Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
Review by Amanda White
The Philosopher’s Stone is the first book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. These novels have made Rowling the most successful literary author of all time and have sold in excess of 375 million copies world-wide. The books are read by children and adults alike and have been made into hugely popular films. The seventh book in the series, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows is due out in June 2007.
Do the Harry Potter books live up to the hype? I have avoided reading them for almost 5 years now but have finally decided to read the series as it now stands and to see what all the fuss is about.
I began reading the Philosopher’s stone and was immediately struck by how good the humour was. You usually need to read Pratchett to be able to sustain constant laughter throughout a novel but J.K. Rowling has managed to infuse the book with a ready wit that will amuse both adults and children.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: The Vanishing Glass
There are characters in this book that will remind us of those people we have known and those that we still know. Everybody knows or knew a spoilt, overweight boy like Dudley or a bossy and interfering (yet kind-hearted) girl like Hermione. A large number of the younger readers will also be able to easily identify with Harry and especially his initial feelings of isolation and not belonging, and then through to his excitement at finally leaving that life behind in favour of one where he belongs and will be happy.
Harry is not alone on being overawed by his first day at Hogwarts and little prepares them for the majesty of the school.
There was a loud ‘Oooooh!”
The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: The Journey From Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
Hogwarts is a truly magical place, not only in terms of teaching wizards and witches, but also in the detail that the author has gone to describe it. It is the place that everybody wishes they could of gone to when they where eleven. Many adventures befall the trio (Harry, Ron & Hermione) at Hogwarts and the stone in the book's title is centre-piece to all that happens. The story builds well towards and exciting conclusion that has the ultimate feel-good factor.
J.K. Rowling should be commended for making reading once again fashionable for the young adult age group that had succumbed to the lures of video games and television. The biggest surprise may well have been the effect that this novel had on the adult population, both male and female. Many a commuting train full of world-wearing workers can be spotted with Harry Potter books that are providing a wonderful sense of escapism. This book should be highly recommended to anybody between the ages of 8 and 80.
Is all the hype about the Harry Potter books justified? In a word, yes, the books are a joy to read and possibly the most rewarding young adult’s book since [Professor Tolkien’s] The Hobbit.
Iris from Mexico
It was the book that taught me to love reading. And discover the feeling not to be able to leave the chair until you have finished the book. Highly recommended.
Harihara from India
No words can say how much I like this. The best series ever.
Sweata from India
It is a very thrilling book and also it has an interesting mythology... I loved this book very much... I thank J.K. Rowling for writing such a great book...
Samantha from Canada
Amazing, gripping, magnificent.
Sathwik from India
Harry Potter is awesome. It has a lot of action.
Joshua from England
Harry Potter to some is a "boring", "overexaggerated" book with no life in it whatsoever. Those people are absolute idiots. J.K. Rowling's books are gripping, stunning and filled with so much literature. The magic between the pages is just thrilling, when I started reading this particular book in my youth - around 4 years ago, I'm 13 now - it was impossible to put down, I would not sleep until it was finished. Lucky for me I'm a fast reader. In a few words Harry Potter is amazing: gripping and intelligent.
Shubham Mk from India
Just one word... CLASSIC!!! Thumbs up!!
Sarah from Pakistan
I liked this book very much, but this is my first book in the Harry Potter series and now I am very excited to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets which I've got to read in the school holidays but this book is really awesome and I hope Chamber of Secrets will also be as interesting as this!!!
Julia from America
I thought it was brill!
Jimwel from Philippines
I really love the Harry Potter books, in fact I already finished reading all those 7 series and I really crave for more books. Hope J.K. Rowling make additional series but I don't suppose she will. But who knows?
Tom Marvolo Riddle from England
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the best book of all time!
Ieuan Jones from UK
I love Harry Potter but I think the first one lacks some action, where as the others have a lot of action from near the start, like Chamber of Secrets - there's the bit near the end where Harry kills the Basilisk and the Prisoner of Azkaban, there's the Womping Willow, whereas the first one isn't very exiting because all it is the first part of the end they get through that in like 2 mins of the film and then all they do is play chess and then Harry goes on to get bought in a fire for like a minute and then all it is is him in bed and Dumbledore steeling his sweet. So yeah, it isn't the best book but I think I would put it about 6th out of the eight :D
Amelia from Australia
I LOVE THIS BOOK AND ALL THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES!! They are so engaging and make the reader actually want to be a wizard!! I am absolutely crazy about Harry Potter!! My room is filled with Harry Potter stuff because I am so in-love with these books!!!
Andy from Reading
I have heard a lot of criticism of these books by quite a few adults, and whilst the writing may not be the best they are quite clearly wrong. These books have successfully engaged not just millions of young people across the world but millions of adults as well. Any author who can achieve such a following must be doing something right. Sometimes you just have to enjoy the story and go with the flow, yes there are shortcomings, however in this case it doesn't really matter if it gets millions of people engaged in reading.
Sarah from London
GREAT! That's all I can say!
Cat Fitzpatrick from London
A children's classic, what more can you say? Luckily I was eleven when the first book came out so I was the right age to follow them over the years, but I go back to them again and again even though I'm an adult because there's so much joy to be had in this magic, vivid world. It's funny, charming, heart-breaking and utterly wonderful.
Visenna from Poland
Really great, but still rather for younger readers.
Ankita from India
I love to watch the Harry Potter series.
Adam from Gregory
J.K. Rowling has sharp, lucid prose that carries Harry Potter beyond the realms of simple children's fantasy and into that of timeless literature. It's accessible and clear but at times it can be poetic and downright funny. In addition to her concise writing style, Harry Potter is populated with interesting and relatable characters that the reader can (and will) fall in love with. Yes, you could argue the plot devices are nothing we haven't seen before. Sometimes they even border on cliche. And yes, you could also argue that the villain is a bit too simple on the morality side of things. But none of this really matters, because the Harry Potter series are a helluva lot of fun to read and have a blast-ended-skrewt-sized heart.
Ian from Lisburn
The greatest fantasy series of a generation. If you haven't read these books yet please come out of your cave and rejoin the rest of the world!!! They reminded me why I love reading and fantasy.
Sharnali from London
The Harry Potter books to me are AWESOME!!! They are legendary. J.K Rowling is an inspiration, a William Shakespeare of the present day! ;]
Leisale from Vanuatu
The only word I have for the Harry Potter series is that they are... AWESOME!!!!
Kaan Can from Turkey
Harry Potter's magical world was created perfectly by JK Rowling. It's really interesting!!! The book series and movies are great!! This is a world phenomenon!! Read these books!
Samir from Oran
I wasn't going to read the Harry Potter series because I thought it was an overrated children's book. But one day, I decided that I had to see for myself why so many people liked this series. I couldn't be more wrong. It's an amazing fantasy series with a very solid and interesting mythology. The first book is great but the following books are even better.
Laura from England
I love Harry Potter, I started reading it in primary school and I keep re-reading the whole series - it's amazing! I love the magic of it all, it's so unique. I must have read the series through at least 6 times now, and I don't get bored! They are brilliant. I love all the characters, they're so interesting. This book is just....wow! Not my favourite of the series but I still love it... I like it when they go through the trap door, it's hard to stop reading :)
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