My Review of the Harry Potter Books

wll8iikzcwcnx5gp6nh7There have been thousands of reviews written about the Harry Potter books over the years. I just recently read them all and, instead of boring you with a typical review and analysis of each book, I’m just going to share with you my first thoughts at the end of each book.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Not bad for a kid’s book; very clever. Surprisingly well done.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Eh, this kind of bored me. This franchise might pull an Ice Age.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – I think this could very well be the best book ever written.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Oh, crap. Things just got real.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Best fictional book I’ve ever read in my life, hands down. Wait, this is a children’s book?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Kind of a step down, but my sleeves are rolled and I’m ready for the finale. Bring it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – It takes six novels to serve as a foundation for this touching, scary, funny, amazing, exhilarating, nearly-perfect book. Best climax to a series ever.

J.K. Rowling’s books not only live up to the hype, but they exceed.

If you have not read this series, I pity you, no matter your age, your reasons, your beliefs, what have you. When looked at as a whole, the Harry Potter series could very well be the greatest piece of fiction ever written.

The bar is very, very high.

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47 Responses to My Review of the Harry Potter Books

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Along the theme of buy a book for Christmas – here are six to buy for the kids in the family (or you). A very helpful and succinct one sentence review of all six in the Harry Potter series…..

  2. grannyK says:

    I loved them. I will probably reread them in a year or two. I rarely read a book more than once, or watch a movie more than once so that’s saying a lot!

  3. The 4th one was definitely my favorite overall but they were all good. And they progressively got better. I’m really glad I read them later in life though and not when I was a kid otherwise I would have not understood everything.

  4. Reviews by the Book says:

    I never read the Harry Potter series as a kid, and just recently read all seven books. That said, I found the series to be severely overrated. I thought Rowling’s plots were completely full of holes. A recurring theme is that she introduces a device that makes the entire plot of the book meaningless, and then pretends to ignore it.

    For instance, the magical device that turns back time that is used to save Buckbeak. Why couldn’t Dumbledore simply use that device to go back and stop Voldemort from the beginning? Or how about the fact that Crouch, impersonating Mad-Eye, could have simply turned a book or other mundane object into a Portkey instead of hoping Harry made it through the Tri-Wizard tournament and gained the trophy?

    I also found Rowling’s writing to be mediocre, at best. She uses several nonsense words such as “speeded”. I lost count of the number of times I read about Hagrid’s “beetle-black eyes”, Snape’s “greasy curtains of hair”, or Dumbledore’s “half-moon spectacles”. It’s as if she found one descriptor of a character that she enjoyed using, and didn’t feel the need to use anything else.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the series, however, and it’s possible I’m just too over-critical to look past the faults and find what everyone is crazy about.

    • It’s true, one does have to suspend a certain level of disbelief to enjoy the series. But to build an entire world around a fantastical element like Wizards and Witches where it is possible to get lost in, is quite a feat. Far as the descriptive phrases, I’ll never see a pair of half-moon spectacles and not think of Professor Dumbledore 🙂

      • tistheczn says:

        epithets—Homer used them in The Iliad like crazy! (white-armed Hera, swift-footed Achilles, breaker of horses Hector); Rowling simply imitates the greats in my opinion.

        I loved the books, but interestingly enough not until I got to the second one. The first one was the one I thought was bleh. But I ate them up–people knew not to call me when a new one came out because I would be indisposed until I finished it.

  5. I’ve never read them. Never saw the movies. I was never interested; however, I think I just might give in and read the series.

  6. I always find it surprising how many people consider Azkaban to be one of the best in the series. As a child, I found it to be the most boring book of the lot. Whenever I would do my preparatory re-reading in anticipation of a new release, I would always be irritated when this book came ’round. As I grew older, I found it to be riddled with plot contrivances that created some complicated and answered questions (the time turner question, etc).

    Similarly, I disliked Order of the Phoenix and had to force myself through it at points; I always felt that Rowling (and her editors, perhaps) gave in to the idea of following the trend that each book would be a bit thicker than its predecessor with that one.

    Always interesting to see the ways in which tastes differ even within the same series of books. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • That’s pretty funny. I guess for me, I liked Azkaban because of the impossible-to-guess twist at the end. As for Order of the Phoenix, I’m a sucker for those slow scenes that have a lot of well-written dialogue, and I feel like that book provided a lot of that (I had to force myself through the action scene toward the end, lol).

