4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2001
Ok, I''l admit it, I was a little skeptical of the "Harry Potter" craze that's been sweeping the world effecting young and old alike. What storyline could possibly be so engrossing that young children would sacrifice Playstaion time to read and adults would flock to bookstores wearing capes, witches hats, and wielding brooms to get the new edition at midnight? Fortunately, the Hogwarts express stops whenever you're ready to get on and I decided to walk through platform 9 3/4 and give it a whirl this last September. I'm an actor an had a lot of downtime in my last show. I went to the library and checked out the first book. Between scenes I picked up the book and read...and read...and read! I nearly missed many entraces as I became evermore fascinated with J.K. Rowling's characters and their magical world. I cleared through the entire series in 2 weeks of downtime during the run. It reads fast, but is delightful for adults and I can only imagine the countless hours of sleep children must miss with their flashlights in hands and bedsheets above their heads. Fantastic, wonderful, amazing...You'll love it and wish you would've started sooner.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2003
I was fifteen when I was given the first three Potter books for Christmas. My aunt bought them for me. I unwrapped them, and my heart sank when I saw kids' books in my lap. I, of course, acted thrilled. I had never heard of the Harry Potter series. They remained on my bookshelf, untouched, for months (collecting dust around my vast Stephen King collection).
I think it was in late March or early April when I picked up the Sorcerer's Stone out of sheer boredom and began to read. I finished it the next day. I read the Chamber of Secrets even faster. The Prisoner of Azkaban was finished within a week of the time I opened the first book. Then I read them again. And again. And again. I still remember--I read them NINE times in a row.
I waited impatiently for the fourth to be released. It was that very summer, so my wait wasn't long. Being a longer book (and considering I was on vacation), it took me almost a week to finish it, but I read it about four times in a row.
I've only just finished the fifth book, and it's as magical as the rest. Don't deny yourself the privilege of reading these. If you've known how to read for more than a week, you owe it to yourself.
And don't let the witchcraft stuff scare you if you're religious. I am, too, and it isn't the slightest bit offensive. This is FANTASY, for goodness' sake, not occult textbooks. Give them a try before you decide that they're the work of the devil himself.
Read these. You will be spellbound, no matter what your age. I'm eighteen, macho tough-guy and all that. And I love 'em. You will, too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2002
I'm not a kid anymore. I'm an adult now. But somewhere in between childhood and adulthood a curse was cast upon me. I stopped reading. I used to read all sorts of books when I was young (if Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys sound familiar to you, then you'll know roughly how old I am). I read whatever I could get a hold of and it filled me with a sense of wonder and imagination. Reading filled voids during the lonely times, and gave me something to think about during the happy times.
It's kind of ironic that a children's book should make me fall in love with reading again. But this book did the trick. From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I slowly read the next book in the series, then the next and the next. Each book got progressively thicker, but that didn't matter. The stories come to life with humorous characters and this world of witchcraft and wizardry. I was beginning to imagine again!
After reading the four books in the series, I said to myself "Hey, that wasn't so bad. I wonder why I stopped reading." From that point on, I started with The Hobbit, then The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Then I saw the movie trailer for The Bourne Identity which stars Matt Damon and I looked for the book it was based on. That led me to explore the world of espionage and international conspiracies according to Robert Ludlum. From here, I realized that I should probably balance my reading between fiction and non-fiction. So I read Good to Great, a business book by Jim Collins (the author of Built to Last), Jack: Straight from the Gut (about Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE), Made in America (about Sam Walton, the founder of WalMart). With a seamingly endless sea of titles to choose from and written by authors I did not know, I started one book at a time from each "famous" (atleast to the world around me) author. I've read current books by John Grisham, Jonathan Kellerman, Sandra Brown, Carol Higgins Clark, Robin Cook, Tess Gerritsen, and many many more. From this sampling, I've developed a sense of what I like and don't like. I've discovered what "formulas" these authors use. All this in a span of 5 months.
I don't even realize how caught up I get when I describe to my friends the books I've read and the books I plan to read. It's truly an indescribable feeling to once again find the passion for reading. And it all started with this simple children's fantasy book.
So would I recommend this book? Wholeheartedly! To kids and adults alike.
