Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people yo...moreMr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.
Just from this paragraph, even if you hadn't bothered to read the back of the book, you knew something strange or mysterious is going to happen. And it did. Thus began the tale of Harry Potter, the hero of the greatest saga ever written (in my humble opinion).
Harry is an orphan (yes that is cliche), and lives with his horrible relatives, the Dursleys. He soon finds out he isn't who he thought he was ('gasp'!) and is whisked off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a magical and sometimes dangerous education.
What makes it so absolutely amazing: - The characters: Every character is so unique and fleshed out, with a very distinct personality, strengths and weaknesses . Every single individual we meet has a signature 'something', be it the glasses, scar and impossible hair or Dumbledore's piercing eyes and long white beard. The characters manage to be over the top without seeming to try hard to be so, so they come across as natural even while wearing floor length robes or being twice the size of a normal person. Best characters in book one: Harry (of course), though he doesn't come to his potential into book two when he stops feeling like just an observer and more of the real hero. Ron: funny, loyal and red-headed :) Ron is Harry's best friend and a master at wizard chess. Hermione: in the beginning she is just so annoying! the best part of her story is to watch her grow from the girl we first meet to the girl who would break the rules to help her friends. Hagrid: The friendly giant (half-giant, actually), Hagrid will win you over with his sweet personality and love for all things creature (spoiler: giant-three headed dogs and illegal dragons are just some of those animals he loves). Honorable mentions: Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Snape, Dudley, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, Quirrell, Neville, Draco. - The plot: Again, the perfect word for Harry Potter is unique. Though the simplest plot of all seven books, Sorcerer's Stone still manages to keep you turning the pages uncontrollably. - The locations: From Diagon Alley in London, to Hogwarts castle in Scotland, every location Harry visits jumps off the page with absolute clarity and again, uniqueness. - The details: The pages are just filled with amazing details and interesting facts about the wizarding world making it come alive and feel very real. - It's hilarious: Harry Potter is one of the rare books that aren't 'funny' books, yet make you laugh anyway. The Dursleys are extremely funny in their effort to be 'normal' which they fail at horrendously. The best part about the comedy is that there are little lines here and there that are hilarious, yet fit into the page like they are totally normal and not going out of their way to be funny. Ex: ""No post on Sundays," he (Uncle Vernon) reminded them happily as he spread marmalade on his newspapers." pg. 34-35. I love this line since it so easily goes unnoticed, since he's just spreading marmalade. I read this aloud to my little brother and he didn't notice what it said, until a second later when he realized and he was like 'What?' and burst out laughing. - The fact that it can combine all kinds of themes and totally work. Magic, adventure, suspense, comedy, a kids story that adults love, romance (not yet, but you just wait), friendship, family, belonging, death, etc etc. The best books are the ones that can span all borders and categories they are boxed into, and this is one book that does so extremely well.
My few complaints (since this is an honest review) - The writing: JK is a story teller and it shows. Luckily, I can tell you that her writing style and prose greatly improves over the course of seven books, which shows even the best writers need improvement. - The names: Maybe I'm alone on this, but I never like names like 'Hogwarts' or names which always seem to start with the same letter twice like Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall (plus they all come from obvious origins even if you don't know much greek or french, btw I'm fluent in french and go to an all french school, so its even more obvious) but this minor enough that it doesn't bother me anymore, not in the slightest.
Overall: 4.5 stars ***** for amazing creativity and unique plot, characters and locations. If you haven't read this book yet: what's wrong with you, get a copy immediately! If you saw the movie and think it is enough: read comment above. people who think this way have no idea of what they are talking about. (less)
Here we are, book three. And like a certain (mild spoiler) loveable werewolf introduced in this spell-binding story, third books also seem to be suffe...moreHere we are, book three. And like a certain (mild spoiler) loveable werewolf introduced in this spell-binding story, third books also seem to be suffering from a curse, the curse of "wow i feel like a just read this book in book one and two", and "can't you get any original ideas, you call yourself a writer?" Jk has somehow avoided this curse and put forward a book which is not only the best one of the three, but probably one of the best books I have ever read. As I write this, I am currently reading not one, but three other third sequels and all three feel like carbon copies of their former two novels. So instead of reading them, here I am, writing a review about the best third sequel I have ever read.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, characters continue to grow, relationships continue to flourish (Ron + Hermione = <3), mysteries unfold, secrets are discovered.
