Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction

Book Review: Harry Potter

Rating: 9.6 out of 10.0

Author: J.K. Rowling

I am going to once more break from my traditional style of reviewing. There are several things I must say before going too far into this review. First, it is important for you to know that this book review comes after having read all seven original works in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. This review does not include any commentary on the most recent work Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This also does not include any commentary on other similar works such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Beedle the Bard, or Quidditch Through the Ages. Beyond this, I would like to note that since I have elected to review the series as a whole, my review may seem inconsistent. By this I mean that the books were not all equal—they were each good in their own right, but I did not particularly think that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was half as good as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Furthermore, as I am reviewing the series as a whole, I have decided to not mention some of the minor things that only appear once or twice unless they are significant enough to warrant this attention. All of this being said, we may now move on to the actual review.

From a storytelling standpoint, this story was masterfully woven. The plot remained solid through the approximately 4,000 pages of the series. Never for a moment was I bored with it. It was complex enough to stay firm throughout the duration of the series, yet it was not confusing (except, perhaps, at a few minor points—but that could also be due to my late-night reading habit). The characters in it were some of the finest in any book or book series that I have ever read. Vivid, loveable, yet fully human (this is not to say, of course, that every character was a Muggle). They all made mistakes, they had their moments of heroism, they were weak and vulnerable. Indeed, they are some of the characters nearest and dearest to my heart now. The setting was also stunning; I loved Hogwarts, the Burrow—all of it. It was alive, not just a flannel-graph board on which Rowling stuck her amazing characters, but an intense, active setting that plays an important role in the books. Conflict was heavily present (sometimes oppressively so) both internally and externally, incorporated expertly with the plot, the various tendencies of the characters, and the rather unique setting. From a storytelling standpoint, J.K. Rowling is brilliant.

The themes in these books were, although dark at times, very good as well. A truth comes out toward the end—no spoiler intended—that love is far greater than any magic. Truth, love, bravery, loyalty—these things are held up as that which should be pursued by all. Indeed, when all else is stripped away, these are the things that matter.

Now, this is all well and good, but I am going to do something I would not have predicted myself doing as I went into this series. I am going to point out the speed bumps with reading this series, but then I am going to launch my strongest argument against all who have said Christians should not read Harry Potter (but that will be in a separate article, linked at the bottom of this post).

What are the flaws with Harry Potter? It is, yes, dark at some times. In fact, some elements of it are very oppressively dark. This is seen particularly in the end of book four through the end of the series. This is done for specific storytelling purposes, and while I do not think it should deter you or your child from reading it, I do think it should cause us to question the age at which we read it. I am old enough that I could see very clearly that it was done for a specific purpose (conflict) and I could see that Rowling very firmly presented it as evil. She did not try to portray it as good.

There is some language in the books, but it is not overbearing. A lot of these times, the characters lead up to saying some swear word, but are cut off before they actually say it. Several characters kiss throughout the books. This, once more, is not something to deter you from the books, but rather to read them (or allow your children to read them) when you are at an acceptable age. Really, there was not much negative about this book that I could see (as evidenced by the rating). I salute my wand to you, Professor Rowling.

Plot- 1.9 out of 2.0
Characters- 2.0 out of 2.0
Setting- 2.0 out of 2.0
Unfavorable content/other- 0.8 out of 1.0
Themes- 1.0 out of 1.0
Dialogue- 0.9 out of 1.0
Quality of writing 1.0 out of 1.0

= 9.6 out of 10.0

See article here


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