Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Summary: Harry Potter finds out he's a wizard and attends Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. While there he gets thrown into an adventure that might just save both worlds all while trying to survive his first year at school.
Review: It's been a long time since I've read the first Harry Potter book (at least seven years, probably closer to ten.) I also have some major issues with the Harry Potter phenomenon. I don't think they're bad books or that J.K. Rowling is a bad writer (quite the opposite actually) but I don't think all the fanaticism is warranted. I enjoy the Harry Potter books but everyone I've met either loves them or hates them vehemently and goes off on me because I fall into neither category. I've met one person who told me that it was fine that I wasn't obsessed as long as I wasn't critiquing them without reading them. I adore children's/YA lit but often get stereotyped because of this book (and also Twilight) when in reality, when I recommend books, I recommend neither of those two.
So when I say that I really do adore the first book, you know I mean it. I forgot just how good and enthralling that first book of the series was. J.K. Rowling really is an amazing writer (and I would be supremely interested in reading something by her that's not HP) and manages to involve you in the story. Even all these years later, and despite knowing the outcome, I couldn't believe that 150 points were taking from Gryffindor, that they had managed to forget the invisibility cloak on the top of the tower and that Malfoy could be such a jerk.
Going back and reading it after reading all of the other books was interesting too. Knowing what happened to Snape and seeing his actions towards Harry in the early books was FASCINATING. Also, all the cryptic things that were said early on were no longer cryptic and it was nice to see that, even in the first book, Rowling didn't forget about things like authors often do.
However, despite my love for the series, especially in the beginning, Rowling is not without her faults. Her plot devices sometimes drive me crazy. I have a hard time believing that three first year wizardry students are going to be able to get past the traps of about five of the best wizards around. I also hate that she often makes Hagrid the fumbling idiot for convenience sake. Hagrid is a tough, intelligent and warm-hearted person. However, he frequently lets important information slip to half of the characters in the book.
Also, the protection of the Sorcerer's Stone in the first place bothered me. With the potions for Snape's test, why bother putting a riddle at all? Why not just have them there and unless you know which one to drink, you'll never be able to get in and be trapped between the two fires? It seems that if the stone was that important then there would be protections that a person couldn't pass unless they just KNEW.
I hate how easily she makes Harry the most popular kid. He is hated at one point by his classmates but only when he screws things up for the rest of them (like when the 150 points were taken away) so really, it's a fleeting hate. Malfoy and Snape are the only two who consistently hate him throughout the book. He becomes the youngest Quidditch player in a century and is rewarded for going after the stone. All these things are to make Harry even more "special" then he was to begin with. I get that he's our hero and that he's going to save the world, but isn't that enough? Did we really have to make him loved by all and good at just about everything?
Overall, I loved the first installment and rereading it made me realize how MUCH I loved it. It brought back the memories of the first time you read a book and adore it. While Rowling does have her flaws in her stories, they're not enough to make me dislike the book.
Read this review and all others I write at my Goodreads account.
Books read this year: 37
Currently Reading: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman