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on 3 October 2017
Considering I have had this preordered for about 7 months you can imagine my frustration when it came in today with marks all over the front cover. This isn't the first time this has occurred as well - do better, Amazon.

In terms of the actual book, the illustration quality remains outstanding but the QUANTITY has noticeably diminished from Philosopher's Stone! A few full page illustrations throughout the book but mostly text against a coloured background for pages on end.
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on 25 May 2004
I enjoyed this one most out of the five so far. It's the one where the characters get on best, their personalities come through very well, the story moves along and you find out more of Harry's background, and the school life is shown well. So why does it get only one star?
It gets one because it falls apart with Hermione and her time-travel thing. That undermines everything because suddenly anything anywhere can be changed. If you can suddenly mess about with time, then Voldermort could just go back and kill Harry's parents, or kill anyone in his direct family before he was born and suddenly NO MORE HARRY. It's such a massive plot hole and I can't believe JKR used it because it blows the series totally. If time travel is possible in Harry's world then nothing is ever final because everything can change at any moment, depending on who is controlling time itself. Big mistake, in terms of plot development. Try reading books four and five without thinking about Hermione's time piece. They don't work at all, because they should be very different once the principle of time travel is applied to them. If Harry could wind the clock back, suddenly the cause of all the problems in those books don't need to happen in the first place. Ooops.
If like me you love the idea of time travel then try reading ones where it's all been thought through properly, and the stories have been built on it. The Time Traveller's Wife is good, The Time Machine of course, and The Odessa Stone and The Guardian Of Time. They're all based on the effects and so on about messing with time or observing time passing by, and they work brilliantly because the principles get established about what's going on - and who's in charge of them! Most important, they're well thought out.
So if you can ignore the pitfall of JKR's folly in this one, which most people seem to do very easily, then you'll really enjoy the whole story, and the whole series as well. For me though, it's the most enjoyable story but it leaves a really big mess afterwards - but only if you think about it.
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on 3 October 2017
when you pre-order an item, you expect it to turn up or the company to actually get enough in stock.

i'm still giving 5 stars because as a massive harry potter fan i know i will not be disappointed when it eventually turns up,
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on 5 October 2017
Mixed feelings here. As a illustrated book of a childrens story (any old childrens story) it's very good. Good quality paper, print and binding. The art work of the illustrations is exceptional and beautifully done. The dust cover, well mine a first edition, don't know about latter copies, has a very tactile velvety texture which is pleasing to the touch. All very nice for any old childrens story book.
But it's not any old childrens story book; it's book three in the Harry Potter series of books and it's how it compares to the readers concept of the Harry Potter world that is the defining point of interest.
Well it as got past the misconceptions Jim Kay made in the first book and like the second is more inkeeping with the establish understanding of the Potter world and less like a generic cutesy picture book for infants the first one was. But, here it is the BUT, although it's captured the estabblished understanding of Potter World it's failed to grow with the reader. Where the first was too infantile the second pitched it just about right this one as stuck with, if not even retrogressed a little, the level of the second. But the stories don't. The stories age as Harry ages, each book charters a whole year of school and a whole year of Harry's life. So each new book moves up a year and the reading age corrospondingly so.
Book one concerns it's self with school (granted a somewhat magical school but never the less still a school) as experienced by a eleven year old child where as the final book that child is an adolescent on the threshold of becoming a man and the reading age of the book reflects this developement. The reader ages with Harry as they read so to speak and sadly (maybe I'm wrong and will find so when I delve deeper into this edition) I, so far, found no advancement of maturity in the illustrations of this volume from the previous. Still linguring in the first and second years when Harry is now a third year and has become a young teenager with all the anxious trepidations that age brings and so now I feel the illustrations should be becoming likewise more mature, just as beauitfull and magical, but this is the book that realy starts to explore the darker side of the world of Potter and if Mr Jim Kay persists in this style, beautiful as it is, it just won't work in the latter volumes, from the Goblet of Fire onwards, where the drama gets really dark and the lighter moments explore the sexual pubescent developement of the teenager among other more grown up emotions. But charming and pretty as they maybe, the illustrations, as Hermione once described Ron, have the emotional depth of a teaspoon.
But still, for the hardened Potter fan, worth having.
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on 2 August 2017
I have to say, I wasn’t expecting too much from this book seeing as my opinions of the previous two books haven’t been too amazing. You can read my review of book one and book two. But I did like this one a bit more than the other two, but only by a small margin. It was still pretty slow paced, but it did have me want to keep reading by the time I reached the middle.

What I was so happy about was that this book FINALLY had the Sirius Black in it that everyone is always talking about. The whole story sort of revolves around that plot line. The only sad thing about it was that it was sort of predictable… [SPOILER, HIGHLIGHT TO READ IT] As soon as everyone started to go on about how terrible Sirius Black was and painting it to be almost as terrible as what Voldemort had done, I immediately predicted that he wouldn’t actually be guilty of everything he was accused of. Especially when they went on to say that he kept his head in Azkaban. It couldn’t have been more obvious. [SPOILER END] Because it was predictable it did take away some of the enjoyment to the story itself as well.

