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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Book 1 - J.K Rowling

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      23.02.2014 20:51
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      A must have book.

      Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

      Probably one of the best books in existence.

      This was the first book of the Harry Potter series that became a global phenomenon.

      This book is about a 11 year old boy named Harry Potter who's parents were slaughtered by one of the darkest wizards of their time named Lord Voldemort. He has to live with his mean aunt and uncle who spoil their only son Dudley. Harry has to live in a small cupboard under the stairs and do most of the housework and act like a slave towards his aunt and uncle.
      In this book, young Harry Potter finds out that he is a wizard and gets an acceptance letter from Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn magic. There he meets his two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
      Here, they face danger and make many deadly enemies.

      This book is amazing and any reader who starts reading this will not stop until they finish both reading and watching the whole series. This book captures your imagination and makes you feel exactly how the character feels.

      J.K. Rowling is just pure genius and everybody should have read at least one Harry Potter book in their lifetime.

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        22.07.2013 23:55
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        A fantastic novel for readers of any age!

        It's a book series that almost everyone has read at least once, and it certainly is one of if not the most critically acclaimed in history. With a dedicated fan base and an archive of over six-hundred-thousand pieces of fanfiction on FanFiction.Net, Harry Potter was and still is a cultural phenomenon which has been translated into at least sixty-seven different languages and spawned a theme park, countless merchandise, and eight blockbuster films - the lowest-grossing of which made more than the highest-grossing Twilight film. But enough blabbering; onto reviewing the first entry in the series - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Sorcerer's Stone in the USA and India).
        The story starts with a simple description of the life Vernon and Petunia Dursley and their son, Dudley, lead. As hardcore a fan as I am, I must admit that the writing style is rather juvenile - but that can be expected from a children's novel, after all. And even though it takes some getting into - Vernon Dursley's drilling company Grunnings is just as boring as the Dursleys' life - by the end of the first chapter, when an orphaned Harry Potter has been left on the doorstep of his Aunt and Uncle's house by Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall and the loveably soft, half-giant Rubeus Hagrid, you're hooked.
        It really is an amazing journey as you follow Harry from the next chapter - set ten years after chapter one; he starts discovering his magical powers - including an accident involving a snake at a zoo and finding himself on the school roof - and let's not forget the hundreds of letters which come flying out of a fireplace!
        In fact, there's very little to fault about the book as the story progresses. Every new detail revealed about Harry's wizarding roots and the many opportunities open to him - including being able to attend the prestigious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - just goes to show how expansive and well-developed JK Rowling's imagination is. Whatever was going through her mind when she devised the concept of a wizarding bank being run by Goblins, or the idea of an intimidating, old man who sells wands, it was pure gold. Even having every single character save for Albus Dumbledore fearful of saying the name "Voldemort" is just so brilliant at conveying the sense of terror said Dark Wizard had held just those ten years ago.
        As the plot moves along at a comfortable place - Harry declining the friendship of one Draco Malfoy and in fact gaining the friendship of two others, the oftentimes foolish Ronald Weasley and the bright-and-bossy Hermione Granger - we begin to find things out about Hogwarts. But perhaps what makes this so engrossing is that we make discoveries just as Harry, Ron and Hermione do, and Rowling has very cleverly written this book with the intention of drawing readers into the experience as much as possible.
        There are plenty of moments in Philosopher's Stone which have the power to both thrill and humour readers - usually at the same time! Who can forget the stuttering Professor Quirinus Quirrell's outburst during Halloween? And what about the bumbling Hagrid who just can't seem to keep his mouth shut when talking about the strange package he picked up from Gringotts when Harry collected some of his inherited gold (left behind after his parents' death)?
        But the wonder just doesn't stop; there's a whole new sport invented - which has actually been translated into the real world - called Quidditch; giant chess sets that destroy each other; potions; riddles; deadly Devil's Snare; and even a Mirror which shows users the innermost desires of their hearts. And to think that it would be possible to pack so much new, interesting stuff into just over two-hundred pages!
        Now, this package that Hagrid picked up and is supposed to be keeping a complete secret - it's more important than one would first think. The Philosopher's Stone is indeed a very powerful magical item, with only one currently in existence. Harry and his friends are convinced that someone is going to try and steal it, and so starts their first adventure at saving the day.
        Onto character development, and there's one character in particular I would like to pay attention to; Severus Snape is a character which, in all the books I have read, is the one I came to loathe in the shortest span of time I thought possible; one sentence. One sentence was it took for me to utterly hate the sallow-skinned, greasy-haired man who was so affectionately compared to a bat. It's very clear that he hates Harry from the get-go, and it's all for a reason that is completely unbeknownst to us. But Harry grows suspicious of Snape when, at the Sorting Ceremony (where new students are placed into one of four houses - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw), his lightning-shaped scar hurts after looking at the venomous teacher. But why? Actually, we don't really find out in this book - it's saved for later on.
        In terms of pace, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is very quick, but manages to condense an entire school year into two-hundred pages fair well. I do have one issue towards the end of the book, though; the final two-or-three chapters seem rather rushed, and I can't help but wonder what it may have been like if JK Rowling had taken just a little extra time to refine the final attempt to save the Philosopher's Stone.
        I think we all saw this coming. I mean, just look at my username! Here's my rating for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: 9.6 out of 10.
        If you want a book to read and haven't read this (how the hell have you not?!), I would very strongly suggest that you pick this up wherever you can find it! Make sure to pick up its six older siblings, too - which I'll also be reviewing in due course!

