Does this book even need to be introduced? I think not. But let me give you a little insight as to why it's appearing here, so many years after its initial publication when one more review cannot possibly do anything to influence anyone in regards to it...
So, when I was little, my mother bought me the first two books in the Harry Potter series as a reward for helping out with a family garage sale. The third book was coming out the next day (as I remember it) so she thought it would be a good way to feed my voracious appetite for books. These were, of course, the original US-edition hardcover editions, very different from the cover art I've posted here. I read the first two, we picked up the third, and then settled in for the wait for the fourth. We went to the midnight release for the fourth, and the fifth. (Am I remembering this right? Maybe the fourth was coming out and I had the first three...hm...) We pre-ordered the sixth, but I ended up with two copies because I was on vacation with my dad when it came out and couldn't possibly wait a whole ten days to get the pre-ordered copy when I returned home. And then the seventh came out, and I...never got it. I don't know why. I knew it was out. It just kind of fell off my radar, and I didn't actually end up reading it until shortly before the seventh movie came out--and even then I only got the copy from the library. Meanwhile, through forced sharing with my demonic little brother, my beautiful books had been utterly destroyed, which means they never got re-read.
Enter the Popsugar Reading Challenge and its category, "A book from your childhood." Also enter the beautiful, paperback box-set of the Harry Potter books in which, when you line them all up in their box, the spines form a breathtaking picture of Hogwarts. I saw that set, and I immediately knew it was a great replacement for the books that were destroyed--so I asked my boyfriend for it for my birthday, and he promptly obliged. And, reading this for the second time ever, I'm reminded of why so many people find these books to be, quite frankly, magical.
Rowling has this very British way of writing very outrageous things very matter-of-factly, which somehow makes them seem perfectly plausible. Neil Gaiman does this, too, and I think it's a trait that makes them so successful as fantasy authors, because this matter-of-factness just makes everything seem real. Of course there's a school for witchcraft and wizardry lurking in the British countryside; how could I have ever thought differently? And Rowling is, of course, an astounding world-builder. Many have droned on and on about her worldbuilding, about all the morals these stories have to offer kids, teens, and even adults, and I won't bore you by repeating what's been said many times before. All those people were right. Does the Harry Potter series have plot holes? Yes. Yes it does. But I don't think that those plot holes at all detract from the story. There's just such a breathtaking world people with such extraordinary people and things that you get swept up in it all, and I don't think the holes that exist detract from that feeling one bit. The boyfriend has never read Harry Potter (he has seen some of the movies) and I recommended to him that he give it a shot--as everyone should. This really is an example of fantasy at its finest, with all of the beautiful worldbuilding of some of the more massive books (Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings) but with a much higher "readability" than those doorstopper books.
4.5 stars out of 5.