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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
I've read the Spanish translation of Harry Potter as part of my attempts to read and continue learning Spanish. Starting off with the translation, yes it is indeed biased towards Latin American usage but that should in no way affect your enjoyment of the book, as long as you aware of the vosotros forms why should it? If you had learnt Spanish with Michel Thomas and...
Published on 24 Jun. 2008 by heavy_t

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1.0 out of 5 stars Why Pottermore? Very disappointing and SLOW.
This is of course a wonderful book, that goes without saying, but the process you have to go through to get it on your kindle is dreadful. First you get re-directed to a site called Pottermore, then you have to set up an account with them, then you can finally buy the book. It is now downloading to my kindle at the pace of a snail. Very very painful and disappointing...
Published 7 days ago by Rosajo


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Double review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan) v. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Rowling), 8 April 2015
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Double book review:

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Rowling)

These are two very different books, aimed at roughly the same age bracket and both the start of a multiple volume series.

To appreciate Harry Potter's book, one must have acquired a taste for quality writing, attention to detail and subtlety. To appreciate Percy Jackson's one only has to be able to read (a penchant for Greek mythology will also come in handily).

Harry Potter is very well written, using a language that is simultaneously sophisticated and accessible to younger readers, a no mean feat. It is also the epitome of Britishness. There is a posh quality to it, an underlying assumption that readers must make an effort and have cultivated some sort of "good" literary taste. This is a book that goes well with shoegazing, faded wallpapers (the ones on actual walls, not the digital ones) and unbelievably bad sartorial choices. On the weak side (yes, I know it sounds odd, but I was being appreciative...) the book is slightly boring, doesn't have that much of a plot and sounds more like a diary than an adventure story.

Percy Jackson is pure American entertainment industry fodder. It is competently written, but just so. It is imaginative and evolves at a regularly fast pace. It is a page turner (which Potter struggles to be) and is easily enjoyable. In a sense, and within the constraints of both books being roughly the same genre and for the same public, they are the opposite of each other. This is a book that goes well with Aerosmith, baseball caps and deluded world views.

In the end both books get four stars but for very different reasons. Rick Riordan's book reaches the epitome of everything it sets itself to be, but its goal is one that, even if honed to perfection, is never worth more than four stars. Rowling's book aims higher but doesn't quite get there, so fails to earn the last star, which it could have earned had it managed to be more of a page turner without losing any of its present qualities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The start of a classic series, 8 Feb. 2010
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I don't give out five star ratings very often. In my view a book has to be simply excellent to warrant it - it has to be a book that I return to again and again. In my opinion, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone falls into this category. It isn't as though it's a perfect book - the writing is pretty ropey at times and the basic story is not dissimilar to others I have read - but it is a warm, entertaining, and very inventive read.

Who doesn't know the story by now? Harry Potter is on the cusp of his eleventh birthday, living with the beastly Dursleys, when he is visited by Rubeus Hagrid who informs Harry that he is a wizard. From here Harry goes to Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He finds out that he is famous, thanks to events that occurred when he was just a child and managed to defeat Voldemort (or He Who Must Not Be Named). In this first tale about Harry, we are swept into the world of wizardry and straight into a first-class mystery about the object being guarded by a three-headed dog...

So why do I love this book so much? Well, I can tell you why I don't love it! The plot is straight out of other books - who hasn't read about the orphan child who discovers hidden powers, and learns to use them in order to defeat evil? When have we not met a kindly elderly gentleman with long white hair and rather formidable magic skills? I can name a number of authors who have written about similar ideas, especially in the field of fantasy. Rowling is writing nothing original here, in terms of plot.

The reason why I was so taken by this lovely debut novel is the 'surroundings' to the plot. The world of Hogwarts and the fantastic little twists on familiar items that Rowling adds in are simply superb. Right from the first time we hear about chocolate frogs that can actually jump, and portraits which the subjects sometimes leave, I was hooked and felt that every little detail of the world was delightful.

Rowling also writes with great humour and an appreciation for the minds of children, and what would appeal to them. My favourite moment in this respect is when Harry and Ron are being held by the Devil's Weed and Hermione is fretting about not having wood for a fire when Ron yells "Have you gone mad? Are you a witch or not?" The relationship between the three main characters is written beautifully, from the way they defend each other to the bickering that breaks out amongst them.