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          04.06.2013 16:39
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          Will always be one of my all time favourite books.

          'Strange how short sighted being invisible can make you.' - The Genius that is Albus Dumbledore.

          PLOT

          This is the extraordinary story of Harry Potter, a seemingly ordinary Orphan, living with his only remaining family, his Aunt, Uncle and Cousin in Surrey. He has never been allowed to ask any questions about his Parents or how they died, and spends his days being bullied both in School and at home, but this Cousin and his friends.

          One day, mysterious letters start arriving for Harry,. Harry is eager to open one, since he's never had a letter before, and his Aunt and Uncle are determined to not let him have one, only adding to Harry's desperation. A strange giant of a man, called Hagrid, hand delivers a letter to Harry, and what he reveals about Harry's parents, how they died and the world Harry really belongs in, will change the course of his life forever.

          MY OPINION

          It's hard for me to put into words why I love this book, and the whole Harry Potter Series so much. I've loved these books since I was a child, getting the first four as a Christmas present. After that, I pre-ordered each one, because I just couldn't wait those extra few days to read it. This is the book that started the magic for me, the book that had me, and millions of people all over the world hooked on the world of Harry Potter, and desperately waiting for the next installment in the series. There are so many fantastic books that I've read in my lifetime, but this one, and the rest of the series, will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I'll be reading them over and over again.

          THE AUTHOR

          J.K Rowling has captured the minds of Children and Adults alike with her books, and it's not hard to see why. Every character has so much depth, that it begins to feel as if they are real. Every description of characters and settings alike, is so detailed, that I was able to imagine what everyone and everything should look like. Rowling has created a whole world, which people all the world will cherish for many years to come.

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            22.02.2013 17:05
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            A delightful book that I can read many times without getting bored.

            Harry Potter is a franchise that has been part of our lives since 1997 - I first came across this book in the year 2000 when one of my University friends said to me I really had to read this book. I'd seen people sat reading it in cafés and on buses, so I borrowed her copy to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I found myself with the first three books, and I read them one after the other, loving this fictional world created by J. K. Rowling. I have since read the books many times. Each time a new one was due to come out, I would re-read all of the other books first. I have also more recently been reading this one aloud to my children, and re-reading once more myself.

            This is book one in a series of 7 novels featuring the character Harry Potter. We join Harry as he approaches his birthday. He is at that funny age where he is about to go to secondary school. We see how Harry is living with his awful Aunt and Uncle who make him sleep in the cupboard under the stairs and wear old clothes. Only, his life is about to change beyond belief.

            Harry is in fact a Wizard. His parents weren't killed in a car crash as he has believed all his life, but they were in fact also Wizards and they were murdered trying to protect him from an evil Wizard.

            The plot follows Harry's journey through his first year of attending Hogwarts school of Wizardry. Rowling skillfully develops this world in which anything can and does happen. Harry makes friends for the first time in his life with fellow wizards, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Together they learn skills that will help them through the first year of their education, and face down the evil Wizard who Harry was almost killed by as an infant.

            This book is absolutely charming. It is relatively short being a childrens book, at around 225 pages. I found myself totally drawn into this world through Rowling's descriptive prose. I love how Rowling has come up with so many new nouns to describe things in the Wizarding world, and these things have become so well known in popular culture due to the popularity of the books and the films that followed on from them. I felt I had a good understanding of what the characters looked and acted like, and the children react in ways that are believable to me.

            I find this a quick book to read as the vocabulary is not too complex to understand, and it flows well. Something that always amazes me however is that Rowling spends ages describing everything really well, and then you get to the point in the novel where Harry meets his nemesis, and the pace is suddenly really quick and its covered in far less words. I guess this helps to make events pacey, but I felt the book rushing to a conclusion quicker than I would want it to.

            As a childrens book, this is very engaging to an independent reader, but less so for a small child to sit and listen to. My children like the thought of me reading it to them, but the reality of having no pictures to look at and relatively long chapters compared to their other books means they lose concentration rapidly.

            I used to read it when I was a teacher in my science lessons. I liked to compare atomic structure to Quidditch balls, and the Christmas banquet description used to start off my Food and Digestion topic well getting the children thinking about different types of food. My year 7 and 8 pupils seemed appreciative of it as most were familiar with the franchise.

            As an adult, my brain hasn't had much of a workout - this is an easy going novel, and I love reading it these days when I have got a lot on and haven't got time to concentrate a lot. Because I am so familiar with the plot, I find it very easy to read along and follow the plot without much thought process. I don't spot new things on different readings these days, but I find it a comforting nostalgic read. I don't think I will ever tire of reading about the magical world of Harry Potter.

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              27.12.2012 22:22
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              excellent, must read

              This is the first of the Harry Potter series out of a total of seven, and by far the best. This is the book where Harry is introduced to us as an orphan brought up by an aunt and uncle who hate him and a cousin whose sole hobby is bullying. In spite of all this Harry is a lovely boy, and this makes you love the character. The story goes on to describe how Harry discovers he is a wizard and finds his true destiny in a school for witches and wizards hidden in a grand castle not visible to people with no magic. Along the way, Harry has some great adventures, makes some great new friends and a few enemies as well.

