Book review: Harry Potter books 1-3

I hardly need to write an introduction to the now very famous story of Harry Potter, the boy who discovers he is a wizard on his eleventh birthday. Harry, who grows up in a rather un-loving family made up of his aunt uncle and cousin, is dreaming of a life far away from them, when his wish is granted and he gets whisked off to wizard school. There, he meets his two best friends Ron and Hermione, and together they go on rather dangerous adventures, nearly getting themselves killed but emerging as the heroes in the end. All along, we learn about the fantastic world of magic, wizardry and everything that comes with it, including quidditch and muggles.

J.K. Rowling has managed to write a truly enthralling story about magic, mixing in not only fantasy but also the ordinary lives of young children who turn into teenagers and the world surrounding them. She shows great imagination be it in the names of characters, in poems and songs she makes up, or the various existing beasts and plants the students are confronted with. Harry’s life and that of his friends can so easily be related to that it is a joy to read, and also easy to follow and start to feel real empathy (or hatred) for the characters.

Re-reading the books for about the 6th time, I am still rediscovering bits and really enjoying the read. It’s incredible how much one can forget over time, and particularly get stuck with what is shown in the movies, which is a little unfortunate. Although the films are good, they of course miss out a lot of important parts and details that can really only be found in the books.

Reading the books again, now knowing the ending, is also really interesting as you pick up on small details and clues throughout the stories, even in the very first books, which make you think back to the way it ends. I don’t know if J.K. Rowling knew the ending when she started writing, but the way she has managed to bring together and tie in all the tiny bits and pieces and details is very impressive! Re-reading the books also makes you remember details you may have forgotten, as for example how Harry finds out about the Chamber of Secrets in book 2 as I had. It is simply a joy to discover or re-discover all the characters in the Harry Potter books, from the most obvious ones like Dumbledore, to some you might have forgotten, and to think of the adventures that are to come.

If you have not yet read the Harry Potter books then I highly recommend them. They will provide many hours of fun, anticipation, sometimes frustration and sadness, followed by joy, and you probably won’t be able to put them down. Even if fantasy is not your favourite genre Harry Potter is easily accessible to everyone and to people of all ages. If you have already read the books, then I strongly recommend reading them again for all the reasons stated above. J.K. Rowling has succeeded extremely well with her books and I am sure they will be handed along through many generations.

Book review: The Dresden files

If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre as I am, then the Jim Butcher series “The Dresden files” are for you! On the hunt for a new fantasy book to read, I picked up the first of the series, called “Storm Front” not long ago.

Harry Dresden is a wizard and the only wizard in Chicago. He’s out of a job and a bit broke, but every now and then the Chicago Police Department call upon him to come and deal with  bizarre crimes they have no explanation for. In each novel (so far I have read the first three) Harry uncovers some magical force behind the unsolved crimes, and battles it out until near death, before triumphing.

It took me a while to get into the first novel, but the action is good and so is the magical/fantasy element. Admittedly, Harry’s powers are not the most amazing you will have come across, but the magical monsters he are up against are fun. You have some traditional vampires, werewolves and other beings, and some other less traditional ones that crop up in the stories. Although Butcher’s literary style is not always my favourite, sometimes weighing in with sentences like “excuse the pun” that I find unnecessary, his books are nevertheless catching. Once you start it is hard to put them down as you want to know what happens to Harry. Butcher builds upon certain characters which recur each book, making you want to follow them and their life stories other than Harry’s.  This also allows you gain in familiarity when picking up the next book in the series, taking up where you left off. There is a decent amount of action, magic and weird creatures involved, and even some romance.

I would definitely recommend the Jim Butcher series for anyone who is in search of light but gripping read in the fantasy genre.