In fact, all of the characters are very solid - it is easy to see this when people who have read the series pick out different favourites! I enjoyed the sarcasm and quiet menace of Snape, and was keen to find out more about the reasons why he hates Harry so much. McGonagall reminds me of my old English teacher (stern, but with a heart of gold underneath).

The writing is reminiscent of both Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. From the former, Rowling cherrypicks ideas from her various school stories (e.g. Malory Towers - castle-like school on a cliff, with four Houses, travel by train to get there). From the latter, she uses the sheer inventiveness and wit of taking common items or ideas and turning them on their heads. I have no objections to the hint of plagiarism since I love both authors and hence have taken this series to my heart as well.

Extremely good fun and a great way to encourage younger readers. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clever, 16 Jan. 2007
By 
Furio (Genova - Italy) - See all my reviews
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This is a review of the adult edition: I do not know how much it differs from the children's one.

After watching the first four movies I finally decided to have a look at the book to see things at their source, so to say, and found it satisfying.
The first point I wish to stress is that the first movie is a more than adequate rendering of the book: some of the plot has been changed but the atmosphere is just the same. Where he movie clearly surpasses the book itself is the visualisation: Ms Rowling has no outstandin talent for -or is just not interested in- the settings while the scenographers of the movie clearly have, plenty of... Hogwarts and the other minor locations, which are so very much alive and impressive in the movies, are rather dim in this first book.

As it is well known (this is the 500th reviews... no attempt at originality therefore) the author had the brilliant idea of mixing the depiction of a typical British institution that has already been source of inspiration for hundreds of works such as public schools with the love for magic and fantasy stories that was budding at the time.

Apart from this (a this that earned its author so many millions of pounds I cannot begin to think about) there is nothing outstanding in her book: the writing is neat, at times witty, the plot straightforward, characterization consistent, but there is no trace of genius in all these pages: we are not faced with a new Shakespeare nor with an irresistible entertainer: we have a clever story (clever, not honest: there are many cunning devices here) that flows unerringly to its end providing a fair amount of satisfaction.

An outright flaw is one I needed a little time to grasp: style inconsistency. It seems to me that Ms Rowling started writing with a children's story in mind but later her true inspiration, which is a much darker one, overtook her pen giving birth to gloomier paragraphs. I love dark fantasy, I really do, but this continuous shift between two different attitudes is not pleasing nor show a complete control of writing skills.

I am buying the following books to have more fun and hoping the author has improved in time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic moralistic beauty, 9 July 2006
If reading this review, I assume you belong to three types of character. You are either

a) Wondering whether you should buy this book DESPITE the hype and want to know if it is as good as it's rumoured to be

b) You may have read it in the distant past and are lightly skimming a review to see if you want to obtain a copy

c) Bored and reading the reviews in case you find an opinion you dislike in a review and can comment on or simply want a fresh look

Well, whatever you are, "a" "b" or "c" and I assume the majority will be "a" I am going to recommend this book.

I always maintain that in most cases, if the book is well-written and has an okay plot line whether it's a good book or not is entirely up to the reader. And in a lot of cases, the first Harry Potter book is a good book. Below I attempt to outline the main reasons I think it is:

1. It is well-written and funny. J. K. Rowling has an inescapable wit and charm that permeates her books. The detail and intricacy cannot help but be adored and her level of observation reminds you in part of another literary giantess, Jane Austen. (Albeit in a modern guise for those of you who insist Jane Austen's genius can be compared to none.)

2. The imagination that is drawn into it is astonishing and you realise the level of intelligence this woman possesses to have created such a complex, diverse and yet intensely loveable world.

3. The morals are perhaps the main reason (and this fact becomes more relevant as the series progresses) the whole good overcoming evil concept is immensely gratifying. Indeed, you may observe that Harry is one of the truly good characters of the series, devoid of any malice.

4. The pronounced humanity. Harry's confused grief at his parent's death, and in further books, other significants, strikes a chord in many hearts. It makes it a book to treasure.

