Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Harry Potter”

CommanderStrikeher’s #CBR4 Reviews 32-38: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

*Audiobook Review*

***This is my FOURTH attempt to write this review.  I have become paralyzed with fear that I cannot do justice to this amazing series.  Feel free to criticize, you can’t write anything worse than I have already thought.***

Since I am incredibly behind on my reviews, I’m doing one giant review of the series.  Shut up.  I need to spend more time reading and less time agonizing over reviews if I’m going to make it to 52 books.

I used to be obsessed with the Harry Potter books.  I read and re-read the first four books during that horrendous three-year wait between books four and five.  I was at midnight book parties for the last 3 books, and my first knitting project was an attempt at a Gryffindor scarf.  It was terrible, because I couldn’t knit very well and I was using cheap-o scratchy yarn.  I watched the movies, and I was relatively pleased with the first three.  Then they started turning 700+ page books into 2 1/2 hour movies, and the perfectionist in me reared her ugly head.  I was increasingly disappointed by what seemed to be glaring omissions in the films (S.P.E.W. anybody?).  I never even watched the last 3 films.

Lately I have had a Harry Potter renaissance.  I re-read all of the books, watched all eight of the movies, and even blasted my way through both Lego Harry Potter video games (which are the video game version of crack, by the way).  This was my fourth (maybe fifth?) re-read of some of these books, and even knowing what happens, they are as engrossing as ever.  I still get a little teary when certain characters are killed.  I still hate Delores Umbridge with the fire of a thousand suns.  The twelve-year-old me still identifies with Hermione Granger, and I still want a Hippogriff for a pet.

These books are credited with getting kids to learn that reading is fun. They are classics that will hopefully be read and re-read for generations.  Finishing the series is depressing, because I won’t be able to have any more adventures with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  If you haven’t read these books yet, there is nothing I can say to convince you.  Just don’t make the mistake most adults make in assuming that because these books are written for children that they are childish.  These books have some very adult themes, and some of them are downright dark.  Characters die.  Characters that you love.  Your favorite characters will die FOR NO DAMN GOOD REASON.

*Audio-specific portion of the review*

Jim Dale’s narration is nothing short of amazing.  When he reads Hagrid, you think that Hagrid is there reading his part.  His Professor McGonagall was amazing as well.  These are wonderful for a car trip, or just listening while you clean around the house.  Probably the best-read audiobooks I have ever listened to!


I forced my roommate to watch the movies since he had never seen Harry Potter anything before.  I previously tried to get him into fantasy with Game of Thrones, but he hated all of the characters. Here’s the exchange we had after watching Prisoner of Azkaban.

“Do you like Harry Potter better than Game of Thrones?”

“Game of Thrones is like Harry Potter, if everyone was in Slytherin.”


There is nothing I can write that can top that.


5/5 Stars


Petalfrog’s #CBR4 Review #39: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a book of folklore stories set directly in the world of Harry Potter. It is the compilation of oral tales from the final book of the HP series, and cleverly introduces Harry, Hermione, and Ron to the “Deathly Hallows” through “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” In the Harry Potter universe, The Tales of Beedle the Bard are the equivalent of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, each with a moral lesson, and well-known by all Wizarding kids. The book is presented to us as a printed version of Hermione’s rune translation, with each of the five tales accompanied by analyses by Albus Dumbledore (Hogwarts’ headmaster). The stories get successively more intense, mature, and gruesome (for lack of a better word), which is very consistent with the growth of the Harry Potter series. The book is essentially designed to bring us directly into the Harry Potter universe, as if we too were wizards and simply reading an updated version of the Tales.

This is a short book, just over 100 pages, but it is a lovely palate cleanser from all the thrillers (murder, mystery, killer, horror) I’ve been reading lately. I definitely stick to a variation of the thriller/mystery/horror genre with an occasional foray into young adult or literary fiction, and it can be easy to get wrapped up in some of the heaviness and darkness and wind up craving something light and lovely. Thankfully, Beedle the Bard was exactly what I needed to wipe a clean slate before returning to the Kindle and all the books I have “scheduled” to read there. Some of the Tales were definitely darker than I expected (Woah, Hairy Heart), but told in such a beautiful fashion that they were actually delicious to read. I loved Dumbledore’s take and discussion of the various stories as well. Who doesn’t love a little Dumbledore in their life?

