If you’d like to read the condensed, spoiler-free review, pop over my Goodreads. If you’ve already read the book, and you’re just here for my thoughts, keep scrolling.
Let me start by saying that while I’ve been a fan of the movies since their release, I’d never read the books. I purchased the first book, intending to, but never got around to it. It sat on my shelf until just recently when it came up in a follow loop on my bookstagram that I hadn’t read them, and I decided it was finally time.
Naturally I had high expectations picking it up. The movies are true magic, and J.K. Rowling has won countless awards for her books and writing. Most of the world knows her name and her stories, so I expected it to be a masterpiece…
It was not.
At least, not in my opinion. Just to be frank, I considered giving this book three stars instead of four but having loved the magical world of Harry Potter for so long, I couldn’t do so in good conscience. While there’s no denying Rowling’s incredible imagination, I don’t think she did an excellent job of translating it onto paper.
I didn’t like her writing style or the flow of the story. It took half the book for him to get to Hogwarts, and then I felt like everything happened very quickly after that. Literally months went by in the same amount of pages it took weeks to get through, and scenes I thought would be full of detail weren’t, like Gringott’s and the seeing the castle for the first time. (Yes, of course, she told you the castle sat high on the cliff, and that the first years ducked through vines and scrambled up onto some rocks and peddles up to the hall. But that seems a like lack luster, doesn’t it?) And the challenges happened very quickly, without much of an atmosphere.
And then they were scenes that seemed unnecessarily long, like the train ride to Hogwarts and the sorting hat ceremony. I understood the need for a little variety outside of your main characters, but you actually go through an entire list of students while reading.
That being said, if you are looking for a story about magic, love, bravery, and friendship you can find no finer plot line. I found her character’s to be even more endearing in the books. Every little “unnecessary” moment cut from the movie made the story feel so much for personal. Especially the Weasel twins, helping Harry onto the train and then showing up with Percy at Christmas time to show off their opened presents. Mrs. Weaselly saying goodbye to him after the train back to platform 9 3/4, and I even enjoyed Neville’s move active roll in the book.
Plus there was the character they excluded all together: Peeves the Poltergeist. He’s a nasty little spirit always causing mayhem around the school. I guess, to the over all story, he isn’t really needed, but he’s a fun character anyway.
Not to mention, there’s so many little tidbits of information you learn about random things throughout the story. Like where Hedwig gets her name, and that HARRY and HERMIONE got rid of Norbert and that’s how they get detention. If you are a fan of the movies, I definitely recommend reading the books – if you haven’t and you’re still here. There’s so many things you didn’t know you didn’t know about the world of Harry Potter.