Fantasy
 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

Published By: Scholastic Inc.


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            Believe it or not, even after all these years of people telling me that I should read the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling, and after watching the movies based upon her books, I still hadnít read a single one of the books until I cracked open Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone this past weekend.  Of course, those folks were right - as soon as I opened the book, I realized that it must have been enchanted as I found that I couldnít put it down.

            It all beings when Harry Potter is but a baby, orphaned thanks to the workings of He Who Shall Not Be NamedÖokay, Voldemort.  Harry is brought to his aunt and uncleís house in hopes that they will take care of him until he is old enough to follow his destiny.  Unfortunately, Uncle Vernon Dursley and Aunt Petunia Dursley have never had any use for Harryís parents and therefore have no use for their son, verbally and physically abusing the boy.

            Fortunately for Harry, on his eleventh birthday, he learns that there is more to life than living in a pantry and being abused by his spoiled cousin Dudley.  He discovers that there is a secret the Dursley have been hiding from him, a secret that explains the way his family has been treating him all these years.  Harry Potter is actually the son of a witch and wizard, both killed in a battle with the evil Valdemort.  Harry himself is responsible for having made Valdemort disappear, though nobody truly knows how.  Now, Harry will follow in his mother and fatherís footsteps by attending Hogwarts, a school of wizardry.

            Happily leaving his aunt, uncle and cousin behind for what promises to be a more enjoyable environment, Harry sets out for Hogwarts with high hopes.  Upon arrival, he discovers that everyone knows who he is and are expecting great things from him, a rather daunting prospect for Harry is far behind in the wizardry category.  However, making fast friends with Ron Weasley, the youngest of a long line of humble wizards, and Hermione Granger, a Muggle (someone from a non-wizard family) with an aptitude for wizardry, Harry discovers that his life at Hogwarts is quite preferable to one he left behind.

            Unfortunately, not all is as it seems at Hogwarts and when Harry uncovers a plot to steal the Sorcererís Stone, a gem containing a special elixir designed to give the user fortune and immortality, he and his friends set out to stop the evil fiends before they can achieve their goal.  Can Harry Potter prevent the Sorcererís Stone from falling into the wrong handsÖspecifically that of the long gone but not forgotten Voldemort?

            As I said before, once I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone, I found I was loathe to put the book down.  J.K. Rowlingís writing style instantly captivates the reader, describing things in such a manner that the reader sees exactly what is going on in his/her mindís eye.  Harry Potter is a character that is easy to relate to and you find yourself rooting for him early on thanks to his likeability and the abusive nature of his adopted family.  The friends he meets along the way are incredibly enjoyable and I love the little quirks that make them unique.

            The storyline is perfect for the young adult crowd that it was created for, but also suits the adult crowd quite well, transporting them back to a younger time when fantasy was the norm and reality was really quite boring.  Who wouldnít want to grow up to discover that he/she was really a powerful wizard who could go anywhere and do anything?  A much more preferable concept than realizing you were born to be a businessman or postal clerk, right?  Who wouldnít want to live in the world of Hogwarts where dinners meant you were allowed to eat anything your heart desired, where books could actually fly away if you werenít careful, where owls delivered the mail and dragons were real, where the one sport everyone loves is played on a flying brooms

            Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone focuses on Harryís first year at Hogwarts and what an amazing year it is!  However, despite the fact that his first yearís adventures have turned out well, Harry realizes that an old nemesis has returned to the wizard world, one that wonít easily be vanquished.  It is up to Harry to build up his knowledge and strength in wizardry and complete his destiny to vanquish Voldemort once and for all.  Thus, in each progressive book in the Harry Potter series, one can expect Harry to become more and more adventurous and the adventures to become more and more serious in nature as Harry matures.  This is a series designed to grow with its readers (adult company excluded, although I know some adults who could use a bit of maturity in their lives).

            I canít wait to check out the next book in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which features a bathroom prowling ghost, a former wizardís diary and a neurotic little house-elf.  An incredibly creative and captivating writer, J.K. Rowling has me under her spell and Iím more than happy to remain enchanted until I reach the final novel in the series.

 

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