Can we also talk for a second about how gorgeous that cover is? It almost appears three dimensional, and has elements from each of the Tales in it. If I had a kid, I’d probably frame it for their bedroom wall!

Read the rest of my reviews at my blog!

xoxoxoe’s #CBR4 Review #38: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone [audiobook], by J.K. Rowling

I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone more than once (or even twice), not to mention seeing the movie a number of times. My daughter loves Harry and all his friends. At eight, she isn’t old enough to see all the movies yet, or read the books. A friend a few years back recommended the audio books, and since we have been doing a bit of driving around this summer I thought we’d give the first novel a go. I didn’t think I was really in the mood to “read” it all over again, but the amazing work of Jim Dale changed all of that. He makes Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone come alive in a way that rivals the printed word and the movie, although some of his vocals, especially those of Hagrid and Harry’s uncle Vernon Dursely, seem to be influenced by the movie’s actors, Robbie Coltrane and Richard Griffiths respectively.

Dale is so convincing in the prose passages and character voices that at times it is easy to forget that you are listening to just one person. From Wikipedia:

To millions of fans in the United States, Jim Dale is the “voice” of Harry Potter. He has recorded all seven books in the Harry Potter series, and as a narrator he has won two Grammy Awards, seven Grammy Nominations and a record ten Audie Awards … He is also the narrator for the Harry Potter video games, and for many of the interactive “extras” on the Harry Potter DVD releases. He also holds two Guinness World Records: one for having created and recorded 146 different character voices for one audiobook, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and one for occupying the first six places in the Top Ten Audio Books of America and Canada 2005.

As much as some of J.K. Rowling’s character names become a little twee for me after a while (Phyllida Spore, Vindictus Viridian, Arsenus Jigger, Quirinus Quirrell) I have to admit that Dale has helped me fall in love with Harry Potter all over again. I’ve always felt the first book was her best, as it probably received the most solicitous attention from editors. But it is fun again to hear Harry encounter Hogwarts and Hermione and Ron and everything else for the first time. Rowling undeniably created a wonderful world, and as inspired as it might have been by authors like Roald Dahl or P.L. Travers, it is still an amazing achievement. For our first venture into audiobook territory I’m now glad that we chose something so familiar and loved. And as Dale has done the entire series I’m tempted to press on. I’m not sure, however that even Jim Dale could get me through the last book and its endless forest camping trip, but we’ll see.

You can read more of my pop culture reviews on my blog, xoxoxo e

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gabe3886s #cbr4 review 8 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

Harry Potter was born to magical parents during a time when great evil was around in the magical world.  The evil wizard, Lord Voldermort, was so evil that even a decade after his downfall, people still dare not speak his name.  He had heard of a prophecy in which a boy who is born in July will bring an end to his rule (this is mentioned in a later book).  He decided to rid the magical world of all boys born in July in a manner which is biblical in nature, and resembles the work which King Herod did in the bible.  When he got to the

Harry was taken by some of the Hogwarts’ staff to live with his Aunt and Uncle, where he was forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs, until one day he got a letter – thousands of them eventually – accepting him to study at Hogwarts where he could learn of the Potters to rid the world of baby Harry, something strange happened.  Sure enough he killed Harry’s parents, but in the process of trying to kill Harry something went wrong.  Harry Potter became the boy who lived, and he-who-must-not-be-named vanished.

Unbeknown to Harry and the other students, Hogwarts is guarding the Philosopher’s stone, a rare magical stone with very magical powers, including turning any metal into gold and being able to produce the elixir of life.  Some of the dark forces know it is there and try to steal it for their own purposes, and it is left to Harry and his friends to stop them, resulting in a one-on-one confrontation with Harry and the one trying to steal the stone at the end.

 For my full review, view the review on my website (opens a new window).

Post Navigation