‘Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone’ by J. K. Rowling

Mount Readmore Book Review 2018, 138/200

3

Audiobook Edition

Finished on 9/18/2018

Goodreads

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fantasy Classic, Urban Fantasy, Children’s

Quiddich for Dummies

Spoiler-ific review

This book held up astonishingly well. I’ve read this two or three times before, but this is the first time I’ve read this in at least 12 years. I chose to pick this book up again for two reasons: first the 20th anniversary of its release just came upon us, and second I am compiling a list of highly influential fantasy books and this is without doubt highly influential. Let’s get this party started.

I have to say that this book is better than I remember it being. Now that I’m an old and jaded book reviewer, I expected coming into this review to like the book but not love it. As an adult who has read several hundred if not thousand fantasy books, I expected this to be an above average tale. I was wrong. This book is fantastic, even reading as an adult. I’m going to write this review assuming that you’ve already read this book before (because let’s be real here, you have).

The Wizarding World setting is even more sparkling and mischievous than I remembered. It’s just fun to go to Hogwarts and visit Diagon Alley. Weird, kooky things happen as a matter of course. This character of the setting is a pure joy to read.

The author’s prose is appropriate for its YA audience, but it doesn’t talk down to them. The author does a good job of balancing clarity with quality, using a complex vocabulary at the same time as she strives for grokable text.

The plot… You already know the plot. Overall I think this is the weakest aspect of the book looking at it as a book reviewer. The author goes to great lengths to implicate Snape as the prime evil of the book, only to pull a bait and switch and make someone else the bad guy. I think she should have included fewer red herrings because by the end of the novel we are practically tripping over scarlet fish. It seems like once a chapter Harry discovers some new reason to suspect Snape for being evil. It became repetitive.

The characters are good, but not great. Harry is a pair of pants- meaning he is so bland that anyone can go view themselves in his pants. This isn’t a bad thing as it encourages immersion, but it leads to non-memorable main characters. (That said, I was left with a negative impression of Harry due to his consistent negative viewpoint of Neville). Hermoine has better characterization, in that she is consistently described as being very intelligent but freezing under pressure. Same goes for the entire Weasley family having good characterization (even though I personally think Ron could have been more interesting). The minor characters such as Dumbledore and Hagrid were all more interesting and more fleshed out than any of the main characters.

The pacing was gripping, but towards the end I felt that the story was dragging out a little. The story did not need so many random plot points to be introduced. I don’t think the story needed the Dragon plot point, the unicorn plot point and the Cerberus plot point. They added little quality to the book overall. I think the author could have chosen one and just stuck with that.

Overall this is a very good book. While this certainly is a YA/Children’s book, by which I mean it lacks adult themes, it is very very good at what it sets out to do and remains an enjoyable read for adults. I think I would probably put this in my top 10 best fantasy books of all time if I had such a list simply because that it’s a homerun in so many respects.

 

 

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