              What makes this book and those that follows it engrossing is that J.K.Rowling has created an entire alternate world of magic in these books. There is a corresponding magical element for everything that we do in our daily lives and this makes the magical world very real. You can connect to all the characters and things and the magical life, and you really want to be a part of it, which is why these books became a great phenomenon, I think.

              Even if you have seen the movies or have no interest in reading Harry Potter or any book at all this is one that all kids will enjoy and remember forever.

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                11.12.2012 00:50
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                Fantastic book worth a read for anyone of any age.

                I have loved Harry Potter ever since my mum read me this book as a child! Me and my brother first turned our noses up at story time but then got completely hooked.

                There are numerous different covers for this book - the adult version, different country's versions, the child's version/classic version. I'll describe the child's one (it's shown in the picture). Basically, it's quite a thin book with around 300 pages, there's a red themed front cover depicting Harry and the Hogwarts Express and the back is blue showing Dumbledore and obviously the basic plot of the story...

                Harry Potter was nearly killed by Voldemort (he-who-must-not-be-named), his parents died in the murder attempt and Harry lives with his Aunt and Uncle who don't believe in anything extraordinary. This isn't a great life for Harry until the day he gets a letter telling him he has been accepted into Hogwarts. With a few minor scuffles he ends up there safe and sound with magic lessons, Quidditch and danger to ensue (sorry, don't want to reveal any spoilers just in case).

                I thought this book was fantastic, I have read it over 15 times and it never bores me. I find it well written to communicate the story to both adults and children (which consequently made story time less of a chore when my mum first read it to me). This means that it is timeless, the book can be kept to be read by older and younger generations, passed downwards or upwards.

                The story line and plot twists are spell binding (sorry) and really held me in suspense, making me want to know what happened next and when it rapidly concludes in the end I didn't feel a sense of disappointment which happens in some books that are overly built up and up to end suddenly. It also made me want to continue the story - to the next book - which is good for the size of JK Rowling's money bags, but also meant I had a large stock of things to read (never a bad thing as this also applies to children and getting children to read more can't hurt!).

                It's also available now quite cheaply online or in bookstores since they are so old, this means that you can get the whole series second hand or new for quite a low price (or get the collectors editions quite expensively if you decide you like them enough) which helps even those with small budgets to be able to read a great book! (However, I have found the kindle items to be slightly more expensive...)

                Overall, I truly believe this is a fantastic start to one of my favourite series and I can't recommend it enough to old or young!

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                07.08.2012 12:46
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                All about Harry Potter - he's a wizard you know!

                Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

                Why read this one?...
                What tempted me to read this book? Until recently I had not considered reading this book, I had seen all of the movies because my daughter had insisted that they were so good I had to do. I have to admit to finding them enjoyable but liked the later ones better as the characters were older. I made the decision to read the series, by J K Rowling, after it was highly recommended by a favourite author of mine - Mr Stephen King. I know what he likes in a book and felt inspired to read this after his endorsement. I was almost put off again when my daughter handed me the book and I saw the cover artwork as it didn't appeal but I had made a decision and I stuck to it.

                Short synopsis...
                Harry Potter is less than ordinary and struggling to live with his aunt, uncle and cousin within their rules. It is clear that he is under the feet in this household and his early years are spent miserably - to them he is nothing special and never will be. So it proves a disappointment when Harry is headhunted by Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft - something that uncle Vernon had swore would never be allowed to happen. Having endured almost ten years with this muggle family Harry looked forward to a new home and good times at Hogwarts and sure enough there will be plenty to be thankful for - but dark magic and an evil enemy have other plans for Harry Potter and it will become evident that he is not safe.....anywhere. Will he be tempted by the dark lord or does he have the courage to resist and live as his enemy at this young age?

                I'll send you an owl...
                From the first page of this prose I felt like curling up in my seat to immerse myself in the tale and not stop till I had finished. It felt magical and comforting to be reading the words penned by J K Rowling - and finally I see what all the fuss has been about.

                Of course I liked and empathised with young Harry Potter from the off - how could I not when he was left in a bundle on the doorstep of his estranged aunt and uncle. I had spent some time with this muggle (normal human) family prior to Harry arriving and knew that he was in for a rough ride. His aunt and uncle made no attempt to hide their dislike of him and even though they had a spare bedroom they had Harry sleep under the stairs in a cupboard! Even though this was a horrible place for our hero to begin his life it made wonderful reading - packed with humour and wit it had me giggling out loud. My favourite times at that house involved Dudley, their son - he is overweight and hugely spoiled and still takes things from Harry at every opportunity. He and his two friends decide that there role in life is to make Harry unhappy - they are horrible. One scenario sticks in my mind which says it all as regards how the Dursley's (aunt and uncle) see Harry - when the boys were to attend a high school Dudley was proudly parading in his all new private school uniform and in contrast they were attempting to dye some of Dudley's old, large, clothes to send Harry to the local state comprehensive in! There was humour here as the dye stank but at the same time I felt so sorry for poor Harry.

                The prose is fast paced and every page is crafted beautifully - just enough description to give you a good idea of locale and surroundings, personal effects and lifestyle. Thank goodness for that as with this including a huge castle (Hogwarts) I feared that I may be bogged down with reams of detail that is another reason for avoiding reading it. The way Rowling puts information across means that you can work with her - she gives you something and your imagination can easily achieve the rest, a child would be in their element.

                It is not long before we are on the platform of the train station looking for nine and three quarters - what a unique concept that is, just brilliant. Harry by now has all his wizarding stuff which includes an owl, Hedrig. It is at this platform that he will meet one of his best friends - he doesn't know it yet but Ron Weasley is destined to be by his side. Ron is a likeable character from the off too and it is while they share a carriage on the old style train that they begin to develop a friendship - this is all very new to Harry as everyone prior to this has always avoided him for one reason or another - the other being Dudley who promised a violent end for anyone who befriended Harry. Hermoine Granger introduces herself in her very organised and prim way along the journey as she attempts to help Neville Longbottom (don't you just love the name) find his toad. Hermoine comes across as a 'know it all' and a bit of a bossy madam and even though she obviously irritates the boys, Harry and Ron, I am not put off her at all - perhaps because I can relate to her, I like to be organised and I suppose I saw a bit of her pushy bossiness in myself too - though only a bit!

                One of my favourite characters is Hagrid and because I have seen the movies I think of Robbie Coltrane in the persona. This huge beast of a man, who is covered in hair to the point that you would struggle to see his eyes, has such compassion and you get the feeling that he loves Harry very much already. He is modest, messy and rather clumsy - at times he can put the fear in students - but he is just lovely. I like the dialect that Rowling has employed for this character too; it makes him come to life all the more. Along with this character comes yet more humour and that makes him all the more appealing.

                Of course there needs to be some villains of the prose and in Draco Malfoy we have a fine specimen of nastiness - though he is only a boy and as such he is easily manipulated by others and easily frightened. He is a thorn in Harry's side and the friction between the two is believable and at times entertaining as once more a touch of wit enriches the prose. Professor Snape clearly dislikes Potter and Harry is aware of his constant sniping and sneering looks - he is very wary of Snape and for good reason it would seem.

                There are plenty supporting characters in this creative prose and all of them are of interest - they are still two dimensional in this first novel but that gives me all the more reason to read on and find out more about them - I will enjoy seeing the meat appear on their bones. There is more than enough to be going on with.

                It is known by Harry, Ron and Hermione - our three musketeers by now as they have formed a stronger union and friendship and even started to care about each other - that a stone that provides an elixir for everlasting life is hidden somewhere in Hogwarts (The Philosophers Stone) and if this gets into the hands of the Dark Lord Voldemort it would spell trouble in capital letters TROUBLE - real trouble for Mr Potter....do or die kind of trouble. The plot runs through the book seamlessly and everything fits into place like a good mystery should - nearing the end of the book I was racing through the pages even though I have seen the film and know what happens! That says it all about how this prose unfolds - there is wit and good pace throughout and then the heat gets turned up a little more! A masterful finale, successful and fulfilling conclusion and a reason to read on in the next instalment - at the same time I found it a really comforting read, a joy. I am most impressed.

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                Star Rating...
                FIVE

                Recommended...
                For children or adults this is a magical read. I feel like I have read something very special here. The way J K Rowling writes is engaging and here she has crafted a tale masterfully, this is flawless. Harry Potter is a very likeable character but at such a young age you know that so much more is to come regarding his personality and traits. He clearly has the makings of a courageous young man and a fine wizard - I want to read more and see how she achieves this. Before we arrive at the spectacular destination of Hogwarts I thoroughly enjoyed the treat of life with the Dursleys - this was pure genius, the wit is just brilliant and that part of the book is remembered fondly. I would read those pages again without hesitation. Ron and Hermione bring a great mix of banter as they grate each other and I grew to like both of them for different reasons - Hermione is a woman after my own heart with her capable nature and organisation skills - she is a tenacious and courageous young woman. Ron is lovable young man who shows loyalty and isn't afraid to do battle - I like him. Hagrid is seated in my heart before all others - you will know/see what I mean when you read the book - I would want him on my side in any scuffle, he is a huge bulk of a man and would scare you senseless if you got on the wrong side of him - but inside he is a real softie, a big man with a huge heart. There are the usual villains that are necessary to rock the boat and that comes in the form of young Draco Malfoy - he has the potential to be developed into a real nasty piece of work. Snape (Professor) doesn't like Harry so he had best watch his back - but is all what it seems? A weird vision of Dark Lord Vordemort was most creative and this is the one to steer clear of - he is evil...beware Harry! What a tale, a superb first novel and I cannot wait to read more....it is easy to recommend this one.

                Published on Ciao
                ©Dawnymarie

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                  30.07.2012 04:26

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                  Absolutely perfect in every way.

                  I first stumbled upon this book when I was about 8, before Potter Mania truly gripped the world, and there's a reason it became so hugely successful: It's easily one of the best children's books ever written. The writing is impeccable, it genuinely pulls the reader (big or small) into another universe where you learn the history of the wizarding world and grow to care about the characters, with sub-plots and comedy topping it off.

