902 of 967 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2009
I, like many other people, used to dislike Harry Potter. I had never actually read the books, but for some reason looked down on Potter fans, thinking them to be a bit off color. I was certain that the whole thing was highly overrated and that it had been blown way out of proportion (like Twilight).
I could not have been more wrong. I finally read the books at the continuous urging of a friend in my junior year of high school, and they have become my favorite books of all time. I have already reread all seven books and stood in line for hours to see the midnight premiere of the newest movie.
When is the last time you have read a book and instantly wanted to pick it up and read it again? It doesn't happen often.
I can't even begin to tell you how incredible these books are. Not only are they very entertaining, but they are filled with the important themes of good vs. evil, the power of love, and the value of good choices. The characters in this book have become part of my life.
If you are at all hesitant to read this series because of its classification as a 'fantasy' series, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. Yes, the book is about wizards and magic, but you would be shocked at how quickly the story pulls you in.
I can only ask you to PLEASE read the first book. If you like it, keep reading. If you don't, keep reading. The books get better as they progress, and I feel that the final chapters of the last book are some of the best reading I have ever done.
Also, do not judge these books from the movies. Everybody knows that the book is always better than the movie, and it's the same case here. The movies are great, but you need to read the books to fully appreciate what's happening and become a true Potter fan.
--------- UPDATE - JANUARY 31, 2015 ---------
Harry Potter is still awesome.
121 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2007
I agree with everyone who has written a review saying that this boxed set was VERY misleading in presentation. This is a given. The publishers should have made a stronger cardboard box, included felt in the lining of the box, and should have downright made the box out of wood or leather. This incredible seven book series deserves the highest quality of workmanship and we, as the loyal fans, deserve the best offer and the finest quality of product. We deserve the publisher's respect, as well. They should be ashamed of themselves.
If you are buying this set because you already have the books and want to get newer versions of them and are focusing moreso on the collector's box to house all of the books and keep them pristine, I recommend that you DO NOT buy this particular set. It is in no way up to standard and the box is very misleading as a "collector's" item.
However, if you are like me and this is your first set of these books and want a fabulous deal on all seven of the hardcover books, which averages out to $17.00 a book, then you might want to think twice.
Here is what I am doing with the cardboard box that they give you. I took out the inner cardboard box that the books are already placed in and I am housing the books inside of there on my bookshelf. The main portion of the box (or trunk) I am using to house all of my Harry Potter DVDs and any other collectables I might have so that they are all kept together in one place. The stickers that they give you can be used on all four corners to cover the gaps of the cardboard that they didn't do themselves. You could put all four house stickers on each corner side.
So, if you want this set solely as a collector's item, don't get it. Wait for another version to come out. If you are mainly focusing on the great deal on the hardcover books and not the box, you might want to go ahead with this offer.
70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2001
I blew off the entire series thinking on my own that it was just another mainstream fad. I don't know why I started reading, but now I am convinced, this is excellent material for anyone child at heart, and arent we all? Yes I am saying that this is a cheerful set for all. Actually you cant beat this, I know all these books will become Icons of reading and remain so for a long long time to come.
Also Recommended SB: 1 or God By Karl Mark Maddox
395 of 464 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I am a big Harry Potter fan and am no less than thrilled to pieces to finally own the complete set of books. (and in hardback no less) The books in this collector's set are the same books (content, artwork, cover and all) that have been sold before individually.
Yet I'm somewhat disappointed, if not slightly disillusioned that the "special collectors case" was a huge letdown. Given the obvious fact that Harry is huge worldwide, it would had behooved the publishers to do right by this commemorative set and make the case out of engineered wood (at the very least!) Instead they opted for the cheaper route and decided to make it out of... drum roll please.... CARDBOARD!
I dunno, maybe I was expecting to much?! (sigh...) 5 stars for Harry & minus one for the presentation...