If you're something of a late-comer to the addiction that is Harry Potter, this boxed set is pretty much a no-brainer. You get the first four books in the series in a very impressive and artistically appealing format, each volume a more than worthy bearer of the magic, fascination, and all-around magical wonder that is Harry Potter, complemented extremely well by the seemingly simple and subdued yet quite telling and well-nigh perfect illustrations of Mary GrandPre. All four of these books are enthralling, and I heartily recommend you do purchase them all at once; it's amazing how long a wait of just a day or two can be if you find yourself finished with one of these volumes and unable to immediately pounce upon the next one in the series. Thrill to the wonder of Hogwarts and its world of magic in The Sorcerer's Stone, delve gleefully into the mysteries contained within the Chamber of Secrets, watch in fascination as the story of The Prisoner of Azkaban is revealed, and then get ready to enjoy the lengthy yet all too short narrative of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, easily the best book in the series thus far and, quite honestly, one of the most compelling, exciting, thoroughly enjoyable novels I have ever read. If you want to know what all of the incredible hype is about, you really owe it to yourself to visit the magical world of Harry Potter, and this boxed set is the perfect avenue by which to enter the realm.
on July 23, 2005
WOW- I absolutly FELL IN LOVE with these books, and all because of how good the first one was. Some people may say that if you read the first couple of pages of a book, and it doesn't really "light your fire" then don't bother with the rest. I BEG to differ! The first chapter of Harry Potter #1 might make little sense to one, until you have read farther along into it. I know I didn't really "get it" at first, but I kept reading. So don't listen to those people who say don't bother!
Because this is one of the best series of books ever written. Right up there with "The Hobbit"- that's something big. And for those who are worried about their children learning bad lessons from Harry, about sneaking around, keeping secrets, witchcraft?!?!, ; people, just relax. Don't over anyalse it, (it's a BOOK! not some devil worshipping cult, I still can't get over how some people are so prejeduced against it and won't even read it because they think it will "corrupt their children" and think that Harry Potter will lead them down the not-so-primrosed path. Qualities of loyalty, honour, love, friendship, and good against evil are very prominent, and clear to see in these books.
I think everyone will enjoy these books entirely! They're not just children's books, they're books that everyone can read and benefit from.
If I could rate this book ( and it's series ) as 10 stars, I would!
on October 8, 2003
I'll admit it. I didn't want to read the Harry Potter series at first. I bashed it and mocked it. I ridiculed all my friends who were fans of this young wizard. I had spoken, I outright refused to read these books........
Famous last words, eh?
To prepare to see the movies, I decided to read the books. I told my friends that I didn't expect to like them. I wasn't to be easily converted. After reading the first page of 'Philosophers' Stone,' I was hooked. I put off important things to quench my insatiable thirst for these excellant books. Before long, I had read the entire series and considered myself to be a fan of the highest order. I lamented the fact that I had to be in Munich when the 5th book came out, luckily, they sold Englich copies there and I was able to read it while sitting in the Haufbrauhaus. I had the volumous 5th book read in a matter of days.
For those of you who don't like Harry Potter and haven't read them, give them a chance. Don't worry about the fact that you are being a conformist. They are really excellant books and I give them the highest praise and recommendation.
on August 18, 2003
Most people associate Harry Potter with little kids or strange adults with no lives (I know I sure did)but into my first book's page I was pleasantly proven wrong.
The first Harry Potter book basically is an introduction into the wizarding world for all us Muggles and lays the groundwork for the following books. It's a short, interesting read and is essential to understanding the rest of the books.
The second book is darker, and one of my favorites. Here Harry discovers a new ability and meets for the second time with You-Know-Who, who's possessing a teacher in his school.
The third book is one of my least favorites, though the beginings and endings make up for the middle which I found rather slower reading (though still interesting). Here, Harry meets with Sirius Black, and finds out some important things about his parents' lives and deaths. Again, laying some groundwork for the future.
And then we come to my favorite book of the series, including five. The Goblet of Fire centers on the Triwizard Tournament, and with it comes crushes, fights, and a believable teen angst-filled trio.
But the ending, with an unexpected death, the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and a rift with the Ministry is the best parts of all. Here, you feel the series changing into a more adult Harry, a Harry with a real burden,not just a little kid with a scar anymore.
The boxed set is the best way to introduce yourself to the series because after reading these, all you have to do is (hem, hem) go and get Number 5.