Whether you will like this or not, I don't have any control over but if I retain the ability to sway you in a direction, I hope it's positive because despite the hype and despite the pretended paganism it is a fantastic novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Much Loved Classic!!!, 18 April 2005
By 
DAVID_HIRST "David_Hirst_Is_A_Legend" (WAKEFIELD, WEST YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND!!!) - See all my reviews
Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone is a classic book that has become legendary in its short existance since being published.
Rarely, it has to be pointed out, does this happen such is the measure of this fine book and a credit to its author who i and many others are greatful to for toiling away to create this extraordinary feat of literature.
As well as gearing people up for the following chronicles of Harry Potter, The Philosophers Stone stands out remarkably strong in its own right and would be celebrated just as much should it have been a stand alone book.
One of its many qualities is that it is such an enjoyable read and that it endures after repeated readings.
Also, despite its theme of witchraft and wizadry its characters are very much grounded in reality, to the extent that it is easy to relate to and identify with their experiences. For example the suffering Harry goes through by having to live with the Dursleys, as well as the conflict he encounters with Draco Malfoy and his stooges, not forgetting also the sentiment and loss Harry expresses over seeing his parents in ' the mirror of erised '
The Philosophers Stone is indeed a book of adventure but a very human adventure incorporating the classic tale of good versus evil.
It is a pleasure and a joy to be with Harry as he takes his first tentative steps into the realm of being a famous wizard, as he becomes familiar with his new fascinating life and as he becomes acquainted with his friends and foes.
Each aspect in the book is memorable, leaving an indeliable impression, like when Harry first meets Hagrid, when he takes his first trip to Diagon Alley and then every experience that unfolds once he arrives at Hogwarts. I make particular reference to the tense and climactic finale where an act of bravery and sheer cunning highlights great things to come from Harry, and his friends.
With a legacy that has seen the release of a film that compliments the book in every way, upon finishing reading Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone it is a difficult choice to make as wether to continue on with the next installment or to re-read it once again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is where it all began, 10 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
So, this is how it all began.
As a general rule, the first book in a series can sometimes be a bit slow. So much characterisation, so little time. But with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling manages to subtly weave together the characterisation of Harry, Ron and Hermione and still leave time to add elements of plot into the mix. Of course, the real action doesn't begin until you have gotten some way into the book, as would be expected - you can't just rush him to Hogwarts in a couple of pages!
And this is what I love about the Harry Potter books. Everything, from the characterisation to the colour of the decorations, is meticulously crafted. JK Rowling offers so vivid a picture of Harry's world that I hardly need to do any work at all - just sit and let the images she creates surround me.
As the beginning to the series, the book nicely sets up the key characters of Harry, Ron and Hermione and also introduces us to the other players in the book - the weird Professor Quirrell (Defence Against the Dark Arts), the slimy Professor Snape (Potions), the strict Professor McGonagall (Transfiguration), the zany Madame Hooch (Flying) and, of course, the eccentric Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore, as well as Harry's principle enemies, Draco Malfoy and his lackeys Crabbe and Goyle.
With this book, JK Rowling has opened up a world of magic and adventure that even Muggles can't resist - as I can tell from just reading both mine and my brother's Christmas list! Harry Potter clothes, boxed sets, soundtracks, computer games - and most of all the movie dominating our screens this Christmas.
All I can say is, 'Woohoo!'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book we have read in our english lesson, 11 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
Since 1 month we are reading this book in our english lesson in Germany, and we both think it's really marvellous. It's the first interesting and funny book in school, and we're also glad to get more information about the author and her story. We talk about the timetable of Harry and about different parts of his lessons (just like palm reading) so we can really imagine what Harry's life is like. We like the funny characters of the different people in Harry's school and the easy, but very entertainment way how J.K.Rowling describes the life of this young, extraordinary boy. It's so much different reading this book than always reading Shakespeare or something else what is not from our time. It's easy to read and we don't have to look up every word. The interesting thing about the story of Harry Potter is the great dfference between his first, quiet hard life at the family Dursley where he has to live in a cupboard under the stairs. Nobody likes him, and the family he lives with is really strange. But when he get's the inviting to the Hogwarts school, his life changes totally because now he only meets persons who live a life which is so much different from the Muggle life. Suddenly he joins a world full of witches, wizards and other unbelieveable creatures. First he just goes to school like all the others, but during his year he and his best friends Ron and Hermione try to rescue the Philosopher's stone. In the end the reader can really feel how Harry fights against Lord Voldemort. This part of the book is so interesting and exciting like a crime that we can't stop reading. All in all, it's a fantastic story for children and adults, and we can't get enough of it. Stefanie and Kristina