67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2001
I picked this book up, not for a child, but for myself. I am 41, and I loved it! I am all for teaching kids immagination, and so tired of hearing the people complain about what horrible things it will do to our children. Give me a break! Part of the problem now adays is that kids have been growing up too fast because people won't let them imagine, and won't let them have fun! Part of my fondest memories is that my parents made sure that I had an imagination, and encouraged it. I believed in Santa and the Easter Bunny (but I knew the religious difference - yes, it can be taught hand in hand), having my stuffed animals as friends when I felt alone, and playing pretend in general. This will be a tool to get the kids back to what they should be - kids! (PS - sorcerers and fairys have been around for a while, and I don't practice any spells! Remember Cinderella, Tinkerbell, the Sword in the Stone, and Sleeping Beauty, to name a few Disney movies?)Teach them how to imagine, and they will know the difference between real life, and play time!
867 of 1,040 people found the following review helpful
There's no question that the contents of the books inside this so-called chest are of the highest order. The entire Harry Potter epic was ingenious, brilliant, engaging, and encouraged hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of young readers to read when they might have rather played with their Xbox.
But this is about the packaging, and the packaging is just horrid.
I wasn't expecting something that was as heavy and substantial as, say, a pirate's chest, but I certainly was hoping that the box was more sturdy than a few flaps of cardboard rather cheaply assembled, and easily DISassembled.
I bought this so that I would have a full set of unread hardcovers with the original artwork, for the sake of posterity. In one of the worst marketing decisions I've seen regarding the Harry Potter series, the publishers thought it would be a good idea to include the extras (decals and whatnot - things I'm not interested in) shrink wrapped with the books. To get at them, you have to tear the shrink wrap, and thus compromise the books over time (a long period of time, and admittedly not much would be compromised).
Also, the clasp on the box was cheap plastic. Horrible. I almost broke it when undoing it. Is a metal clasp too much to ask for? Apparently it is.
I'm not completely dissatisfied with the purchase, because the books are phenomenal. I would have purchased a compilation of all seven books at some point, but I wish I had waited until they offered such a product without the sadly and unfortunately shoddy "chest". When I bought this product, I absolutely, 100% was buying the packaging, and the packaging was dismal.
48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2001
I've just fininshed reading the first 4 Harry Potter books for about the 5th time through, and they're just as magical and affecting as they have ever been. Everything is in here: suspense, adventure, mystery, humour, danger. There's even some pretty satisfying paybacks. The characters are fantastic and fantastically realistic. There are bad people who turn out to be good guys and good people who turn out to be bad guys, just like life.
I think the thing I like best about these books is the message that it's okay to be different - to be not "normal." I would very much have liked to have heard that message when I was Harry's age and in a stiff, prep school environment.
These book value real thought. Much has been made of Harry's rule breaking, but only once in the series so far does he break a rule for arbitrary personal gain. Most of the time he makes a decision that what's right is more important than what's written. And you know what? Life's like that sometimes. I think it's great that kids are getting an example of how to do what's right even when it involves breaking rules. The Potter books also show that there are consequences for rule breaking. If not getting caught and getting a detention, then a spell going wrong and someone getting turned into a cat. This shows that when you make a decision to go against the rules that things may not go as you expected and you have to take responsibility for the outcome.
Rowling's done a great job with these books! Long may she continue.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2002
I have read all four Harry Potter books. Though book 4 is much longer than the others, and does get a little boring at times, you certainly have to rate the whole set a 5 star effort by J.K. Rowling. The author's forte' is imagination and knowing how to spin an interesting tale out of her imagination. I like fantasies and am eagerly waiting for her next one to come out. In the meantime I have just finished reading another book that is actually true stories, but presented within the framework of fantasy, a book called "West Point: Character Leadership...." by Norman Thomas Remick that I want readers to know I really enjoyed a lot. It's not magic and wizardry like Harry Potter, but it also has a Harry, and I think is a good one for Harry Potter lovers before reading Book 5 of the Harry Potter series.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2002
I am a 28 year old guy, but even though I've heard some ignoramuses tease other friends about being Harry Potter fans at middle age, I believe t it is only because they're too lazy to sit down and read the books and would rather see the movie and miss half the fun. These books show an author of great imagination spanning age groups and continents and having a rather good idea about what fantasy novels should be like.