Best new characters: Sirius Black (he is announced as an evil mass murderer, he holds many secrets, and is one of the best and most flawed yet brilliant characters to grace our pages). Remus Lupin also is an amazing character, I just love him to bits and I wish he was my teacher.
The new creatures and locations introduced are great, from the sinister dementors to Buckbeak the Hippogriff, along with Hogsmeade and all its shops to the Knight Bus.
A great part of book three that I haven't mentioned in previous reviews are the animals. From Fang, to Crookshanks, to Scabbers, to Hedwig, the animals of Harry Potter feel as real as the humans.
Ok, big spoiler, but my absolute favourite part was when Harry and Hermione use the time-turner to go back and fix everything. I definitely did not see that one coming. I love time travel and the way Jk used the time turner throughout the entire book with the whole 'hey where did Hermione come from?' thing was genius.
The twists and secrets revealed seem in hindsight a bit predictable, but when you're nine years old like I was when I first read it, you were completely shocked when it was revealed all the truths about the Mauraders and their amazingly cool map. The Mauraders are the epitome of coolness and if Jk ever decides to write another series about the wizarding world, they're the characters I would be rooting for her to feature.
Overall: 5 stars ***** for breaking the curse of the third sequel, and for being an awesome page-turner.(less)
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore
That one line is basically what Harry's story...more"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore
That one line is basically what Harry's story is all about. Put aside the amazing characters, plot, twists, humour, locations, and details that make up the world of Harry Potter and what have you got? a young boy discovering who he is and making the choices which will determine his caracter forever.
Harry is an orphan who's never known his parents and lives with the insufferable yet hilarious Dursleys, and discovers he is a wizard. Book one deals with introducing us to the world of Hogwarts and wizardry, book two delves into who Harry really is, besides being a wizard. Spoiler, sorta: Is he the heir of Slytherin? Is he really like Voldemort? And as Dumbledore said, does it matter if he can make the right choices? After Harry, the other characters who populate this magical book also dazzle the pages with their trademark charms. Best new characters: Lockhart, the hilariously self-absorbed DADA teacher and Dobby the adorable little house-elf. Plus the characters who were already introduced continue to grow and develop especially Hermione as she eases towards breaking the rules and becoming more easy-going. Hermione and Ron's romance starts to develop, though very slowly and sweetly throughout the second book.
Another new aspect is the mystery, which wasn't as dominant in the first book but takes center stage in this instalment, as mysterious attacks spread through the school and the sinister chamber of secrets have been opened. Who opened it? What's inside? And how can Harry and his friends stop the mysterious killer before he strikes again? It'll take all their bravery and wit as they 'Spoiler': battle giant spiders, monstrous serpents, and Harry's own dark suspicions about himself as they race to uncover a plot an evil plot thousand years in the making.
Yet another bonus is the obvious Voldemort-Mudbloods, to Hitler-Jews, and basically all racism. Jk explores racism through the eyes of a world and through the eyes of kids at school where it is the norm.This also exposes Harry to the truth that his world of magic and adventure isn't as perfect as it seems. The parallels between Voldemort and Hitler are numerous, from their hatred against a certain race/group, to their stereotype of the perfect person/wizard which they don't fit into themselves (Hitler wasn't the blond and blue-eyes perfect he strived everyone to be, just as Voldemort in all his anti-muggle views had a father who was a muggle himself).
