It’s only January 4, but I’m happy to announce I’ve finished book 1! I’m having so much fun with this, although it is making me sad because my first book has been so well loved that the pages have cracked down the spine (if anyone knows a semi-cheap bookbinding place, I would love you forever – I could just tape it, but that feels like blasphemy on a Harry Potter. Besides this is the first one that’s done it, so I don’t exactly know what I’m doing). Anyway, the intention was to read Harry Potter interspersed with the other books I have out, but as it did the first time, it sucked me in, and I couldn’t put it down. I’m now about 50 pages into book 2, though this may be where I lose steam, as 2 is my least favorite book. Plus, I’m going to the library today, and I always get distracted by what I’ve just got out instead of finishing what I started.

But anyway, on to the review!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by
Series: Harry Potter #1
Published by in 2003
Genres: ,
Pages: 310
Source:
Goodreads

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley - a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry - and anyone who reads about him - will find unforgettable. For it's there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.

Review:

What to say? I always have a hard time thinking of what to say about books I’m re-reading, because honestly, if I’m re-reading them in the first place, I think they’re fabulous. So imagine how hard it is to review something that I’ve just re-read for the 12th time! It’s the only book in my entire library that has cracked down the spine, and that’s saying something, because I take really good care of my books.

This book really symbolized my entry into the fantasy genre, I think. I was one of those obnoxious kids at school who never was without a book. Every time the teacher had us do some sort of exercise at our desks, I would race through it, just so I could get a few minutes reading time before everyone else finished. I even, and I hate myself for it, would wake up without an alarm clock at 6:30 every single morning so I could read for half an hour before I had to get up. With an appetite like that, you go through books fast. I can remember when I was 9 having read all the children’s books at the library and my mother desperately trying to find me some more difficult books that she was ok with me reading the subject matter. Soon after that, my school librarian, Mrs. Lynch, suggested this new book that came out that her niece or nephew (I can’t remember which) had read and loved. It was by some guy named J.K. Rowling and it was about an 11 year old boy who went to magic school. I dutifully wrote it down and went straight to the public library and inter-library loaned it. It came within a few days (which tells you just how unknown it was – the wait-list for the 5th Harry Potter just after it came out was over 4 months long – good thing by then I was buying them for myself!) and I read it almost in one sitting. I thought it was amazing, the best book I’d ever read, and I mourned the fact that there was only one book. How interesting it would be to read about the rest of his years at Hogwarts! (obviously I wasn’t very clear on the idea of a series at that point).

Skip to a year later. Leading up to Halloween, my teacher decided to read Harry Potter to us (again, shows you how unknown it was – this was before the whole banning for religious reasons and having to get permission slips stuff. She read it, and no one complained!). I was very excited. I wanted to share this amazing book, but at that age, none of my friends were into books the way I was. A few days after she announced she would be reading it to us, another student showed up with book two. I recognized that it was Harry Potter almost immediately and had a little bit of a moment right in the middle of class when I realized it was a different book! This mysterious author had written more! I went straight out to the library that evening and ordered it as well. There was a bit longer wait this time, but after about 2 weeks I got it. I finished it in the same evening I got it, and then re-read it, even though I didn’t like it as well (2 still remains my least favourite book) because I knew I wouldn’t get more for a while.

The rest, as they say, is history. In Junior High, desperate for more interesting novels to fill the time between Harry Potter books, I picked up Lord of the Rings, and then several novels about Arthur Pendragon and Merlin. In High School I bonded with several friends who were also into Harry Potter and we began to go to the films together, if not at the midnight showing, the week in came out (I remember a few times having someone’s mother pick us up after school and drive us straight to the movie theater the day after they opened). Then in College I met the “Hogwarts Four” (a group of friends each from a different houses – they like to do Harry Potter themed gifts and such) and while we’ve bonded over many things, the thing that brought us together was our love of Harry Potter.

So what’s so great about Harry Potter? You know, it’s difficult to put my finger on. As I was talking about in my previous review, I love Rowling’s language. I invariably start at least the first book reading out loud to myself (in a very bad british accent). Usually by the end of the first chapter I get frustrated that it’s taking so long, and stop, but that doesn’t change the fact that the language is gorgeous. I also highly enjoy the cast of characters. I was emotionally involved in their lives from the very beginning.

I hate to give an unbalanced review, though, so I will include a few things that could possibly be found wrong with it. My father read these with me (ish) and his comment was that he didn’t like Rowling’s writing style because she writes like there are a bunch of short stories all strung together with a common thread. As he likes to read mystery novels, this is a pretty valid complaint from his point of view. I can see his point now that I’m older – there are lots of gaps in time where she doesn’t tell us much of what happens – but I think she had to do that because she wanted to cover a whole year in one novel. If she hadn’t, all of the books would be several thousand pages long and no one would read them because they seem too daunting. That’s part of why I gave up on the Wheel of Time series, honestly (13 books clocking in at 800 pages each is a ton, especially when I like to re-read previous books before the next one comes out because I want to remember what happened).

One thing I also noticed this time was how quickly it seemed like Harry got involved in the whole paranoia about Voldemort thing. In one year, he went from not even knowing he’s supposed to be scared of him, to being more terrified than his wizard friends that he would come back. While, as a 9 year old, I found it believable, I found it a bit to quick for my liking this time around.

Not to say I didn’t like it. I love the novel. But, in the interest of a fair and balanced review, it had to be said. Even so, it deserves a full five (or ten) stars and I will definitely be reading it again and again for the rest of my life!

Thank you all for sticking with me, through this miles long post. I will try not to make the rest of the reviews so long, I promise =) Happy Reading!





Leave a Reply

3 Responses to “Potter-thon update and Review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”

  1. Lori @ Pure Imagination says:

    Great review!! I love your story! I often wish I would have read the books as a kid, but I probably would have became way too obsessed. It would have been Unhealthy! :)

  2. Anne says:

    No such thing as "Unhealthy" reading I say – cause if there was, I would have been the poster child, and I turned out alright! lol

  3. Megan says:

    I remember these books coming out– I was pretty young, but I had absolutely no interest in reading them. I actually didn't even start reading any type of fastasy books until about a year and a half ago. I love them though! I can't wait to finish reading this series!

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