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Potter has no equal!, 25 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
J.K. Rowling seems to be the printed version of Steven Spielberg--and she can't seem to miss! And refreshing it is to see a series of "children's literature" become so succesful--owing to its page after page of exciting delights! In Book 1 of this incredibly successful series (financially and otherwise), we find probably the most famous 11-year old in the world--Harry Potter!
We meet young Harry as the ward of some very repulsive relatives (aunt, uncle, cousin), who clearly detest Harry (they make him sleep in a broom closet!). It does not take the reader long to sympathize with Harry. And then--something magical happens. He is visited by a representative of "the other world" and is invited to attend Hogwarts, a school for wizards and witchcraft. Suffice it to say, Harry is permitted to attend Hogwarts and there the fun--and adventure--begins! Of course, Hogwarts is not without its villains, secrets, and "good fellas"! Harry proceeds to "learn the ways" of wizardry! Harry's destiny seems clear--that he is to follow in the footsteps of his parents, who, unbeknownst to Harry for the past 11 years, were wizards themselves. Exciting adventure after exciting adventure follow--and we are introduced to the sport of the century Quidditch, a soccer-like game where players compete on broomsticks. Under all the hoopla, of course, is the "secret of the philosopher's stone"--the principle plot concern here!
Harry's--and the readers'--adventures have just begun! Already three in this series have been published, with the long-awaited fourth set for July! I can just imagine the frenzy when Book No. 4 appears! I can hardly wait!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Achievement in the cagegory of (Children's) Lit !, 16 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
I bought the first book for my then-seven year old son, thinking that we could enjoy them together. Although he is a wonderfully capable reader, I didn't know whether he would be able to sit down and read such a large volume. Well, within one chapter I was dismissed and banished from his room, where he stayed until finished! I had to play catch-up to be able to discuss it with him. We have since had a lot of fun reading the first three books to one another. We purchased them to keep....the school library has 6 copies of each book and the waiting list is 50+ long FOR EACH TITLE! IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!
A word to anyone who has a concern about the "witch" content of these books. (This was a rallying point for some U.S. fundamentalist religions which did not want members' children reading the books). Don't let your children miss out on these stories because of hearsay....it simply isn't true! Rowling's stories are fiction, they are not a blueprint for becoming a witch any more than Star Wars is a blueprint for becoming a space-travelling Jedi! These stories are wonderfully moral, and provide numerous opportunities for talking to your children about fair play, courage, loyalty, responsibility, the obligation to do good....the possibilities are endless! I'm thrilled that this generation of children has a worthy talisman of literature that I am certain will remain popular for as long as there are books! But, Jo, could you maybe, just for me, do what the wonderful Malcolm Saville did with the Lone Pine books and let us have TWENTY volumes instead of just the seven??????? Thank you so much for this wonderful series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Potter-Well worth Reading!, 2 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
A friend of mine has been trying for months to get me to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but I refused to read it, insisting it wasn't the type of book I would would enjoy. Afterall, witches and wizards were just some of those things that can't happen and I never really liked books about the "impossible." However we made a deal where she would take me to our favorite restaurant if I'd read Harry Potter. So, I unhappily began reading the first chapter, half expecting to find that the book was a good book after all. But, it seemed a rather slow start that was boring. Same thing with the second chapter. Somehow I managed to get to the fourth chapter and I was surprised to find that somewhere along the line I'd gotten interested in the story. I read on, growing more and more interested as I read. The characters that seemed so dull and boring at first were now blooming into real characters! I found myself changing some opinions I started with. Hermione had seemed like such a know-it-all type of person at the beginning and by the end I was starting to like her. Her vast knowledge really helped Harry and Ron. Hagrid turmed out to be a friend to Harry and his friends. The story had a marvelous ending that only a brillant author like Joanna Rowling could have created to be fitting to this exceptional story. Some people have written reviews saying that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone doesn't live up to all the hype surrounding it. That's simply not true. Harry Potter may very well someday be a classic, like Charlette's Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Besides knowing that this book really was great, I know one more thing. I got the better end of the deal with my friend: Now I will get to go to the restaurant AND have had the opportunity to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. :o)
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