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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$9.78+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on October 6, 2015
SPECIAL NOTE: For U.S. customers purchasing the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, you will notice the text has NOT been converted to the "Americanized" version of the original U.S. releases (with the exception of changing all "Philosopher's Stone" mentions to "Sorcerer's Stone"). So far, I have noticed the following: (EU/US) dialling / dialing; Shan't! / Won't!; sherbet lemon / lemon drop; motorbike / motorcycle; and dustbin / trashcan. For many purists of the series who never liked the idea of modifying the original text for an American audience, this is a good thing. Good or bad is naturally for each reader to decide--just know, if you plan to read the books while listening to Jim Dale's audiobooks, you'll notice a few superficial differences.

The quality of this new illustrated edition is phenomenal. I've been excited about the release of this book since it was announced, but I never expected the book as a whole to be so well crafted.

A couple of things to note:
1. Underneath the book jacket, the novel is bound in a sturdy red hardback with gold lettering on the spine.
2. The paper is thick with an eggshell glossy finish.
3. All chapter intros are illustrated.
4. Some images take up full pages or multiple pages. Most illustrations share the page with text.
5. Every inch of the book is illustrated or decorated in some fashion. There are NO white pages in the book. Even the pages without large illustrations have the paper printed and marked with ink blots or paper "stains".

I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to read the series (again, or for the first time), especially if you plan to read this with someone younger. If this book is a demonstration of what is to come with the illustrated editions for the rest of the series, we're all in for six more impeccable treats.
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VINE VOICEon October 6, 2015
The book itself and illustrations are absolutely, incredibly extraordinary. In that way, this is 100% a 10-STAR book and is absolutely to die for for Harry Potter fans. I was ravenous to get my hands on my copy as soon as it was delivered this morning, but was quickly disappointed.

First, Amazon's packaging was utterly and despicably inadequate. (See Photo) My book was shipped in a box, with *no packing material* of any kind. At first glance, it seemed OK. But when I took a close look at my dust jacket, I was extremely upset to find that the gold foil lettering for "Harry Potter" had been rubbed away and destroyed completely in some places leaving ugly, black matte in its place-- pock marking the otherwise handsome gold lettering. Also, the matte-finish of the dust jacket had been rubbed so badly due to the bad packaging that it left scars and shiny markings where the matte finish was worn off. For an obvious gift/collectors item, this is absolutely unacceptable. I called Amazon and they didn't seem to "get" what my fuss was all about and just offered to ship a replacement which, undoubtedly, will be shipped in exactly the same way.

Second, after I got over my initial outrage over the shipping/packaging. I sat down to enjoy the actual book itself, which as I said is absolutely extraordinary! I was extremely cautious handling the book and binding, being unsure how tolerant the binding is of weight. I carefully opened both the right and left sides of the binding and supported the weight of the opened cover using a small pillow. By the time I reached the back 3/4th of the book (on Professor McGonagall's full page illustration) the binding separated from the spine the very first time I turned the page. In other words, the binding fell apart during my very first pass through the book. (See Photo). Another thing that really drove me crazy was the way that the stitched in book mark was carelessly folded into the book. It left dents all over my pages (See Photo), which of course had to be on a full page illustration of Hagrid!

Needless to say I'm in awe how Bloomsbury has managed to put together such an incredible project, with JK Rowling's remarkable literature and Jim Kay's otherworldly illustrations-- and allowed it to be put together in a low quality binding! I noticed that all of the previous Harry Potter books were printed and bound in USA (some in Mexico) but this book was printed and bound in China. I would like to hope that they would quality check a thing like this, but perhaps not. Either way, I am extremely disappointed in the quality/binding of my book. I would be interested to know if others are seeing the same thing. And please, Amazon, pack these books in bubble wrap and packing material! Not all alone in a box...

