on 23 December 2001
I enjoyed the first two Harry Potter books so much that I knew I was hooked. I wanted to read the next two books in their original (British) versions. (I had the American editions of the first two volumes.) When I saw amazon.co.uk's great price on the four-volume hardback box set, I ordered immediately.
THESE BOOKS ARE WONDERFUL! The British versions have much, much nicer covers; I like the fact that the dustjacket art is printed on the hard covers of the actual books, "schoolbook style." Text-wise, a few words here and there are changed for American readers ("tank" instead of "cistern"), and I personally enjoy encountering the original Britishisms (such as "gormless") instead of the American "translations."
THE MOST IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UK AND US EDITIONS: The US editions of the books have small black-and-white illustrations at the beginning of each chapter which usually give away important plot points and completely ruin the suspense of what is going to happen. What a terrible idea! I prefer no illustrations at all, UK-edition-style.
The one drawback to the British editions is that they are not printed on paper that is as good as the US editions (although the UK books' paper quality is vastly improved by book four). The first book's paper is worse than the paper used in most paperbacks; a real disappointment, quality wise. But the stories are so good you won't care!
on 23 November 2001
Harry Potter Books 1-4. I've read them all and loved every word. I couldn't wait for the next book to come out as I was captivated not just by the story but by the fact that someone had all this stuff in her head. J K Rowling has produced such a work of art from her imagination. One can only wonder at how she managed to actually get it onto paper.
Hogwarts Castle has been conjured in my imagination and I hope the movie reveals that I haven't lost the child in me. The characters, so magnificently described, captivated me. Such places like Diagon Alley and Billy Botts where such a diverse range of critters, witches, goblins and students could all hang out together. I loved the Quidditch Championships where they all camped in tents of magnificent beauty and upon entering turned into the most exquisite homes. I loved the twists in the characters themselves so you were always guessing who the bad guy was, brilliant. And of course Harry's Aunt, Uncle and cousin sound perfectly horrid and easily imaginable. Every one has a relative they can use as a model for these characters.
Where you can conjure up a portal, travel through a chimney and a mirror needs a password there has to be an extraordinary mind at work JK Rowling has inspired me to read just for fun. Not to worry whether the books are recommended for children or not. The first two books were a gift and I took one on my trip overseas not really thinking I'd have time to read, but let me tell you I couldn't put it down, I read the whole book and wished I'd taken the second one too..... Simply put, these books are fantastic and if you don't read them then you have missed out on something truly wonderful.
KAREN FEATON, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AGED 40)
on 3 July 2002
I too would like to heap praise on the literary delight that is Harry Potter. Despite being something of a late convert I am now one of the rank and file who willl extoll the virtues of this book for many moons. I spent five days reading the books for hours at a time, thoroughly enjoying the narrative style and quirky sense of humour on pratically every page. I am an avid reader, but very rarely has a writer ever catapulated me so convincingly into another world on the pages of a book. I hadn't seen the film until I read all the books and I was for once, not too disappointed with the translation onto screen. I would be hard pushed to pick a favourite installment of Mr Potter's adventures thus far, each one being distinct from another but working together well. I thank J K Rowling for bringing us a book which evoked such excitement and relish normally confined to childhood years. She has engineered a story that will grasp the oldest and most jaded of imaginations as well as bringing about a much needed renaissance to childrens' literature and the kids' accompanying interest levels. The level of committment and nurture that these stories demanded is not to be underestimated. I was amazed at the attention to detail which goes on to weave an intoxicating mystery adventure coupled with comedic nods and genuine moments of pathos. I simply cannot wait for the next tale - undoubtedly as fantastic as the ones before it.
on 12 November 2001
I've just finished studying and needed some escapism. A whole year after my friends & family went Potter-crazy - driving me crazy with words like Hagrid, Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Quidditch - I have finally come of age and now know what the fuss is all about. I borrowed the Philosopher's Stone and after a 3-hour train journey I had devoured it. I was actually fighting back the tears during the last chapter because I was absolutely astounded that an entire new world has been created, which through emphasis on very human emotions is very feasibly integrated into every-day life. The story is sheer delight! The businessman opposite me on the train was flitting between the Chamber of Secrets and his laptop!! I bought the second book for my return train journey, I can't get enough, and I'm nearly 27! PLEASE if you haven't yet become acquainted with Harry's wonderful world you really ought to. DO believe the Hype.
on 5 November 2001
I bought the first book, 'The Philosophers Stone' on a lazy sunday, just out of interest as to what all the hype was about...by the following weekend I had bought and finished the second book, and I'm not a particularly speedy reader...I was dying to find out if there was a third, which is why I'm here!
I'm 23 and haven't had as much pleasure from a book for a long time, I honestly could not put the books down.