Believe me, cynic now, you'll be waiting on line outside your bookstore for Number 6 behind me.
on June 29, 2003
I didn't read this book because i was thinking it was going to be another boring childrens book. But when I happen to come by it in the book store I said to myself "What the hell least read the book and see what it is all about" and i did. I was so happy i didn't wait any longer after I the book. I was absorbed into that book after the first few pages. Rowling really has a gift. She makes it seem like you are walking right next to Harry and going to all the stuff he is doing. For the people that give the book negative reviews you really need to think twice about this book. How could not get sucked into this book after the first chapter. I was happy i waited to read it when the 3rd one came out. Then I didn't have to wait years for the next one to come out. I would have to say my favorite out of all the Harry Potter books are Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They had to be the greatest out of all of them. I read the 3rd one 3 times now and i think i'm going to read it again. How could you not want to read the Harry Potter book with Professor Lupin over and over. The 4th book was also very good.
If you like books that make it seem when you read it that you are right in there with the characters you should also read.
Philip Pullman "His Dark Materials series" The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and the Amber Spyglass
Terry Pratchett "Discworld series"
C.S.Lewis "The Chonicles of Narnia"
Those are also very good if you want to read something when you have a lot of free time. Still I can't imagen people not liking the Harry Potter books. It just can't be possible. Well this is just me talking so I will shut up and you can go out and buy the whole collection of Harry Potter and sit down and get taking in by the greatness of the books.
on June 26, 2003
Unfortunately those who have criticized these book thus far, have utterly failed to recognize the earmarks of a modern classic. While it should not be compared to J.R.R. Tolkiens work on a literal level, as Harry Potter is "Modern Fantasy" and J.R.R. Tolkien's entire series of work is what is termed as "Epic Fantasy", this series may prove to deserve nothing less in stature among the classics of this genre then the Great Tolkien. It follows the same struggle of "good" vs "evil" as Tolkien, the coming of Age theme(both Harry and Frodo), the struggle for identity (a multitude of characters in both books), the question as to why evil things happen to good people, learning not to judge from appearance, and the list goes on and on. Both series scope of the human condition is magnificently broad in their own unique way, and it stands to reason then, that because that is what makes something a classic and to be remembered and treasured for generations, Harry Potter will eventually achieve this. To those of you who decry this book just because of religious differences, shame on you and grow up, this book has nothing to do with the modern Pagan religions nor does it mix in any conotations or allusions to mythology period. If you don't like fantasy, don't read it, if you like fantasy and are put of by the witches and wizards, drop the pious hypocracy and chose another book. As for its realism to magick, this is a work of Fantasy oh ye disgruntled Pagans, go look to another subgenre called "Magic Realism," if you want to criticize books for their accuracy to real world mystical practices. That is all there is to it folks, like on T.V. you can change the channel or buy another book, though so regrettable that you may miss one of the classics of our generation(who has produced so little that can be called that) simply because of a philosophical objection that has no basis in anything a reasonable person could call reality.
on June 6, 2003
I thought that these books were way over dramatized, until I read them. I normally try to avoid popular trends, as they lead to lack of individuality. But, as a part time substitute teacher, I was in a 7th grade class one day where the students were actually good! Bored, I began browsing the teacher's shelves for a good book to get me through my day. I saw Harry Potter, and thought "Why not? It can't be all that bad." I was completely right. It was and is still the best thing I have ever read, besides the following three in the series.
While desperately awaiting the fifth book, I keep stumbling onto reviews for the first four. I am shocked and deeply disappointed that there are people in the world who have read them and still do not like these books. I could tell you my addiction to the series in detail, or the facts you have already heard about how these books are actually getting kids to read and are experiencing such wide-spread popularity, but instead I will fire away at the VERY few readers that have placed bad reviews on here.
1. These books are NOT a waste of trees.
2. As a long time fan of the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Ring, Harry Potter IS much better.
3. The only ways these books are predictable are if you have read them before, somehow found out what happens, or if you can see into the future. I can usually predict what happens in stories, but these books had me stumped until the very end. Some details I figured out, but the meat of the climax was incredibly exciting.
4. These books are NOT hard to understand. To the people who said that, I must insist that you reread them, because I know many average 7-year-olds who had no trouble with these.
That's pretty much it. I have been holding off writing my own review because, let's face it, everyone else already has. But, tonight, when I saw ten or so negative remarks, I HAD to say something.