                  The secondary and tertiary characters make this book, no doubt about it, as my only criticism is that the main character, Harry, is quite frankly rather dull for a child-abuse enduring orphan wizard, this seems like a conscious effort on J.K's part to allow identification with him, but thankfully the other people more than make up for it.

                  This book is the perfect start to the perfect children's series and even if you've seen the films, the books are still a must-read, even if it's just for the extra characters and (the still excellent ) scenes the films left out. Watch out for Peeves!

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                  23.01.2012 17:09
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                  Whether you are 8 or 88 this is a brilliant read.

                  I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books, I have grown up with them and with the release of the films. I recently decided to re-live the series - I'm working my way through both the books and the films (again!) at the moment.

                  Pretty much everyone in the 'muggle' world has heard of Harry Potter and knows the general gist of the story. Nevertheless I'm not going to reveal too much in my review.

                  Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was first published in 1997 (so when I was 10). Anyone in the same generation as me would have grown up with Harry. The Harry Potter series has become a part of so many peoples lives.

                  *The Plot*

                  When we meet Harry it is just coming up to his 11th birthday. He knows very little about his parents, having been told that they died in a car crash. He lives with his aunt and uncle and his bully of a cousin, Dudley. In the opening chapters we learn how Harry is treated, how he doesn't like living with his aunt and uncle, and also that strange things seem to happen around Harry without Harry knowing exactly how. That is until Harry has a visit from Hagrid - Groundskeeper at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

                  Harry's life is turned upside down. He finds out what really happened to his parents and that he is a wizard with a place at Hogwarts. This is followed by Harry making the first real friends he has ever had in his life, lessons, and adventure. With his new found best friends Harry meets the Hogwarts ghosts, his new teachers - including the best headteacher Hogwarts has seen - Albus Dumbledore, begins learning the basics in magic, learning how to play quidditch as well as defeating trolls, gets past a three headed dog (named fluffy!), rescuing the philosophers stone and meeting 'he who must not be named'.

                  I'm not going to go in to details just in case you haven't read the book yet. :-P

                  *Characters and Settings*

                  Rowling has written the characters in this book fantastically. As the reader you feel like you really know these characters. You want to be part of the Harry, Hermione, and Ron trio. You meet his other friends such as Neville Longbottom. You share Harry's dislike for Malfoy and for Professor Snape. You also meet many characters that feature in the later books, though they don't all have major roles in The Philosophers Stone. If you've seen the films, but not read the book, I'd recommend that you do read them. The characters in the films, in my opinion, are very close to how they are in the books, but the books allow you to see each character in much more depth than the films allow.

                  The places in the book are all described brilliantly. When reading the book you can really 'see' the places Rowling is describing. From Diagon Alley to Hogwarts, the detail in the book makes you really feel like you're there with Harry experiencing all these things for the first time too.

                  *Summary*

                  The book has of course been written as a childs book, however it doesn't matter whether you're 8 or 88 - this book has something to offer you. The book isn't too complicated to read, so the majority of children will be able to read it, but at the same time is so gripping that even adults will want to keep turning the pages. Something about escaping into the amazingly described fantasy world, being able to identify with the characters, and a storyline filled with adventure leaves you wanting more.

                  If you are one of the many people out there that has seen the films but not read the books, I strongly recommend that you at least give this first one a go. I know not everyone is a big reader, but this is a book that is worth reading. I thought the film was great but the book is AMAZING in comparison.


                  Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone is currently £5.03 on Amazon with free delivery. There are copies from a penny on Amazon from other sellers, but various delivery charges will apply.

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                    29.11.2011 16:17
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                    The beginning of something truly captivating that you will read again and again

                    About the book

                    Author- J.K. Rowling
                    Age guide - 9-12
                    Length - 223 Pages
                    Publisher - Bloomsbury Publishing

                    When I was first introduced to the world of Harry Potter I was skeptical. While all my friends were getting caught up in the hype of this amazing new series, I was sat thinking to myself that it didn't really sound like my cup of tea. Oh how very wrong I was. What started out as a book by a relatively unknown author has exploded into a global phenomenon. I doubt there is a soul on the planet who now does not know the name J.K. Rowling. Deservedly so as this is a book that has captured the imaginations of children who have then gone on to grow up with the boy wizard who nobody loved. Rowling is engaging and unique, taking a relatively interesting premise and turning it into one of the best loved stories ever written.

                    What it's all about

                    Harry Potter is an average sort of boy, an average boy who lives in the cupboard under the stairs at his aunt and uncles home after the death of his own parents in a car crash. His Aunt, Uncle and Cousin all hate him and he has no idea why. One day a letter arrives, followed by another and another and another. The arrival of a very hairy character is when Harry finds out the truth, he is no ordinary boy. He is a wizard! Earning himself a place at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry Harry soon finds himself some firm friends and some firm enemies too. The boy who lived, Harry is admired by many, for being the only one known to survive the killing curse. Its at Hogwarts that Harry once again comes face to face with the wizard who failed to kill him and who murdered his parents, Lord Voldemort.