Update (October 9th): I have finally received my new book and it was in much, much better condition. The cover and spine were tight, intact and falling apart from the binding like my original copy. Addtl photos to follow...
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on October 6, 2015
The numerous illustrations are a wonderful addition to a brilliant book and will bring the story to life for young readers just growing into the series. Be aware, however, that books in this new illustrated series are quite substantial in size and weight, with pages so wide that column format is used for the text. I imagine that later books in the series will rival encyclopedias. Prepare your bookshelf accordingly.
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on October 3, 2017
The book is amazing, as always. I love these illustrated editions and wish I had young children to read them to! I am very disappointed in Amazon's shipping AGAIN. The book was not cushioned in anyway so it was tossed around inside a box too big for it on it's journey here. The book jacket now has peeling and wear all along the edges. How very sad! I collect these. I expect them to be shipped properly.
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on June 27, 2017
Obviously, it's hard not to love this series. This edition is one of the most beautiful editions I have owned. It is the Ravenclaw Edition which was printed for the 20th Anniversary of the first publishing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (you can find Editions for all of the houses). What makes this edition different besidea the cover is the bonus information inside. You get information about the House, the founder, notable people who have come from that house, the house ghost and even a fun quiz to take at the back of the book. I hope they do something similar for the 20th Anniversary of all of the books in the series.
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Now, while this first book alone might be rightly criticized for a few specific shortcomings and I might have rated it four stars if that was the only thing I were judging... this Illustrated Edition is just stunning, absolutely gorgeous. The price point at which it is currently being sold is a great deal for what may as well be a combination of novel and Potter-themed Jim Kay artbook: the complete, unabridged text (which, except for the change of "Philosopher's Stone" to "Sorcerer's Stone," also presents American buyers with what is so far their only official means of purchasing the original British text without import or e-platform region-trickery) shares its page space here with a wealth of stunning illustrations; characters, scenes, locations, and imagery throughout the books faithfully brought to visual life with no loyalty paid by the illustrator whatsoever toward the established movie-based appearances of people, places, or characters, favoring instead fresh interpretations of the descriptions given of characters within the text itself. It is worth mentioning that though the illustrated Hagrid very closely resembles his film counterpart, his film counterpart already resembled his book description and Mary GrandPré's illustrations of him to a T as it was. Other characters such as Harry's friends or Severus Snape are far further from their film counterparts while still retaining loyalty to their book descriptions.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I thought Snape's appearance in the books couldn't be faithfully visualized in any way apart from the costume and hair stylings of Alan Rickman's portrayal until this book's ever-so-creepy version proved me wrong; and as for our young heroes, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, their illustrations pay more dues to their book-counterpart physical shortcomings than they film actors could be expected to, with Ron appearing much more freckly and gangly, and Hermione's bushy hair and larger-than-average teeth featuring more prominently (these were, after all, features of hers that were called into the direct spotlight when she found herself going to lengths to manage them in Goblet of Fire); similarly Dudley and the Dursleys are displayed with more focus on their amusing and sometimes morbid physical descriptions (Dudley's comparison to a "beach ball" as an infant is at once funnier and easier to take seriously as a problem when it's accompanied by pictures of a baby who has been allowed to grow THIS overweight).

Other specific locations, objects, or setpieces are also shown here in stunning detail, with perhaps the only thing missing being a full and unimpeded view in the artwork of the villain unmasked. It is quite a dark image, though, and perhaps Jim Kay made the decision that the artwork should be kept to a low maximum of unsettling visuals in these early novels to respect the intended uphill tonal slope that the books ascended as they went. It is a pity, though; I'd looked forward to seeing that scene with a more book-loyal version of Voldemort implemented than the one in the film (book Voldemort, after all, is very close to the one portrayed in the second half of the film series; he does not have a properly human-looking face like the version shown in the first movie does), but we must satisfy ourselves with a teasing image of one of Voldemort's slitted, red snake-eyes peeking out through a plot spoiler.

The frequency of illustrations will not disappoint. They occur every few pages at a minimum, often dominating entire pages or sharing page space in artful ways with the text formatting (this, I think, is the reason that the American version does not change the British text). The illustrations range from reasonably detailed and well-drawn to the kind of painstakingly beautiful work I'd like very much to frame massive prints of an create a personal art gallery for in my home. And no page in this book is ever left complete white, with even page-space not used by illustrations given an aesthetically-plasing background texture, the quality of the paper remaining sufficiently heavy-duty throughout, so that it is not unlike reading a copy of the Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons Player's Manual visually. The dust jacket bears the beautiful cover art of the Hogwarts Express puffing out smoke before a crowded train platform and the book itself a sturdy, red-bound volume with only shiny gold printing on the spine of the title, publisher, author, and illustrator to mar the outside with potential scratchables; the inner covers sport a detailed black-and-white view of the Hogwarts Castle exterior.

It should be noted that this is quite a large book and I mean that in the most practical sense that it is physically taller and wider than all previous editions of Harry Potter that I know of. I've included a picture for size comparison with a hardback copy of Order of the Phoenix and a paperback copy of Sorcerer's Stone, both my own American printings. The book it also quite heavy. Between its weight, form factor, and the likelihood that one does NOT wish to damage this book, it is recommended for reading only at a table in one's room, and not outdoors, at the dinner table, or in any other situation where it might fall prey to either arm fatigue or an unfortunate spill. Treat this book with care, because it is a true collector's treat and deserves to remain on one's shelf for many years to come: it is the most luxurious way of reading this book that exists to date, and will remain so perhaps until such a time as a true Easton Press-tier, leather-bound edition of the franchise is produced, which may, for all I know, simply be an even more expensive version of this Illustrated Edition series when it does finally come to exist.