What also bothered me, besides the slow beginning was the fact that at the climax Harry Potter faints again. I do understand why – there is always a good reason – but I wish he would stop doing it. He fainted at this climax, at the previous books where he is also meeting villains head on. Maybe there is a valid reason but I am fed up of his fainting >.>

What I did like was the character that bothered me a lot – Hermoine – is finally no longer annoying. I don’t think she annoyed me because she was a know it all, but generally I have been watching the movies as I have been reading. So I will admit that I think my annoyance at Emma Watson’s acting had bled into Hermoine’s character somewhat as well. But here she isn’t annoying at all. And we get the same characters we know pretty well, Ron, Harry and Hagrid. No one has changed much.

There is the new character, Professor Lupin. He was interesting because he had an aura of mystery around him when he came. I liked his character well enough, but it wasn’t anything special.

As always, this is such a creative world and Rowling never ceases to amaze me with what a wondrous imagination she has. I do wish we were able to see some more of the other houses than just Gryffindor because I would like to explore the school she has set up some more. But I guess not :/

Not sure about reading book four, but I have a Harry Potter crazy friend who is pressuring me to try all of these (with a promise that in the next book it is more geared towards young adult than children) so I probably will xD

This review and others can be found on Olivia's Catastrophe.
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on 27 March 2017
The Prisoner of Azkaban is certainly the strongest novel of the series so far, which is kind of surprising as it's the only story that doesn't hinge around the machinations of Lord Voldemort. Unlike the previous two stories, the plot this time is very competently written and layered with many clues to lead the reader towards the conclusion. While the story is a lot more focused than that of The Chamber of Secrets, I did feel as though it was a little rushed in places. This is particularly noticeable towards the middle of the story where Harry attends class after class, sometimes only spending a page or two in each.

Yet I don't have that many holes to pick in the plot this time around. My biggest issue is the huge McGuffin of the Marauder's Map. I mean, the Weasley Brothers have had this in their possession for years, yet never noticed Voldemort wandering the halls in the first novel, or Ginny's midnight escapades in the second? Beyond this, there were only a few minor details that felt a little weak to me (though I won't spoil them here for you).

However, the series is as charming as ever and still has all the strengths of the previous stories. The focus on teamwork and friendship is even more important than ever. This book shows that Harry, Ron and Hermione are at their best when they work together, rather when they fall out over little things. Hermione in particular really has some great scenes in this story, including finally getting a chance to slap Malfoy and ultimately saving the day. This book also introduces some of the most loveable secondary characters so far, adding some very likeable new allies for Harry (including the first nice Dark Arts teacher to date!)

The story also has a bit more of an emotional punch than The Chamber of Secrets, which is something that's not really been felt in the series since Harry saw his parents in the Mirror of Erised. This time, Harry learns a lot more about his father when he meets some of his Dad's childhood friends. Naturally, this leads to some particularly sad scenes as he starts to find out about the events that lead up to their deaths. Through this, Harry gets some great development as he's forced to make a hard choice between getting revenge and being a better person. It's a brilliant climax and really showcases Rowling's talent for making you care about the characters.

Ultimately, this has been my favourite book to date. The plot is fantastic and Harry in particular gets a lot of development. This series is still utterly charming and I would definitely recommend.
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on 10 August 2015
Well, I found myself writing a review after reading the second book in the series asking for something other than You Know Who visiting harry for a duel and well it certainty delivered. The book does of course mention You Know Who throughout the entire story but doesn't end in the similar way to book one and two in the series instead takes the reader on a very detailed list of events from the past.

Everything is not as it seems in this book and based on the plot is the best one in the series so far although I personally still enjoy the first book for the entire freshness the most. J.K. Rowling has a brilliant way of writing novels that have all the hints in-front of your face and the plot is still not obvious until you're reading the end of the novel. I found myself at multiple times throughout reading the twisting plot in this book eyes literally widened in anticipation at what was going to happen next and that brings me on to the next point.

This book is a definite page turner, I picked this book up in the early afternoon and haven't put it down since, well, not a constant read of course but several chapters at a time finding myself in night time finishing the read and writing this review. I just simply couldn't put it down, page after page the story unfolded and events unraveled.

The plot is so well written that this book really has a story and a meaning to it personally I felt like the first two books where more of a begging to end novel where by Harry defeated You Know Who time and time again, well if not defeated somehow coming out on alive on the other side after his unfortunate encounters. The ending to this one leaves open questions but reiterates my point above that all is not as it seems at first glance in this novel.

The only negative, sigh, there's always one, was the ending length for me. In comparison to the first two endings they came quickly and with a moderate amount of readable detail for me to understand what was going on all in one go, it may have been how much reading I had done today that made me of this opinion but without spoiling the ending to this novel at one point it goes into great detail about the past, while that is all I can say I feel that this detail was a lightly of a lengthy read and therefore threw my mind of course and wandering as I read page after page of detail attempting to take it all in, in one go. Although on the contrary the novel pulls itself together and takes Harry and Heroine on a very unique and unexpected adventure just before the end of term to round off the plot, a very unique and unexpected ending, very, very well done.

