Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

An entertaining read, capturing the imagination and providing for me, the one totally essential ingredient in any book. Empathy. I could empathise with the characters, I cared about them and what happened to them. Even a jaded old git like myself has to admit that the book was easy to read, good value for money, and entertaining. Ok, I didn’t spend hours thinking about it, nor did I cry at the end, but never-the-less, the book was well written, colourful, and full of people that mattered.

A boy discovers he isn’t a waste of space after all, learns about his past, discovers his inner strength, and grows. A typical story, presented in refreshing way. Let’s hope it leads a whole bunch of kids [and not-kids] to start reading more.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Well, well. The second Harry Potter book (Chamber of Secrets) isn’t anywhere near as good as the first. It feels contrived in too many places, slow to pick up and then rushed to finish at the end.

The same characters are present, and they are still interesting. The story is weak however, and it feels as though the author felt the book had to have the same pattern as the previous one – of course it is set within the timetable of a school year so some things are bound to seem regimented.

Some funny moments, lots of long not interesting moments, some nice dialog, plenty of annoying dialog.

Overall, not impressed, but then it had a lot to live up to with the first one being rather good. Let’s hope the third one (Prisoner of Azkaban) is better.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

J. K. Rowling is either amazingly lucky, or a brilliant genius (or, stating the obvious, some combination of the two). The fourth in the Harry Potter line of books is, without doubt, her best yet. Darker and more emotional than the previous three, The Goblet of Fire focusses on the conflict between Harry and you-know-who.

Three magical schools come together to compete in a triwizard tournament, and Harry finds himself involved, whether he likes it or not. The plot is intriguing and engrossing, the young characters are as good as ever and growing older by the book and the older characters reveal a little more each time we meet them.

We have humour and moments of real emotion, interspersed with tension and moments of real concern. It’s still a book that kids can read and enjoy, and that has implications about it’s depth and complexity. But if there’s one thing it has in buckets, it’s writing which encourages empathy with the main players.

I’ve read all four Harry Potter books on the trot. For the first time in ages, I’ve read a book which isn’t by David Gemmell as my main recreational activity, rather than as a tiring out manoeuvre before going to bed. It might actually help me to get back into reading more often. Praise indeed.

And, the best praise of all, I’m looking forward to, I’m eager for, I’m anticipating, the fifth in the series.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

After the second Harry Potter book, I wasn’t holding out much hope for the third one. I mean, authors usually just get worse, I’ve never seen one have a dip and then recover.

Until now.

[Was that too melodramatic? Sue me 😉 ]

J. K. Rowling pulls herself together and delivers a riveting read, with many of the weaknesses from the second book stamped out. Gone is the totally obvious formula, gone are the long periods of boredom. We have a gripping story about Harry and his friends, and another bunch of new and weird adults. We have touching moments and thrilling scenes. More background history is revealed, and Harry gets to learn more about his past.

Well worth reading, as good as the first one, and ever-so-slightly more mature. Roll on book four.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)