Overall: 5 stars ***** for taking the story to the next level and for continuing a saga that is extremely enjoyable and keeps up the twists, turns and magic in a way that is new, fresh and never boring, even after 15 re-reads.(less)
Ok, first off, I frexing loved this book. Yes, frexing. Even the fact that they use strange words in this story doesn't bug me since it makes total se...moreOk, first off, I frexing loved this book. Yes, frexing. Even the fact that they use strange words in this story doesn't bug me since it makes total sense.
Characters: I love these characters! Amy is awesome and tough and plucky and though she's going through hell she reacts in a way that makes me admire her instead of hate her. Elder is the real star of this novel though, and I loved reading more about him and how he felt abou Amy. The villains are great, so well developed and they just get better in the next book. Harley was so frexing awesome. I loved him so so much and felt so bad for him. I wish I could see one of his beautiful paintings.
Plot: This plot is so fast-paced and action-packed, with twists and turns and a great mystery. It was perfection.
Action/Adventure: So much action! So much intenseness! Ahhh!
Romance: Sweet and not instant which just made it so much better. The romance hasn't been fully developed yet, but Elder and Amy make such a great couple they just have to get together.
Writing Style: I love Beth's writing style. Its so fast-paced and intense yet still beautiful. No overly long descriptions, no choppy or wooden sentences, this writing flows like a river, fast and beautiful.
Plot twists: So many plot twists! I predicted some yet some completely caught me off guard.
POV: Sure, the writing doesn't differ from Amy's POV to Elder's but how many authors can really pull that off? Beth Revis is no exception to all the authors whose characters all sound the same. It did however add depth to the novel and to their relationship than if it had simply been told from Amy's perspective.
Page-turning Ability: Epic page-turner, will render you absolutely unable to put it down.
Locations/World-building: Godspeed, the spaceship, is a pretty horrifying place to live in. It's extremely claustrophobic and as the reader living on Earth, you can understand Amy's hatred of its metal walls and false sun. Everything from the clothing to the strange way of talking makes sense. Of course a spaceship hundreds of years in the future uses different language and different names and Eldest's style of leadership and their lack of material makes every small aspect of Godspeed make sense (well, almost all, since the world-building isn't perfect, but pretty damn close). The Season is a horrifying aspect on Godspeed, creepy and disturbing and unnatural. It's described a little too often in my opinion and a censorship warning should be placed for violence, sex, and rape.
Dystopian/Fantasy/Sci-fi/Paranormal/Mystery aspect: It's a great dystopian world with one of the best leaders so far, better than President Snow who did creepy so well. Eldest actually manages to be villainous and good at the same time, and his balance of good and bad made him a perfect villain. Nothing is black or white and this book proves it. The sci-fi aspects were great. I love space and would love to be able to go visit a new planet. The technology is natural and totally realistic without going beyond imagination. Of course there would be new inventions in the years aboard Godspeed and all of them will probably be invented by us too in the not so distant future. The mystery aspect is great, though a little too predictable as to who did it. I guessed who it was pretty early on and (view spoiler)[the fact that the Amy and Elder never suspected him at all made it even more obvious. (hide spoiler)]
Similarity to other books/Uniqueness: For a sci-fi novel, it's pretty unique. One similarity I found was how much Amy reminded me of Amy Pond from Doctor Who (the best tv show ever btw), from her plucky personality to her flaming red hair. The whole book also reminded me of the Doctor Who episode the Beast Below since they both had people living and working on a massive spaceship/country and they had great mysteries and secrets on the ship.
Title: Awesome title, captures your attention (well actually it would if you weren't so busy staring at the cover)
Cover: Two words: Gor-geous! It is the most breathtaking cover to grace our bookshelves in a long while. Too bad the paperback (which is the copy I own) decided to put forth a cover not half as beautiful as the original. Why??? I'm gonna pay 10$ more for a pretty cover, but I was seriously tempted to. I hope its not a marketing scam to get people to pay extra and buy the hardcover version.