                    What is great about this book

                    Rowling brings to life the everyday task of life at school with a sprinkling of magic. Inventing a whole new language for the world of Harry Potter Rowlings tale of the boy wizard could almost be real. In fact sometimes I wish it were. A spell that can do the washing up? Yes please. Much like Haribo kids and grown ups love it too. There's something that everyone can relate to. A classic tale of good vs evil. There's twists and turns too and I guarantee if you have never read the book before you won't see it coming. Such is the skill of Rowling that she makes us think one thing when really it is quite the opposite.

                    The not so good

                    Some of the characters here, you will have to learn to love. At first Hermione, though the brightest witch of her age, is an unlikeable know it all pest. Though it may be a children's book some of the themes here are quite dark which develop even further in the later books. The first couple of chapters are bordering on child abuse. Of course this just makes it all the nicer when Harry does eventually find a happy home at Hogwarts.

                    About the author

                    The ultimate rags to riches story, Rowling went from welfare to multi million status in the space of a few years after she found success with the Harry Potter books. Originally rejected by several publishers they have now shifted millions of copies worldwide. A kick in the teeth for those who didn't think it had the necessary ingredients.

                    Cover art

                    All Harry Potter books now come with two versions of cover art, one for the kiddies and one for the adults. For me the children's cover version for Philosopher's stone fails to capture the magic and sparkle that is Harry Potter. There are plenty more interesting scenes from the story that would capture the imagination more. However, I can see the appeal as I believe the train is supposed to represent Harry finally escaping from his ordinary life, still a bit of wand waving wouldn't go amiss.

                    Other books in the series

                    Once you've read this one, I'm pretty sure you'll be wanting the rest of the collection. So here's a nice little shopping list.

                    Chamber of Secrets
                    Prizoner of Azkaban
                    Goblet of Fire
                    Order of the Phonenix
                    Half Blood Prince
                    Deathly Hallows

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                      22.07.2011 23:56
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                      A must read for everyone!

                      After having seen the last ever Harry Potter film I have decided to re-read all of the books because I just can't bear for it all to end just yet! I first read this novel at about nine years old and since then the whole series has become one of my favourites.

                      To put it simply, so as not to ruin the plot, the novel focuses upon the character of Harry Potter, an orphaned boy who is sent to live with his aunt, uncle and cousin (the Dursley's) who mistreat him and despise anything out of the normal. However, when he turns eleven, he receives a letter informing him that he has a place at Hogwarts (the school of witchcraft and wizardry). I won't tell you any more, you'll just have to read it for yourself!

                      Having read just half of the first chapter I was struck all over again by how marvelous JK Rowling writes, which can quite easily be taken for granted. I found myself amazed at her skill to really bring the characters to life, the description of the Dursley's in the first few paragraphs is a prime example of this as you are left to feel like you already know their personalities really well and you can also catch the exact tone of their voices but without there being any forced quality to the description at all (and very little actual speech!)

                      When reading it I am amazed at just how detailed the novel is and how much love has obviously been put into the creation of it as it is quite literally a whole new world, everything down to the smallest detail has obviously been thoroughly planned which I would definitely attribute as being one of the reasons why the novel has captured many people's imaginations and hearts. Plus, who doesn't like magic and a bit of escapism? (I am still waiting on my letter to Hogwarts after all these years)

                      I also love noticing things upon re-reading the novel that I did not necessarily notice before such as the fact that Dumbledore (the headmaster), defeated his enemy Grindelwald in 1945, coinciding with the end of World War 2. I personally don't think that this is a coincidence!

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                      22.07.2011 22:55
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                      The beginning of a lifelong love

                      Now I know some of you may be a little fed up of the name Harry Potter after all the hype surrounding the final movie, but I have decided to review the books as I re-read them, basically because they are pretty much my all-time favourite series - as you will hopefully see throughout the reviews! I did mean to read all seven in about four days before seeing the movie, but due to work and other distractions I only completed this first book! I may be a bit vague but I don't want to ruin it too much for anyone who hasn't yet read the books.

                      For those of you who do not know, or just want a refresher, Harry Potter is a boy who has been raised for 10 years by his aunt and uncle, along with his cousin Dudley. Until his eleventh birthday, Harry was bullied by his family and thought himself just an ordinary, neglected orphan. But that all changed with the arrival of his birthday. Suddenly he finds out he is a wizard - in fact, a wizard whose parents were killed by a Dark wizard named Voldemort, but he alone survived (which no-one else had ever done) and caused Voldemort to lose his powers and disappear. So not only will he be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, but he will be attending as a very famous person in the wizarding world. Cue adventures, lessons, the beginnings of new friendships (namely with Ron Weasley and eventually Hermione Granger), Quidditch (a sport played on broomsticks), troll fights (yes, trolls) and a mystery - could it be that a teacher at the school is up to no good? Or has Voldemort reappeared to finish what he started?

                      I think Harry Potter is a really good example of a classic adventure/fantasy story. You have your hero(s) and heroine(s), bad guys, the comical pair as well as comedy moments, a little bit of romance (especially in later books) and, of course, the magic. J.K. Rowling has managed to create a world so believable and enticing that by the end of this book I was eagerly awaiting my letter from Hogwarts (yes an 11 year old probably shouldn't be wishing it was real, but that is how amazing the world of Harry Potter was to me - and still is, although I accept that I'm obviously not a witch!).

