing here that hasn’t been done before by generations of writers. There is nothing in particular about The Cuckoo’s Calling that makes it stand out from the shelves of preexisting crime novels.

Had Robert Galbraith never have been unmasked, he could have gone on to publish many best-sellers without anyone really caring who he was. There is something comforting in the structured formula Rowling makes use of, but there is nothing ground-breaking in it.

With the hindsight that Rowling authored it, you can see the hallmarks of her writing, but without her name having been attached to the novel, it is most likely that you would have read the book with enjoyment, and not thought a lot about it after you finished it.

Grade: B+

A new Fifty Shades Darker trailer was released on Wednesday and ups the sexy for the sequel.

Ana and Christian are getting back together in the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, but the former has a couple of new rules: No secrets, way less BDSM. Christian agrees, but new problems come to light: Is someone from the millionaire’s past haunting him?

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A new Fifty Shades Darker trailer was released on Wednesday and ups the sexy for the sequel.

Ana and Christian are getting back together in the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, but the former has a couple of new rules: No secrets, way less BDSM. Christian agrees, but new problems come to light: Is someone from the millionaire’s past haunting him?

Dakota Johnson continues to bring a fun vibe to Ana Steele, playing the awkward lines with self awareness better than Kristen Stewart ever did as Bella in Twilight. “Have dinner with me,” Christian begs. “Okay fine, I will have dinner with you, because I’m… hungry,” Ana replies. The line could come off corny if executed poorly, but Dakota has a strong hold on playing this character for fun.

Tickets for Fifty Shades Darker are now on sale. Check out a new poster for the movie below:

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The Fifty Shades Darker synopsis reads, “When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.”

The movie hits theaters this Valentine’s Day. It stars Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Bella Heathcote, Kim Basinger and Marcia Gay Harden, and is directed by James Foley.

It’s looking like Nick Robinson will go from battling dinosaurs to battling the process of coming out.

‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ actor revealed

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 21-year-old Nick Robinson is in talks to play Simon in the book to film adaptation of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda written by Becky Albertalli. The movie will be directed by CW/DC Universe mastermind Greg Berlanti.

Nick Robinson is best known for his supporting role in Jurassic World, in which he played big brother Zach Mitchell. He also co-starred as Ben in the book to film adaptation of the dystopian novel The 5th Wave starring Chloe Moretz.

Read full article

It’s looking like Nick Robinson will go from battling dinosaurs to battling the process of coming out.

‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ actor revealed

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 21-year-old Nick Robinson is in talks to play Simon in the book to film adaptation of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda written by Becky Albertalli. The movie will be directed by CW/DC Universe mastermind Greg Berlanti.

Nick Robinson is best known for his supporting role in Jurassic World, in which he played big brother Zach Mitchell. He also co-starred as Ben in the book to film adaptation of the dystopian novel The 5th Wave starring Chloe Moretz.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is an excellent coming of age/coming out LGBT YA novel which we’ve raved about here on Hypable before. Nick Robinson is definitely an actor we can picture in the role, so we can’t wait to see him play the adorable character.

The film is being produced by Wyck Godfrey’s Temple Hill Entertainment, who’s responsible for The Maze Runner series, The Twilight Saga, and the upcoming Power Rangers.

What do think of Nick Robinson as Simon?

If you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend that you do. The book was first published last year:

After you read it, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Becky Albertalli. Simon was her first novel!

Netflix has unveiled a new Series of Unfortunate Events trailer, showing off Neil Patrick Harris’ excellent portrayal of the evil, wacky, will-stop-at-nothing-to-get-that-money Count Olaf.

Neil Patrick Harris’ ability to convincingly become any person — whether male or female, young or old, ugly or beautiful — becomes abundantly clear in the latest ASOUE trailer. While some of us may’ve been a little skeptical of his casting initially, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role after seeing previews like this.

The trailer begins with narrator Lemony Snicket (played by Patrick Warburton) warning that the new Netflix show is no delightful watch. Then the focus turns to Olaf and his mission to steal the children’s fortune, left to them by their parents after their untimely deaths:

Read full article

Netflix has unveiled a new Series of Unfortunate Events trailer, showing off Neil Patrick Harris’ excellent portrayal of the evil, wacky, will-stop-at-nothing-to-get-that-money Count Olaf.

Neil Patrick Harris’ ability to convincingly become any person — whether male or female, young or old, ugly or beautiful — becomes abundantly clear in the latest ASOUE trailer. While some of us may’ve been a little skeptical of his casting initially, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role after seeing previews like this.

The trailer begins with narrator Lemony Snicket (played by Patrick Warburton) warning that the new Netflix show is no delightful watch. Then the focus turns to Olaf and his mission to steal the children’s fortune, left to them by their parents after their untimely deaths:

The Unfortunate Events trailer also presents new looks at colorful characters including Uncle Monty (Aasif Mandvi, below), Aunt Josephine (Alfre Woodard, below), and Justice Strauss (Joan Cusack).

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A Series of Unfortunate Events premieres all eight episodes of its first season on January 13, 2017.

“Based on the internationally best-selling series of books by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) and starring Emmy and Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris, A Series of Unfortunate Events recounts the tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans — Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – whose evil guardian Count Olaf will stop at nothing to get his hands on their inheritance. The siblings must outsmart Olaf at every turn, foiling his many devious plans and disguises, in order to discover clues to their parents’ mysterious death.”

Another trailer was released two weeks ago — you can watch it here.

Is ‘Unfortunate Events’ looking as good as you hoped?

Harris previously confirmed that each book will be adapted into two episodes of the show. The first season of ASOUE covers the first four books, so presumably season 2 will roughly cover another four books. There are a total of 13 books in Lemony Snicket’s series.