Grown-ups, get reading!!
on 10 January 2002
Whil I was very cynical about these books from the hype surrounding the film, once I actually sat down to read them I was comepletely hooked from the very first page.
People whinge and whine about the formulaic plots and two dimensional characterisation, but it's strangely complulsive and very very addictive. The characters are not two dimensional - or maybe they are if your imagination is completely infertile, and does not engage with the characters and looks deeper than what's written on the page.
Make no mistake, these are not brainless books - if you want to derive maximum enjoyment from them you have to throw yourself in, but it's really worth it. Don't expect to be spoonfed every detail either - let yourself go and you'll find yourself wanderig along the Gryffindor Corridors, standing in the Quidditch Stadium or waltzing around the Yule Ball. I can't wait for the other three - the story that begins it's genesis in Book 4 is an incredibly dark and adult one, and a thrilling cliffhanger too. Thoroughly enjoyable and seriously worth your money - you'll read them, you're kids will read them, and there's a big chance that your kid's kid's will read them too.
I mean, he's just irresistable.
I put off and put off reading any Harry Potter books, but finally I succumbed to the allure of magical mischief and picked up this set, thinking I may as well read all four while I'm at it.
I read the first three in five days flat.
There's just something about these stories... They pull you in. You can start off determined to hate them, but they draw you in. You end up wondering if J K Rowling went to the same school as you, because you could swear you knew kids just like these when you were at school. Okay, so you did maths and science instead of divination and defence against the dark arts- but Rowling puts in character traits, situations and feelings that anyone can relate to.
Take, for instance, the way the Dursleys treat Harry when he stays with them in the summer holidays- I found myself growling out loud and grinding my teeth, wondering how Harry didn't blow the roof off, and empathising with his anger, as well as his long-sufferance. When Harry won the quidditch match, I actually jumped out of my seat and cheered. (I scared one of my cats witless)
I think the best thing about these books is their unpredictability. You can't see some things coming at all. It's amazing. I love the way small details end up meaning something really important by the end of the book.
Read these books- you really won't regret it at all. And if you want something your kids will enjoy, I read some Harry Potter to the kids I babysit and they love it. Just be prepared to make up some interesting different voices for the characters. ^_^
on 12 September 2002
About a year ago I thought that Harry Potter was just another fad for kids that would soon be forgotten. How wrong I was...
I saw the movie with a friend who was keen to go (both of us are in our mid-twenties), and we quite enjoyed it. I felt that I had seen better films, but it inspired me enough to read the first book. I LOVED it, and was completely hooked. I soon read the second and third books, and was so captured by the fourth that I couldn't put it down. It's by far the longest book in the series, but I got through it in one day. I'm now eagerly awaiting the fifth book, which I'm sure will be just as enthralling as the first four.
I love to read, but I don't recall being so caught up in a book (or books) since I read The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, and the other stories of Narnia as a child. Like Narnia, Harry's world is magical, yet somehow so believeable you can imagine yourself living there. You find yourself wishing you could play Quidditch, or sneak through the corridors of Hogwarts in the middle of the night, or take a stroll through Diagon Alley.
There are also shades of Roald Dahl in Rowling's books, in the nasty yet comical Dursley family (the horrible aunt, uncle, and cousin Harry lives with when not at school). Of course they always end up getting what they deserve.
You'll laugh and cry right along with Harry in these fantastic books. Take my advice and read them - it's a truly wondeful series!
on 11 March 2002
Ok, so you are reading all of these reviews and everyone is saying how great these books are, and you are thinking, ok fair enough, but why? When you start reading the first book, and by now you probably know the story, due to people telling, or you seeing the film, you are going be slightly sceptical. However, you will soon become enthralled by the story of this young boy, as he is growing up, in an environment where the rest of the world seem to know more about his life than he does. He is also going to a wizarding school, having great adventures that we all dreamed of as childen. Once you have read the first book, you will soon read the second, third and fourth quicker than you thought you could read any book. They are extrememly well written books, humourous, and scary, while being meticulous to detail, so there is nothing that leaves you wondering.J.K Rowling has been very ellusive about the details of further books in interviews, so as not to ruin them for the reader, so you, along with the rest of the world, will be waiting anxiously for the fifth book.
Basically, just read them, see what the hype is about, and you will enjoy them!!
on 8 March 2002
I can not believe that these books have have taken over my life, well almost. I have not read a book for five years and I am a slow and find reading hard work. My partner brought me the box set for Christmas and as normal I said I would get around to them. I have lots of books I have read a page or two and they are sitting in a book case in some one elses house! I read 3 books in just over 3 weeks and I am now on the 4th I read with such passion a very well writen and truely gripping book and at 43 years old can not wait until the 5th comes out!