I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone write a review of the Harry Potter books now? Well, I like reading by list (as you can tell from my reading lists button above) and my goal is to read and review all of those books. I am part of that special generation that grew up with Harry Potter. He has been with me from the age of 12 until now. Since my boyfriend is currently reading the first book, I felt the urge to write a proper review about it.
Published: Bloomsbury, 1997
Copy: Hardback, ebook
Series: Harry Potter #1
My rating: 8/10
First sentence:Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason: HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!
Who doesn’t know the little wizard boy with the glasses and the scar shaped like a lightning bolt? When I was 12 years old, I remember seeing the first three Harry Potter books constantly taking up the top three spots in our students’ newspaper’s best books list. I had never heard about it before but the name caught my eye so I asked my mother to get me the first book. By the time my grandmother got me books 2 and 3, I had reread Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone about four times.
I instantly sympathised with the boy who has to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, whose aunt and uncle brought meanness to a whole new level. Oh, how I wished that something magical would happen to me as well, that an owl or a dragon would fly by my window and reveal that I am the princess of some unknown fantasy land. I would even have taken a fairy godmother. Needless to say, reality stayed well in place so all I had were books to flee into.
What makes this first novel in the series so great is how approachable it is for readers of all ages. Children will get an amazing adventure, all sorts of magic and the chance to dive into a wonderful world where books can bite you and where there is a sport played on flying broomsticks. If you have a shred of imagination, you can’t help but fall for Harry Potter’s charm. This is a story of friendship and of good versus bad. Everybody who has been to school will understand how awful it is to have a teacher hate you for no apparent reason, how rivalry with other students can get out of hand, and how important your best friends are.
Harry Potter taught me English. I don’t think that without these books I would have been as eager to pick up a foreign language. I have, by now, read it in German, English, French, Spanish and Swedish and if I ever decide to learn another language (very doubtful), I will probably start by reading Harry Potter again. The story doesn’t get old. It offers humor and thrilling action, the most lovable characters around and all sorts of other things I long for in a book.
All praise aside, on rereading it last Christmas, I did notice that it is much simpler in style than the later books in the series. That doesn’t take away the pleasure but compared to what’s to come, it is a rather straight-forward, simple plot of boy saves world. But we all know, it gets much darker soon…
In short, Harry is my personal escapist heaven. I don’t believe I’ll ever tire of this series and I don’t think any other books have been this dear to my heart for so long.
THE GOOD: An explosion of the imagination, a quick read, memorable characters and a series that has moved the world.
THE BAD: Comparatively, the language is simple and some adults may find it too childish.
THE VERDICT: I feel silly when I say, this is wholeheartedly recommended to anyone. It’s a part of my childhood and I will read it to my children. Now that even my sceptical boyfriend is enjoying the book, I can safely say that Harry Potter is special and if you don’t read it, you are missing out on something big.
RATING: 8/10 Excellent
The Harry Potter series:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows