Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review 2015: The Harry Potter Series

I know, I've been talking about reviewing Harry Potter for a while now. It only took me five years to read the series (okay, more like 7 months). It was not the fault of the books, I just got in a reading funk and had Netflix other thinks consume my life.

There are seven books in the series, but we all know how long it takes me to write just ONE review, so I decided to combine all the books in the series into one review. It's gonna be a long review, but it's better this way.

**All reviews published on Randomness With Rachel are done on a five-star rating system. The reviews are solely my opinion and no one else's. Randomness With Rachel does not receive any incentives or compensations for reviews.**

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few decades, I'm sure you've heard of the Harry Potter books (or at least the movies). Up until last September (or maybe it was October), I had never read the books or seen any of the movies. I feel I have to put a disclaimer up before I continue. It wasn't that I felt anything was wrong with the series or that I felt it went against my religious beliefs. I have been asked those questions many times. There are a LOT of books that I haven't read and it's not because I don't think they are any good, or that I feel something is wrong with them. There are books you read and books you don't read. I just never felt any desire to read these books.  

I joke with one of my best friends that I only read this series because he threatened to end our friendship (okay, there is a lot of little truth in that). Lol, But I'm glad I read them and stuck with them, despite it taking me over half a year to finish them.

First of all, J.K. Rowling is a great author and an amazing storyteller. I was really impressed with her writing in these books. These books are not "quick reads" by any means. I think the shortest book was maybe 400 pages and the longest one was well over 900 pages. I'm gonna be honest (and please don't hate me die-hard Harry Potter fans), I struggled with the first book- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It wasn't that it was bad, I just couldn't get into it. It may have a lot to do with the fact that I'm not a "fantasy book" fan (mysteries and thrillers are my "go-to" genre). I've never believed in magic (yeah, I was that kid), so it was hard for me to get into the story. Again, it was not the book's fault, it was mine. I will say that I have friends who love the series who agree with me about the first one being hard to read. Book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, seemed better to me, but it was probably book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, before I really got into the story. I would text my friend for spoilers, and of course, he wouldn't give any. 

The author had a lot of lovable characters (and some that were not so lovable). One of my favorite characters was Nearly Headless Nick. I don't know why, but I really liked him. And he wasn't even a main character. I would say after book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the series really got exciting (to me at least). People say that is when the series turned a little "dark", but maybe I prefer reading "darker" stories. Lol.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5) might be my favorite of the series. It was the first one I got emotionally invested in. For the last two books of the series, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I listened to the audio version of the stories. I have to say, I love audio books (that is, if the narrator is any good). I did a lot of driving when I was reading (listening) to those stories, and the narrator (Jim Dale) did a fantastic job. It seems someone has uploaded these audio books onto YouTube, here is the first book being read by Mr. Dale.

I noticed that the author's writing got better with each book. Not that it was ever bad, it just seemed like she got more comfortable with the characters and her writing just improved. There were parts of the story that I predicted would happen (I won't post spoilers, you can message me if you want to know), and there were some that totally surprised/angered/saddened me.   

I would be very interested to read another book by J.K. Rowling, just to see her tackle another genre. I saw on her website she wrote a crime novel, so I plan on checking that out soon! That kind of book is right up my reading alley.

If you have been putting off reading this series (like me), I say give it a try, even if it's not the type of stories you normally read. You might be surprised and like it. 

Another thing about finishing the Harry Potter series is that I can cross it off my "50 Banned Books" list on my 101 in 1001 challenge! I'm going to get to more books on that list eventually!



  1. I'm glad you ended up enjoying them! I think my favorite book is the Half-Blood Prince, but my least favorite is the Deathly Hallows. There was way too much time with nothing going on in that story. But overall, I loved the series! I've read The Cuckoo's Calling that she wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It was really good too-- very different. But you'd probably like it since it was a murder mystery! :)

  2. OK. I really need to finish these books. Especially if book 5 is your favorite.

    I also really liked the narrator for the audiobooks. I wish I drove more so I could just listen to the rest of the series.