The only other negative to mention is that since this is the British version of the text, the line about a black boy (taller than Ron) named Dean Thomas joining the Gryffindor table during the Sorting Ceremony has been omitted, a curious editing choice on the part of the British publishers that stands as the only instance where the U.S. text kept something that was changed in the original. Lest you get the wrong idea, this was probably a case of Bloomsbury trying to shave a few words off the total length of the book; Scholastic, masters of low-quality binding techniques passed down in their family for generations, were far more concerned with formatting pages to have fewer words and wider spacing to keep from scaring off children from reading it, and thus did not care about word count: a decision they perhaps came to regret when Order of the Phoenix made their formatting choices impractical. This is, by and large, the main reason why the American versions of the Harry Potter novels have so many more pages per book than their British counterparts.

As of this writing, only the first two books in the series have been published as Illustrated Editions, with Book Three due for release in late 2018, almost two years yet to come. After thumbing through the pages and pages of fantastic art this edition is filled with, I can say with confidence that the wait between books for Illustrated Editions will be as well and truly worth it as when crowds of eager readers gathered outside of bookstores for release parties during Harry Potter's heyday ten years ago.
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on July 26, 2016
I absolutely LOVE the Harry Potter series, and it is definitely one of my favorite series that I have ever read. When I first started reading them I wasn't really sure that I would like them as I had unfortunately thought it was 'nerdy' when I was in school, and it was definitely a huge mistake! It is still a very good read as an adult, but I really wish that I had started reading them when they came out. I wanted my kids to be able to experience the magic of Harry Potter while they are young enough to believe in that kind of magic so we have started reading them together, and then watching the movie that coincides with the book. They love the series as well though I don't think they like it as much as me since my daughter 'teases' me about it. :)

This book is captivating from the very first sentence. J.K. Rowling is a very gifted writer and is descriptive enough to be able to transport you to her world without being so wordy that you find yourself losing interest. If you have not read this book yet then read it! You will not be disappointed.
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on October 8, 2012
Having read some of the more negative views, I have to say this: Would you have ranked "1984", "The Bluest Eye", "The Grapes of Wrath", or "Great Expectations" so badly? Guess what, some of the best stories aren't fun-filled light reading! Some of the best works are disturbing, even sad. So, if your view of literature is that a book can only be worthwhile if you can breeze through it having a fun adventure, then don't bother with this book. This is something else entirely.

That said, "The Casual Vacancy" is a disturbing character study. It is written in third-person omniscient point of view. It does require some effort to handle a story with some 18 or so viewpoint characters, so this book will be at too high a reading level for some. I normally don't like the omniscient POV, but this story had to be told that way and Rowling handles it with expertise.

So, what is this book about? It is about pain and cruelty and why people become cruel. There are no traditional protagonists or antagonists, just people going through life. Rowling explores the various ways that people become cruel, angry, or jaded with each main character showing a different form of cruelty and a different reason for it. And, this book is about the people that get hurt by other people's pain and anger.

This isn't an easy book to read, probably the reason so many have reviewed it negatively. But, this is a brilliantly written book, just not for everyone.

This novel is written with a seldom-seen narrative structure. In this structure the story begins with a simple, perhaps commonplace, connection between a group of people (in this case, someone dies, which has some effect on each of these characters). The narrative then explores how each character's life led him or her to be present for that connecting event and then the character moves on past the single event. As this structure is used for a character study, the connecting event may not even be particularly important. Instead, we see a collection of interconnected characters as the main thrust of the novel, rather than a single story unfolding. In this case, we follow how the death at the beginning of the novel affects approximately 18 characters.

I highly recommend this book to those who want to read something thought-provoking and actually about the real world. But, if you want some light reading that you don't have to think about, then stay away from "The Casual Vacancy".

To those who reviewed it negatively because it wasn't like Harry Potter, I can only ask whether they were paying attention. Rowling explored many of these themes, hidden behind the window dressing of fantasy, in those books. That is why Harry Potter was not just another of the countless stories about magical children. She continues this exploration in "The Casual Vacancy", but without the magic and without the restrictions of children's literature.

Edited to add: I realize that Rowling has described this as a dark comedy. I don't know why she has said that. Perhaps she had intended this to be a comedy, and there are some satirical scenes, but it grew into something else as she developed and revised it. Whatever the case, I saw very little that was humorous in this book. I did greatly appreciate the book, but I don't know why she would claim it was a comedy, dark or otherwise.
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This book is absolutely breathtaking. Every page is filled with illustrations. It's just so beautiful. I love how they've come out with these books with the 3rd one on the way next month. It's an interesting take on the classic book from JK Rowling. It really has you picturing exactly what's going on with each page.

Harry Potter has spanned an entire generation and hopefully with these versions, it'll have kids wanting to put down their electronic devices and pick up a book again.
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on October 15, 2017
The first two illustrated versions were beautiful. This one really let me down. I felt like there was a lack of variety of illustrations, and the ones that there were didn’t have the detail and complexity of the previous books. Perhaps (darn it) a year isn’t enough time to create the art captured before. I hope the next one goes back to the detail and breathtaking art of books one and two.
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