Its quite unlike the boring Enid Blyton stuff where you always have a bunch of boring, British brats acting too big for their boots and finally solving mysteries that their even-more boring adults could not solve. Harry Potter wastes no time in Blyton-style gibberish and goes straight for the jugular.
Its total excitement and I read all four books in 5 days. The best of course, is HP and the Sorcerer's Stone, because it does a wonderful job of introducing such a intricate plot and concept to even children. The Chamber of Secrets of course is darker, with more death and violence and a scary monster that travels inside of walls and kills. Voldemort of course if still trying to kill HP and rise to power again.
The Prisoner of Azkaban should be fun when it comes out as a movie because of all the Animagus, werewolf and Patronus stuff. I especially look forward to how the movie will depict the Dementors, the horrible soul-sucking blind guards of the fortress of Azkaban which is used by the ministry as a jail for Dark Wizards such as the Death-Eaters, who are followers of Voldemort. The Goblet of Fire is not as much fun, the Triwizard Tournament being a let-down, but heats up considerably at the end with all the characters getting ready for a major show-down in the next parts. It felt really incomplete as if Rowling was saving stuff for the next part. Its drawn-out with well over 800 or so pages and it is quite a pain.
On the whole, I would suggest anyone under the age of 100 to read these books and to feel as free as a child again, with nothing to check the imagination but your mind. I loved the books.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2002
As the Harry Potter-hype started a few years ago, I only got to read the books a few weeks ago. Even after Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling started to appear in most conversations within my circle of friends, I still wasn't convinced to read about the adventures of this little wizard who gets all this media attention. During one of my frequent visits to my beloved book stores in town, I overheard a young girl discussing with her mother about which of the HP books they liked the best. The mother sounded like a even bigger fan than her 12-year old daughter. So on the way out, I picked up the British paperback version of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". I took the book with me on my daily train ride to work, and straight from the first chapter, I was hooked to the writing style and the unique atmosphere Ms. Rowling has created in her stories. I regretted that my train ride ended so fast every morning ever since.
I finished the first book in 3 days, (which is no time record at all), and picked up the 3 sequels in the same week. I always loved reading, but have never encountered such a page-turner yet! The magic of Ms. Rowling is that she can keep a 9-year old and a 24-year old reading with interest. Haven't seen much writers who can enchant such a broad group of different ages and cultures in the same time.
The comparison between the Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings seemed unavoidable. Tolkien's fantasy masterpiece is also a great reading experience, but to be honest, I enjoyed the Harry Potter books more because of its original reflections towards our own daily life, the humour, the detailed description of everything (from interior decorations at Hogwarts to the magical candy store in Hogsmead), the action and of course all the adorable and less adorable characters in the story. There is the perfect combination of the hero and his sidekicks. The magical threesome (Harry, Ron & Hermione) has concentrated courage, intellect, strong will, loyalty, humour and optimism. They face challenges from dark wizards, nasty professors and dangerous creatures that only exsist in the magical world. They mostly turn out to be the final winner, and the black-white characterisation was quiet obvious. But isn't that a part of the charm of good story telling meant for kids (and sometimes adults as well)?
One advice, if you can, read the books in its original language. I've seen the Dutch and the Chinese translations, which contains several pretty remarkable mistakes. This is due to the fact that the translations must be done in a hurry in order to get the books on the shelves asap. Such a shame that quality must compensate in this case!
So wake up the 9-year old inside you and take a ride on this magical roller-coaster. You'll get enchanted and longing for more...