I have already read this story but I hadn’t listened to it and someone recommended the audio version to me. I am also emersing myself in good middle-grade fiction as an inspiration for my Agnes story so this had to be on my list. I had read it when it was first out – after my daughter read it – so it’s been a while.
Genre and stats: fantasy, published in November of 2003, 310 pages,audio is 8.5 hours
What I liked: It’s hard not to think of the movies when I was listening to the book, but maybe because the movie used so much of the book that it is hard to keep them apart, which I think is a testament to Rowling skill as a writer. I like how Rowling uses well known myths (goblins, wizards, witches, magic) and plays off them but not too much. As I mentioned about the Artemis Fowl books, I think Colfer went too far with his playing off of some of these same myths, making them harder to “believe.” And then there are just the fun parts – taking on a troll by sticking a wand up it’s nose, playing the game of quidditch I also enjoyed how Rowling used love as one of the most powerful “magic” tools used to keep Harry safe, again, using very real ideas mixed with magical spells. The audio books are narrated by Jim Dale. He does a wonderful job with all the different voices, not making them too odd, but just different enough.
What I didn’t like: Um… I’m not sure. I guess it’s a little far fetched to have Voldemort (spelling?) on the back of Professor Quirrell’s head but most of the other magical things and ideas were very creative – drinking unicorn blood for strength, flying keys, invisibility cloak, Dumbledore’s mirror charm…all wonderfully creative.