Talking of the end of term and plots this book also drops hints and fits nicely into the next book in the chapter, although the length and amount of reading I've done in this one shall leave me waiting a few days before continuing the adventure. I eagerly await the adventures that Harry, Hermoine and Ron shall be taken on during their fourth year and throughout the holidays.

I would defiantly re-read this book and would encourage anyone who felt, like I did, that despite the second one being a bit the of the same as the first this will defiantly give you a breath of fresh air and inspiration to continue to read the entire series.
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on 27 September 2012
Time travel as a hole in the plot. Perhaps. Yet not everything is applicable all the time, particularly if you are being real (honest, heartful), trying to work things out and through.

And the plot getting darker and darker. I felt the same way after The Goblet of Fire and only read The Half Blood Prince knowing the kids would be getting to it and thinking I'd better have read it. And the plot took fire. There were two things which grabbed my attention. Snape binding himself to Malfoy's Mum, and Dumbledore saying to Malfoy - It is my mercy that matters now. Both these things were stunning somehow, and I waited with impatience to read The Deathly Hallows.

These are different books to those of Ursula le Guin, the feel is different (I haven't read the other books people have recommended here tho I intend to). I'm not sure it is possible to compare them. In a sense le Guin is the more 'serious' writer. But you never know:

Here too, in the end, Snape is the character I loved and wept over the most. Sometimes it is only at the end that it is possible to look back and see clearly.

And even in the first books you have the ongoing themes and jokes - Harry being a Parseltongue which you see in the first book without knowing what you're seeing. I hadn't seen that in any writing before. It is so original and very smart and witty.

I've thoroughly enjoyed these books.
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on 24 August 2016
The Harry Potter series is a mixture of action, horror and humour, and although many stockists list them as ‘Children’s Books,’ in my opinion they are suitable for people of all ages. The action sequences are excellent, but the ending of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban is quite simply the best ending of any book I have ever read, while the horror scenes are pieces that both James Herbert and Stephen King would be pleased with. And the humour? I’ll come back to that in a minute because it deserves a very special mention. Alongside reading these books I’ve read some details about the life of JK, and everything she's written about Harry Potter (his family, friends, enemies, and his trials and tribulations) does make a lot of sense, AND I learned that the character of Hermione Granger is actually based on JK herself, so I had to read the Harry Potter series from the very beginning. Like I said it’s suitable for boys and girls of ALL ages. I love the rivalry between the Houses of Hogwarts. The game of Quidditch (a brilliant invention) is a big part of this, with each House playing against each of the others to win the Quidditch Cup. I was a little surprised, however, to discover that many of JK's readers are as young as 7, with terrifying characters known as Dementors who's purpose is to suck out their victims energy and happiness, leaving them utterly lonely and depressed, and these being based on a nightmare that JK herself endured. But on the other hand there are plenty of breaks from the darkness, and this brings me back to mentioning, as promised, the fiendish Rowling humour. How can I comment sufficiently? Even a book by Tom Sharpe would not have had me laughing out loud like I have done while reading these books. In Goblet Of Fire, the scene of The Weasleys blasting their way through the Dursleys fireplace had me rocking backwards and forwards to such an extent that my wife thought I’d gone mad. In addition to Uncle Vernon Dursley having his lounge virtually destroyed, to add insult to injury he was then ordered to say a fond farewell to Harry. In Prisoner Of Azkaban, Harry is worrying about being expelled from Hogwarts for improper use of magic, but it's decided that it was only a minor infringement, turning his auntie into a bloated balloon; then later on, Harry running into his enemies Malfoy & Co while hidden by his invisibility cloak, throwing mud at them when the cloak slips revealing just his head floating in mid-air. Cracking entertainment! And in the previous book, Chamber Of Secrets we had Harry Potter and his best friend Ron Weasley crashing the flying Ford Anglia into The Whomping Willow, an extremely angry tree who then proceeds to attack the classic car with the terrified boys still in it. I can’t think of much else to say that hasn’t already been said. There wasn’t a six-star option so I gave just five.
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on 6 October 2017
As a huge fan of the Harry potter books so much so that I have them all in hard back, paper back and kindle edition also have the Hogwarts collection ! So why buy this well ? in answer it had to be done lol :)
I'm so pleased I bought this it is a beautiful book yes its large and heavy not a book to take on a train or bus however the illustrations are stunning and beautifully done , yes people may complain they don't match the film's but why should they ? the film's also missed out so much of the books that they leave people who having read the books confused lol so personally I don't think it actually matters that the characters don't look like they have been taken from the film
This book has been well presented and makes a great addition to anyone's collection or even a gift to a child who hasn't read the books, this will make a great gift for any fan of the books or in my case a nice book to add to a collection . I'm looking forward to getting the rest of these illustrated books I just hope we don't have to wait ten years this time to own the full collection
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