Monday, 14 December 2015

Harry Potter Reread -- Audiobook & Illustrated Editions

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Summary: Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley--a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry--and anyone who reads about him---will find unforgettable.
This isn't going to be a review of Harry Potter (plot, characters, etc.) because at this point, I think everyone and their mother knows what Harry Potter is about and most of you probably love it. It's one of those stories that so many of us grew up with. Instead, it's going to be a review of specific editions of the book -- the illustrated and the audio.

I haven't reread the first book since I was in my early teens, but I've wanted to reread the series for quite a while now (I've only ever reread book 3, 4, and 5)...but considering how big my TBR is, I couldn't justify rereading them. Instead, I decided to listen to the audiobook (the Stephen Fry narration) while I was ill because I was laying in bed and couldn't focus on reading a physical book anyway.

As far as audiobooks go, Harry Potter is definitely my favourite so far. The narration was wonderful and something about this story in particular really works as an audiobook -- perhaps it's because it's a childhood favourite, so there's something comforting about having it read to you as opposed to just reading it yourself.

Listening to it really captured the, well, magic of the story perfectly. I've always been worried that I wouldn't love it the same if I reread it now that I'm older, but I worried for nothing, I loved it just as much as I did when I was a kid. Perhaps even more because of nostalgia. Actually, no, not even nostalgia -- something about this book has that Coming Home sort of feeling that I can't quite put into words but it's the feeling I'd get around Christmas when I was little and my family was there and it was such a warm, safe, content sort of feeling.

Basically, I loved it. The story is still a favourite, but the audiobook gets 5 out of 5 stars too.

As for the illustrated book... Honestly, I don't think I'd buy it for someone who wasn't already a fan of the series. It's not the easiest copy to read because of the layout and size, but it is beautiful and it's a great addition to a Harry Potter fans library.

I didn't read this edition, instead I just flipped through it and looked at the illustrations while listening to the audiobook (awesome, would recommend). The illustrations were stunning -- seriously, I'd happily decorate by bedroom walls with that sort of beautiful. I particularly loved that the illustrations based on the book descriptions instead of just being based on the visuals created for the movies because it would've been so easy to be influenced by that.

To sum up: I had a lot of fun rereading this old favourite and would definitely recommend these editions. I'd recommend the audiobook to anyone, whether they've read the series or not and I'd recommend the illustrated version to fans of the series (if you're buying it for a child and intend to read it to/with them, it'd be nice to be able to show them the pictures though).


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