Oct 12, 2012

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (book 1), by J. K. Rowling

Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.

Intended Age-Group: 9-12
Issues of Violence: action violence, monsters, bullying.
Intimacy Level: none
Swearing: d**n, usage of the word "hell" in expressions
Recommendation: yes, 5 out of 5 stars (see end of entry)

I've already posted reviews for the Harry Potter Series in chunks. books 1-3, books 4-6, and book 7, but I've been reading the series to the hubby for his first time and, since I'm going through them again, I wanted to post individual book reviews to be more thorough (find book 2 review here).

Back Cover Blurb:
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.

Initial Reaction: *****

The Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling, is original. There's no other way to say it. The story is so unique and enthralling it's hard not to feel a part of the story as you read. Even better, the content is for all reading age-groups. It's intended for 9-12-year-olds, but would more appropriately be 9-129-year-olds (who love imagination.)

Characters: *****
Harry, the eleven-year-old protagonist, is easy to relate to because he's not fully accepted -- a common trend among teenagers and people in general. He hopes for something greater and finds it in the discovery that he is a wizard. Once he's thrust into the wizarding world as a walking beacon of fame, he encounters trials, rejection, judgment, adventure, and questions he never knew his mind could tackle. He's adamant to pursue what's right, even if that means breaking rules or putting himself in danger.

An issue I've heard mentioned quite a few times about the Harry Potter is that "Harry and his friends are rewarded for breaking rules." I don't agree. Many of their rule-breaking escapades are done with good intent, but when they're caught they often result in detention or point-deductions. When they are rewarded, it's for something greater--saving people's lives, doing the daring that has to be done, that sort of thing. Still, rules are never lifted for these students, no matter how many times they break them for the "greater good". Rules are set in place for a reason, not just to be broken, and I was proud to see the professors standing by them.

Engaging Quality: *****
The wizarding world is alluring, filled with shops of the imagination. Books, magical animals, racing broomsticks, wands, potions, planets, goblins, you name it. We get to discover it along with Harry, gaping in awe at the new candies and magic he sees. We get to meet the students of Hogwarts and pick with him who we like and who we don't. We enter the dangers of discovery, curiosity, and adventure. We learn more about the evil Dark Lord who murdered Harry's parents and made him famous.

Violence: *****
Some scenes in the books are more scary for younger readers. For example, venturing into the Forbidden Forest filled with dangerous beasts and a mysterious creature drinking blood from another animal. It's a disturbing picture, but Dumbledore does a good job explaining that it is not right--it is disturbing. A lesson is always learned. Another instance is when Harry fights against an evil wizard and wounds (like burning) are inflicted. The scenes are intense, but never too dark for the intended age-group.

Writing Quality: *****
The writing style of this book (and the entire series, for that matter) is very easy to follow. So easy, in fact, I've heard people say that J. K. Rowling is "not a good writer." I disagree, because being a good writer greatly hinges on your definition of "writer." The Harry Potter series is filled with an entire new believable and wonderful world, deep characters who build trust, dislike, laughs and questions in the reader, a plot filled with unpredictable twists and surprises, and lessons that are truly applicable to life. J. K. Rowling's descriptions are not elaborate and thick like Tolkien (author of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit). For that, I am truly grateful. Hers is aimed at a younger audience with enough meat to satisfy an older audience. Everyone's reading preference is different, but the quality of writing can't just be judged by book's grammatical make-up.

Overall Recommendation: *****
From a Christian stand-point, I address the issue of "magic" here. No spiritual entities are mentioned. I do not believe these books encourage any sort of true witchcraft, they are merely stories of the imagination. These books sparked my imagination and started the first pushes toward my love of reading and my desire for writing. I recommend the first book to the intended age-group and above. Enter into your imagination and never, ever, let it die.

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, released September 2014 from Enclave Publishing. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at http://nadinebrandes.com.


  1. Thanks. You know it always makes my day to see you enjoy reading about Harry. :) I'm thrilled that you liked this piece.

  2. Hi! Nice review! Personally, I have loved this book as much as all the others of Harry Potter. It belongs to my childhood, so I guess it will always have a special place in my mind and in my heart. And I think it's perfect for kids but also for teenagers, adults and so on. It's an amazing story, a fantastic and magic world with pure and genuine feelings. It's almost perfect!

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