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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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1,718 helpful votes
1,719 helpful votes
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on October 4, 2016
IMPORTANT: For U.S. customers purchasing the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, you will notice the text has NOT been converted to the "Americanized" version of the original U.S. releases. This difference isn't as prominent or noticeable as it was with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone, but still something to keep in mind. Also, to answer a question that has come up quite a bit, this is the FULL BOOK and not an abridged or shortened version.

The overall quality is fantastic. The colors are vibrant and the images are, in my opinion, even better than those in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1).

The best features:
1. Underneath the book jacket, the novel is bound in a sturdy orange hardback with green 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". In Chamber of Secrets (compared to Sorcerer's Stone), some pages even have beautiful patterns over the entire page. One page has a spider-web pattern and is right next to a picture of Aragog. Quite brilliant overall.

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. Based on the fact that the illustrations for this book were even better than in the first book, I'm now looking forward to the rest of the series even more. Prisoner of Azkaban is next and I'm heartbroken it'll be so long before I get to have it in my collection.
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299 helpful votes
300 helpful votes
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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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463 helpful votes
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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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426 helpful votes
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on August 28, 2016
I resisted reading this book for a long time, thinking that it would be 'too childish' to hold my interest. Then, one night back in 2007, I happened to be at my local Barnes & Noble during the midnight release party for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series. Seeing the enthusiasm of all the fans gathered there (some of whom were in full costume) made me curious, so I wended my way through the crowd (in the process wondering what "The Sorting Hat" was all about) and approached the first free cashier I could find, the first book in my hands. I was suddenly eager to discover what all the fuss was about!

Well, as they say, the rest is history. I not only promptly devoured Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but began acquiring, and also devouring, the sequels. I only stopped in the middle of the sixth book, when a very sad event made me unable to continue....but I hope to be able to go back and finish the series!

I picked up the first book the other day, and plunged into Harry's magical world once again. Once again, I was totally delighted and enthralled! Rowling's very fertile imagination seems to have no bounds; all the books in this series are full of magical events, as well as twists and turns, and one just never knows exactly what is going to happen next.

Rowling also has the uncanny ability to make her characters, as well as the magical world around them, seem so real! From the very first moment, the reader becomes immersed in this very quirky, wonderfully weird world, where nothing is as it seems, unexpected surprises await, and household chores can be accomplished by the mere wave of a wand (something I positively loved).

Harry, Hermione, and Ron are wonderful characters, and it's not the first time I have wished I had grown up with friends like them. It's great how well they mesh, too, especially since, at first, Harry and Ron constantly found Hermione so annoying.

Harry, of course, is the main hero. He starts out life with the odds stacked against him, what with his sad personal history, and "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" wanting to kill him. In spite of it all, Harry remains courageous, and will not let his curiosity, innate optimism, and eagerness to learn magic be dampened by outward events.

Hermione could have been the main hero of this whole series, because she not only matches Harry (and her name is the female version of his) in all his great qualities, but is also willing to take that extra step to find out more. Books are very important to her, and I really liked her for that! She is also very thorough in her research, and has an excellent memory. Besides, she can really think on her feet.

As for Ron, he is that friend who remains steadfastly by your side, through thick and thin. He's funny, as well, and willing to attempt any adventure, despite his fears. Besides, he's an excellent chess player -- even beating his two friends at the game. In this first book, his chess-playing skills become extremely important in preventing a great catastrophe.

Then there's Hagrid....sweet, lovable, gentle Hagrid, who has a soft spot for creatures great and small, and loves Harry like a father, or perhaps a big, bumbling brother. He's pretty much like a giant teddy bear, and I SO wish I could hug him! He's had some rough times himself, but still remains as positive as he can possibly be. And, most important of all, Dumbledore, the Hogwarts Headmaster, trusts him completely.

Dumbledore is another of my favorite characters, but I won't say much about him because he plays a greater role later on in the series. What I did get to see of him, though, during both my first and second readings of this book, made me like him a great deal! He is definitely a father figure to Harry -- always wise, patient, and willing to give Harry the benefit of the doubt.

There were other great, more minor characters, as well, such as Professor McGonagall, who is really a very fair-minded person, despite her stern exterior, Quirrell, the stuttering professor, the funny Weasley clan, especially the mischievous twins, Fred and George, and Neville, poor, shy Neville, who is constantly losing his pet toad....

Then there's one character who is almost in a league by himself, and a rather hateful one, too: Severus Snape. Alan Rickman plays him superbly in all the movies. He gets the character's oily manner (his hair is even greasy) and incomprehensible attitude toward Harry just right. Rickman made it extremely easy for this reader to despise Snape! Even before I met him on the screen, though, Rowling had already succeeded in making me hate him.

Another character I love to hate is Draco Malfoy, Harry's personal nemesis. I'm surprised he isn't related to Snape, because he can be just as spiteful and horrible to Harry.

Amidst all of the typical boarding school activities and classes with such interesting names as "Potions", "Charms", "Transfiguration", and "Defense Against the Dark Arts", the three friends become very adept at amateur sleuthing, and uncover a secret at Hogwarts, one that students are not supposed to know about....

Of course, there had to be time for sports, as well, and I soon discovered that the magical world's version of soccer -- or is it a strange combination of soccer and basketball? -- with the delightfully odd name of "Quidditch", was not only great fun, but had elements of danger, as well, especially when a certain evil wizard nearly took one of the most important players out of the picture....

Rowling manages all the elements of her plot with great skill, leading her readers along the path toward the exciting, final discovery of the school's secret through tight writing, with not a word to spare.

I especially liked Dumbledore's final words to Harry. It was the power of love, he told the young wizard, that won the day. Some readers might criticize this as 'cheesy', but I thought it was altogether fitting to the story, considering Harry's background.

This is such a terrific story! No wonder it's loved the whole world over, by readers of all ages! This book definitely deserves all the praise it has garnered, and more. I know that I will want to read it many more times in the future! And of course, I will also want to watch the movie just as many times!
117 helpful votes
118 helpful votes
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on November 17, 2016
They are absolutely beautiful. Brand New Paperback for 44.99 is a good deal. It would have been more expensive to buy individually.
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84 helpful votes
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 16, 2017
We purchased the 2nd book in this series last year for my son's birthday and he loved it so I was on a mission to find this one. The book is a hardcover book with a jacket and it is also illustrated. One book for the series is being released each year in this fashion. The illustrations are spectacular and they really change the book's appearance completely. My son loves Harry Potter and collects items and books and of course this book makes his collection that much better. This book is made well and worth the price as it is quite a bit more then the regular book.
1 helpful vote
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on May 15, 2013
My favorite thing about this book is how we get to see that wizards and Muggles are much the same. Mr. Weasley actually thinks that Muggles are fasinating and even "magical" in their own way. It's a nice little theme that I only picked up since it was my third time reading it. It's a subtle contrast to the "Muggle-born" hate the goes along with the opening of the Chamber of Secrets.

And enter Lockhart - the fun, semi-villain. He's fun to make fun of and laugh at but I think he represents a villan that we are more likely to encounter in real life or even become ourselves if we're not careful. He's selfish, vain and will do anything to get ahead including hurting others.

Honestly, this book gave me chills when I first read it. I was not expecting what I considered to be a "kids" book to be scary. I had to finish it in one night so I could sleep. If I didn't find out how Harry got rid of the voices talking about blood and killing, my subconscious would have no way to fight back in my nightmares. I have nightmares about everything.

The magical world J.K. Rowling has built is so fantastic and unbelievably real that it makes me ask questions like, "Why is Peeves physical when ghosts are not and why is he afraid of the Bloody Baron?" And I seriously want an answer. There is no level of detail that is too much in my mind. I must know all the things about Hogwarts. And oh how I love Professor Binns. He's the ultimate old and boring teacher (another thing that Muggles sadly have, too).

I really can't get over how very relatable this book is to kids. It deals with the big and small struggles that kids go through every day. It shows how the characters deal with unfairness and how tedious and boring school can be. And Harry really acts like a kid - he doesn't tell Dumbledore important things in the fashion of any kid who is afraid. Who as a kid didn't tell their parents something even though they knew they should?

After reading it for the third time, it's fun to pick up on the foreshadowing that I missed. I'm noticing that Ms. Rowling often disguises important things as jokes or just another detail to make the world more interesting and colorful. Ooh I just get chills when they figure out who Moaning Myrtle is. See? She's important although at first she appeared to just be a colorful character to annoy them in the bathroom.

I can't end this review without the best quote of the book:

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (p. 333)
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on November 9, 2013
This fourth installment in the awesome Harry Potter Series marks the start of a much darker tone, yet it is perhaps my favorite of the series to day. It also is the last of the series that I am quite familiar with in movie form--so I am quite looking forward to reading books five, six, and seven since I am less familiar with all that happens in them.

This novel is so well written--the entire world created by Rowling is by far one of the best I've ever immersed myself in, and this is the first novel in the series to actually make me cry. While the others are extremely well written, I feel as if the first two novels are much lighter a fluffy, though they hold their own evils; they are in no way like this fourth novel, following the deaths of many, one of which is a very awesome character we've learned to love. Even the third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, with it's escaped prisoner on the prowl and dementors attempting to suck the life out of wizards and witches alike, didn't feel nearly as dark or foreboding as this.

Opening with a murder, death eaters terrorizing muggles, and then the advent of deadly games, this novel is the first to put a darker spin on these lovable MG/YA novels. And I love it. While I do love the first three novels, this one takes a fun world and makes it darker, adding real threats and testing the reader's emotions on a whole new level. It's superb.
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on August 20, 2014
As with all the Harry Potter books, as he progresses through his magical training, the stories continue to get darker and more intense. We see Harry suffering through the pangs of his first crush and his aggravation with himself that he didn't ask her in time to the Yule Ball not to mention the fact that his name was put in the goblet of fire without his knowledge or permission to do so. This causes him a multitude of problems, the most important one being the estrangement with Ron due to Ron's jealousy over Harry getting chosen as a champion. Harry is also enduring the media hype that is caused by Rita Skeeter and her slanderous panderings for the Daily Profit. Not only is he having to deal with the usual teenage angst, he also has to deal with being the second Hogwarts Triwizard Champion however, he handles it all magnificently. I have enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series of books. It has the distinction of being a story that young adults and adults can enjoy.
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