Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Released: June 30th 1997
Pages: 223 (Paperback)
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed for ever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!
Now I think you guys all know that I'm gonna be a tad bit biased with this review, considering that the Harry Potter books are my favourite series ever. I first read the books when I was seven, but in a really odd order - so two years ago, I reread them but in the right order. And now I'm rereading them again, just because they are so addicting. If you haven't read these books, I definitely recommend that you give at least the first one a try; there is all the hype about them for a very good reason!
For those of you who don't know, the Harry Potter series follows a boy called Harry, who's parents died when he was just one year's old in an apparent 'car crash', so he was sent to live with his horrible aunt, uncle and cousin, who treat him like some kind of slave. However, on his eleventh birthday, he finds out that he's in fact a wizard - and a very famous one at that. So he is whisked away to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the rest is history, in a sense.
Firstly, the whole plot for the series in general is amazing. Rowling created an entire world, so carefully thought out that although it is fantasy, it seems incredibly realistic and possible. She's created this wizarding world so believable that it seems as if it could just be living alongside our own, which a major skill for any author to have - and considering this was her debut novel, it's incredibly breathtaking. When you read this book, it is like stepping into a completely different world, as cliche as that sounds.
Now, onto the characters. Although I'm not overally fond of books being told from a male's point of view (mostly because I'm a female and cannot relate to them like I can with heroin's), however this, like a few other select series, is obviously written for both genders, and it is so easy to read and relate to Harry. I think the availability for both gender's is also made accessible through the other two main characters, Ron and Hermione. Each of this trio is so uniquely different that I believe anyone can relate to at the very least one of them in some way. The characterization was brilliant and consistent, and I'll range this statement out to include every character she created for this novel - they are all so different, but Rowling manages to not confuse two personalities, so it is almost like each character is real.
Now here are the only things I didn't like about the novel - but nothing too big, so I don't feel like it spoilt the story. First of all, I loved the beginning of the novel, but as the year continues so months are just completely skipped - the last third of the book had to have been from Christmas to the end of the year - but I suppose this is why in later novels they are much thicker, so therefore tell a bit more of the story. I also found that the bad guy (who I will not name for spoiler purposes) cannot touch Harry, yet before we found out he was the bad guy, he shook Harry's hand. Now I don't know whether Rowling meant for him to have a glove on or whatnot, but I found that to be a book mistake - but again, nothing too big.
Overall, I love this book - it is a quick, easy read, yet the plot holds a nice depth so you can really get into the story despite it's shortness. For a debut novel it is amazing, and although I have read the other books and know how brilliant Rowling's talent is, even from this novel you can see it clearly. I really do plead for you to read this if you haven't - for me, it has been life-changing, along with many others. I will be reading the next installment soon.