                      The book itself is really well written, not too complex and the ability to keep you reading to the next chapter, and then the next, even when it's way past bedtime! I think the book was written as a trial run; the end of the book is wrapped up so nicely that it wouldn't have ended on a cliff-hanger (except wanting to see the next six years of Hogwarts), whereas in later books the story was far more entwined. However, this could just be my impression of the book, but it definitely didn't stop me reading the next book (especially as I'd been given book one and two at once).

                      There are many wonderful characters in the book, both pupils and teachers. The variety of the characters really does mirror the myriad of people present in a school, with the added twist that these are all magical. There will be characters that you absolutely hate (they're not necessarily evil, just pains!) and characters you will love, even when they do something so daft you half won't want to read on to see the consequences (don't worry this passes rather quickly). You meet many characters in this book, so there are a lot of introductions to who they are, what they are like. It is in later books that you really get to know the minor characters, but this is to be expected from a series with a large range of characters. You will, however, obviously get to know Harry, Ron & Hermione really well straight away, as these are the main characters.

                      I really can't say enough how much I love this book. My own paper copy is worn out, pages are missing and I've read it so much that as I read it I already know what's going to be written on the page (I don't quite know it off by heart, but I'm getting there). I think it is going to be a book that I will hopefully encourage younger generations to read - and because it follows the classic recipe for a successful fantasy/adventure story, I really think it is going to be a book that is around for years to come. At least in my house anyway!

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                        25.02.2011 19:06
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                        An absolutely essential read.

                        From The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe to Lord of the Rings, fantasy has been a popular subject in writing for years. But when Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone came out in 1997, the genre gained an even bigger audience than before. Read by both children and adults, it went on to become one of the most successful book franchises ever. There are now seven books in the series, but the first is one of the most memorable. Is this because it was such a breakthrough in fantasy reading, or just because it's better than the rest? It's a tough question to answer, but either way, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a fantastic book.

                        ==The Author==

                        Joanne Rowling, or J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. She started writing fantasy stories as a child, including one about a Rabbit, simply called Rabbit. The idea of Harry Potter entered her mind one day in 1990. However, she struggled with life before writing and publishing the book. Her mother died near the end of 1990. After getting married and having a child, she was diagnosed with clinical depression. She continued to write her book in cafés. She finally published it in 1997.

                        ==Design==

                        In my opinion, a book will sell well if the cover is vibrant and bold. You can use these two words to describe the cover design of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It shows a brown-haired boy with glasses - Harry Potter - standing on the platform by a train, looking shocked and surprised. Steam filled with gold stars is coming out of the train. On the back of the cover, there is a tall man with a long, silver beard. He is wearing a purple robe, with several layers colourful layers underneath. The cover is illustrated by Thomas Taylor.

                        ==Plot==

                        Harry Potter thinks he is a normal boy. His parents supposedly died in a car crash so he lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin who treat him badly but he learns to get on with life. But he is shocked when a huge man named Hagrid breaks into his house, telling him that he learns that he is a wizard and that a powerful wizard called Voldemort killed his parents. Harry is enrolled into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He learns to perform spells and play the popular Wizarding sport, Quidditch. He becomes friends with two kids called Ron and Hermione. The three discover that a teacher is attempted to use the Philosopher's Stone, an object that has the power to make one immortal. It is hidden underneath the school. Meanwhile, they battle ugly trolls and explore deadly forests.

                        ==Characters==

                        Harry Potter is the main character in the book. Before going to Hogwarts, he did strange things without knowing how or why. His Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Dudley bully him constantly. Harry is worried about being worst in his class, as he never attempted magic before Hogwarts. He luckily turns out to be one of the best students in his year and becomes part of the Quidditch team.

                        Harry meets Ron Weasley on the train to Hogwarts. His family is known for their red hair. They don't have much money, either. He helps Harry stop the teacher from getting the Philosopher's Stone. He is a big fan of Quidditch and chess. He attempts to be as successful in school as three of his brothers, but is doubtful about this.

                        Hermione Granger is the daughter of two Muggles (non-wizards). She memorised all of her textbooks before arriving at Hogwarts and is obsessed with studying. Hermione tries to stay out of trouble, but hanging around with Harry and Ron always gets her into it instead. She isn't a friend with the other two boys at first until after an incident with a troll.

                        ==Verdict==

                        Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is one of the best fantasy books I have read. Every page is gripping, forcing you onto the next page. There aren't many long and complex words so children can read it easily, yet adults can enjoy it too. It's an excellent book and at about £5, it's an essential read.

                        ==List of Awards==

                        1997 Nestle Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal 9-11 Years
                        FCBG Children's Book Award 1997 Overall Winner / Longer Novel winner
                        Birmingham Cable Children's Book Award 1997
                        British Book Awards 1997 Children's Book of the Year
                        Young Telegraph Paperback of the Year 1998
                        Sheffield Children's Book Award 1998
                        Whitaker's Platinum Book Award 2001

                        ==Info==

                        Author: J.K Rowling
                        Cover illustrator: Thomas Taylor
                        Pages: 223
                        Sales: Over 130 Million
                        US Name: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

                        The book has also been adapted into a film featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. There is also a game that was released alongside the film.

