Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: We all love this

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’m pretty sure every person in the western world knows who Harry Potter is and knows the basic story line. Harry Potter was The Boy Who Lived. Both his parents were killed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the evil Lord Voldemort, but he survived the attack, somehow causing Voldemort to disappear. Now Harry is eleven, and off to his first year at Hogwarts wizarding school. But it seems like Voldemort is making a resurgence. Is Harry safe, even under the watchful eye of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore?

I recently felt a desire to go back and reread the HARRY POTTER books. I know I have a stack of books sitting on my bedside table that I need to read, and I will, but sometimes the lure of going back to visit an old friend is just too strong to be resisted. Sometimes this leads to disappointment, as books don’t live up to their memory, but I am happy to say that HARRY POTTER is as wonderful as I remember it being. It’s hard to believe that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out in 1999, so it’s been thirteen years. I took a poll of my friends on Facebook last night about which book or series they would keep if they were only allowed to keep one, and the majority of them said HARRY POTTER. For a bunch of adults with widely varied reading habits, that’s a pretty significant recognition, especially when you consider that it was originally written as a middle-grade to YA series.

So why the overwhelming love for these books? Because they are wonderful and magical and make another world come alive. I was reading this book and I would notice a huge smile on my face. There are lines of dialog that I remember verbatim after all these years. And unlike a lot of books pitched at this age group, there isn’t any sex, drugs or vampire worship. Instead, these books are about friendship and bravery and loyalty without being preachy about it. It’s rare to find a book that teaches such important messages without sacrificing the plot. There’s a reason why this book ignited such an amazing world-wide fandom, and it’s because it’s fantastic. Seriously.

I’m not sure this review is going to do anything for anyone, because it seems that everyone has already read the HARRY POTTER books, but if you haven’t, you really should. If you ask anyone who spent their high school years in the 90s what the most important song of the decade was, you’re almost guaranteed to get “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana as your answer. I don’t think this last decade has had a similarly seminal song. But it had the Harry Potter phenomenon, and I can’t think of a similarly influential book or series of books from the earlier decade to match the effect these books had on the publishing industry, the movie industry or a generation of readers.

So, if you haven’t read Harry Potter, you should. Right now. You’ll thank me.

~Ruth Arnell


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviewsI read the Harry Potter books because I wanted to make sure they were suitable for my kids. I fell in love with Harry and his friends but perhaps what I love best is that J.K. Rowling got kids to start reading again. And not just reading, but reading fantasy literature!

~Kat Hooper


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsYou know you’ve embarked on a journey you’ll remember all your life when you read this first book in the Harry Potter series. It’s charming.

~Terry Weyna


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsWhatever I thought about the final books in the series, this was a great start to a wonderful new series that everyone enjoyed.

~Marion Deeds


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsI resisted this series for years because the hype annoyed me, and finally read this book when it was the only thing I had to read in a hotel room. I read it in one night, had a dream about Platform 9 3/4, and have been hooked on Harry ever since. The books eventually get darker and more complex, but Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is just sheer whimsical fun.

~Kelly Lasiter

Harry Potter — (1997-2007) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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TERRY WEYNA, on our staff since December 2010, would rather be reading than doing almost anything else. She longs to be a full-time reviewer, critic, scholar and writer, but nonetheless continues to practice law as a civil litigator in California. Terry lives in Northern California with her husband, professor emeritus and writer Fred White, the imperious but aging Cordelia Louise Cat Weyna-White, and a forever-growing personal library that presently exceeds 15,000 volumes.

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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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3 comments

  1. I need to reread these. They just popped back into my head because Order of the Phoenix was on TV over the holiday and I watched it with my boyfriend, who is sort of a Potter neophyte–I was doing running commentary to explain stuff. ;) (“Why is there a dog all of a sudden?” “Oh, that’s Gary Oldman’s character.”) I just love these books. I know they have some flaws if picked apart, but they’re so funny and so warm, especially up until that last one with all the (&*%(&^%( character deaths!

  2. Are you going to review all of them? Please, say you are!

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