      • That makes sense. I was very young when I first read them, so a lot of my impressions from that age just stuck, I suppose. I found Harry’s behavior in Order of the Phoenix to be bratty and irritating (natural for a teenager, of course), so that probably didn’t help my impressions of the length ha ha.

  7. BTW07 says:

    I’m surprised you found Chamber of Secrets boring, lol! I couldn’t put that one down.

  8. Sanam Naseer says:

    I was one of those who thought Harry Potter is nothing but a fictional hype. When I saw the movies, I had a complete change of mind. I am definitely going to grab all the books because I am much of a reader than a movie watcher. And after this review, well it is a must.

    • I did it the same way, my friend. Watched all the movies last year in about a month and was completely taken aback, and I had to eat my unfounded critiques. I was surprised by how dark, and adult-themed the story got. Obviously, the books are much, much better than the movies.

  9. The true magic of the series was that children started reading with a passion.

  10. I felt the same way about each of the books as you did! loved the first, little meh on the second, loved the third, absolutely loved the fourth and fifth, meh on the sixth, and then absolutely loved the seventh. I didn’t “grow up” reading Harry Potter, in the traditional sense of growing up, as my religious parents forbid it. But I did read it once I got out from under them, so I read it while “growing” maturity-wise, and honestly I think I read it at just the right time in my life.

    • That’s the amazing thing about the series is that it’s right for different people at very particular times in their lives, or so it went for me, and so I’ve heard about others.

  11. suzanne says:

    YES! I read them every year. Every. Year. Except this year I listened to them on audio book repeatedly. Hooray Harry Potter! And while it’s true that sometimes questions arise and I have “but what abouts” and “what ifs,” all of that just makes me love the series more, because it’s a world that can be questioned and we can discuss it and imagine and dive in and get to know and build community around the stories. Also, there may be some holes (like Why didn’t Harry ever wonder why Peter Pettigrew (as a rat) was sleeping in Ron’s bed every night? and I get why nobody could understand the basilisk in Year 2 when it was zipping around the pipes, but why could nobody else HEAR it?) but there are also amazing things like Harry mentioning that it was like Snape could read minds in YEAR 1 and then we find out literally years later that he actually can read minds. Rowling is a genius – I stand by that – but she’s also a human! A really great human.

  12. Hands down, one of my all time favorite series. I read them as they came out back in the day, but last summer I reread them all, and damn, even as a 26-year old, some of the themes and events that they went through still got to me.

  13. “I pity you” – that’s funny

  14. hbsuefred says:

    Now I have the time to read all the books I have always wanted to read, and the Harry Potter series is among those. I only saw the first film or 2, kind of waiting till I read the books so I could compare them. Fortunately I kept all the books, maybe even including some duplicate copies, since my kids had to have them the minute they each came out. One of them even stood in line at Barnes & Noble dressed as one of the characters for one of them. While I would never go that far for anything, I may take the 1st in the series with me to read during my holiday travels. Don’t know how long it will take to read the whole series among all the other books I read for the 4 book clubs I belong to but, if and when I get there, I hope to compare my reviews, if I can remember them, with yours.

  15. M E Cheshier says:

    Great write-up on the Harry Potter series. This one hits home. I read every book out-loud to my daughter. We both always anticipated the next release.

  16. M E Cheshier says:

    Reblogged this on Book Reviews Current and commented:
    Great write-up on the Harry Potter series!

  17. Laurie Welch says:

    I cannot say enough about this series. I completely fell into this world Rowlings created. Although the films are good, I enjoyed the books so much more: *I* could create her world visually, instead of relying on someone else to do it for me! Also, the books have far more detail than the films.

    One of my favorite themes in the books that wasn’t as detailed in the films is the curriculum for each school year complete with reading syllabus. Very creative! My fantasy job would be the librarian at Hogwarts! But yes, I am a book geek anyway, so there you go 🙂

    Nice review of the individual titles. Of course, I agree with you!

  18. Apparently sadly, I have never read a Harry Potter book. Thanks to your review I’m now considering it. 🙂

  19. I began to read the first book years ago and wasn’t thrilled, so I stopped. I read enough to feel ok about my kiddos reading it (during all the Harry Potter hatred that accompanied their debut). My children had a fierce love for Harry Potter books/movies and even “made” me watch them so I could “get it.” I still didn’t. After reading your review (less is definitely more– thank you!), I get it, AND I think I’ll give these another try.

    • Took me a couple tries, but I think you just have to read them at the right point in life for them to really sink in like they finally did me. Get past the first two books, and I think you’ll be amazed.

  20. Pingback: Quotes Wednesday | InstaScribe

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