                        Thanks for reading! I have also posted this review on Ciao, under the name YoshiCheesePuff.

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                        19.12.2010 14:10

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                        A fun introduction to the world of Harry Potter

                        As a fan of both the Harry Potter book and films I have enjoyed all of individual titles as each have something to offer and can be enjoyed in their own unique way.

                        This then is the first in the Harry Potter series and introduces us to Harry and his friends for the first time. This is the book in which Harry finds out he is a wizard for the first time and leaves his boring suburban home with his aunt and uncle for a life of magic and adventure at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his new friends Ron and Hermione. The reader is also introduced to many of the peculiarities of the magical world for the first time such as the tendency of people in photographs to move and the range of magical creatures including trolls and dragons which make Harry's new life a bit more exciting.

                        As with all of the Harry Potter books this one is easy to read and keeps you turning the pages right until the end. J.K. Rowling is brilliant at describing the magical world in such a way that as the reader you can really see the impressive castle, the roaring fires in the common rooms and the crowded, colourful shop fronts of Daigon Alley. She also effortlessly combines intrigue and drama with comedy, and Ron Weasley in particular has some great lines and is my favourite character for this reason. This combination of adventure and laughs also makes this a great read for both adults and children.

                        Although it could be argued that some of the later Harry Potter books are darker and more dramatic, this is a great start to the series and sets up some interesting plot points which will become more important as the series progresses. All in all, this is an absorbing and fun read which hooks you from the start and makes you want to read the rest of the books in the series.

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                        16.09.2010 09:42
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                        Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

                        Written by J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series of 7 books has to be one of my favourite. Ok, they are classified as a children's book but I really think they are perfect for all ages. Like them or not (I know there is the school of thought that these books promote witchcraft and so some Christian groups do not like to read them) but I feel they are heartwarming stories of love, friendship, hard work and a very innocent story for young children and teens that does not involve drugs, bad language etc.

                        The first book might probably be my favourite as this is where we get introduced to the weird and wonderful world that is Hogwarts and meet all the characters in this delightful series. Book 1 is entitled Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and was retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States as they didn't think Americans would understand what a Philosopher is! THe book was released on June 30th 1997 but to me it seems just like yesterday.

                        Harry Potter believes for the first part of his life that he is just an ordinary little boy. He lives with his aunt and uncle after his parents unfortunately passed away when he was a baby. However, what he doesn't know is that his parents were actually killed by Voldemort, the most powerful Dark wizard in history and that he actually escaped being killed but ended up with a scar on his head whilst doing so. When is he a baby he is placed the one year-old orphan in the care of his Muggle (non-wizard) aunt and uncle, Vernon and Petunia Dursley by Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid. When he is eleven years old and ready to start senior school he finally meets Hagrid who tells him all about it and takes him away from his somewhat horrible aunt and uncle and takes Harry to Hogwarts. Thus starts the beginning of his battle with Voldemort who cannot really touch him whilst he is at school but is always trying to outsmart Harry with every move.

                        This book in my opinion is so well writtena nd captures all the fears about starting a new school and trying to make friends and fit in. Of course, this is extremely hard for Harry as he is the most famous wizard in the wizarding world due to his escape from Voldemort and everyone is anxious to meet him and befriend him. Two great friends that Harry makes in this book are Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger. They become Harry's friends for life and follow him in the many adventures he get up to this school year. However, not everybody wants to be Harry's friend and he also encounters some resistance in the form of Draco Malfoy and he becomes a menace all throughout Harry's school years.

                        In this book Harry also starts to play Quidditch, a game played on broomsticks involving balls and rings and is quite a rough sport. I love the way that Rowling describes this game and the various matches that Harry plays, she describes each match in great detail and it actually makes you believe that this is a real game and one I would actually love to play.

                        Now, as this title suggests, the book is about a Philosophers stone. The Philosophers stone is a stone that, according to legend, changes all metals to gold, and can be used to brew an elixir that can make the drinker immortal. Of course, this would be very dangerous in the wrong hands so Harry and the gang must try to find it and then decide what to do with it!

                        This book has now been translated into over 67 languages. It reached the top of the New York Times list of best-selling fiction in August 1999, and stayed near the top of that list for much of 1999 and 2000 and has been made into afeature-length film of the same name. In my opinion a great book and an excellent introduction to the wonderful world of Harry!

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                      • Product Details

                        Say you've spent the first 10 years of your life sleeping under the stairs of a family who loathes you. Then, in an absurd, magical twist of fate you find yourself surrounded by wizards, a caged snowy owl, a phoenix-feather wand and jellybeans that come in every flavour, including strawberry, curry, grass and sardine. Not only that, but you discover that you are a wizard yourself! This is exactly what happens to young Harry Potter in J K Rowling's enchanting, funny debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In the non-magical human world--the world of Muggles--Harry is a nobody, treated like dirt by the aunt and uncle who begrudgingly inherited him when his parents were killed by the evil Voldemort. But in the world of wizards, small, skinny Harry is renowned as a survivor of the wizard who tried to kill him. He is left only with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, curiously refined sensibilities and a host of mysterious powers to remind him that he's quite, yes, altogether different from his aunt, uncle, and spoilt, pig-like cousin Dudley.