Yes, I know what you’re thinking: just after having updated my website to make it look a bit more professional, I smash it all to bits by reviewing a children’s book. But, the thing is, Harry Potter isn’t just any children’s book: it’s a book series that captivated adults around world through children, and on top of that it was so influential that it gets used as a comparison for just about everything.
What do I think of Harry Potter? It’s hard to say – but you’ll find out during these reviews, I guess.
There isn’t much to say about the first book – this one really is a children’s book. It’s my opinion that Rowling always writes for someone Harry’s age – seeing how he’s only eleven, there’s not much to be had here. I do remember that it blew me away when I first read it (about five years ago): I didn’t see the end coming. If you know how Harry Potter books work a bit later on and you look back on the first part, it’s obvious who the culprit is and what’s going down… but for a first book, the mystery is pretty solid.
My biggest criticism would be that the story is very, very fragmented. For ages, at first, nothing really happens (the book is almost halfway when he finally arrives at Hogwarts) and after that it doesn’t really pick up more pace: there’s a lot of introducing going on (obviously, as there are a lot of characters), followed by exciting adventures featuring magical objects of all diversities. It’s the end that sticks to mind – Rowling ties up every seemingly random element in the two final chapters – forty pages and the revelations are over.
I like the first book. It’s cute. Even if it is really fragmented at first, all of the smaller elements (Norbert, The chocolate frogs, Wizard Chess, the mirror of Erised) come together in the end – even if it does feel a bit forced at times. But that doesn’t matter – you just immediately fall in love with Harry and Ron (Hermione comes a bit later on). And that’s what does the trick!