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Never read any Harry Potter - just how good is it?

(52 Posts)
SuckingEggs Fri 04-Dec-15 22:43:37

Am thinking of putting the box set on my Christmas list...

lljkk Fri 04-Dec-15 23:09:14

The first book is utterly charming, the less book only slightly less charming... I think they get tedious after that, sorry!!

niminypiminy Fri 04-Dec-15 23:10:34

Overrated imo.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Fri 04-Dec-15 23:13:29

Good yarn, but they were written for children, not adults.

PerspicaciaTick Fri 04-Dec-15 23:13:48

I think that it has become necessary reading because there are so many cultural references to HP. I'm glad I've read the series, but once is enough for me.

CastaDiva Fri 04-Dec-15 23:17:58

It's Enid Blyton's school stories meets detailed fantasy world-building. Agree that the first couple are charming, but as their fame took off, they became victims of their own success, bloated by fans wanting to know every last detail of the HP world, and not getting the editing they needed.

UnGoogleable Fri 04-Dec-15 23:20:38

I enjoyed reading them all (back to back!), but the writing isn't particularly clever. It's rather formulaic, with some clunky plot points.

I think the books started off well, dipped in the middle, then I found the final 2 or 3 gripping.

But it's fun, easy, and a good read.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Fri 04-Dec-15 23:25:06

I haven't been able to get into them at all, the DCs love them but I gave up after one chapter. I'd get one from the library or charity shop before buying the whole set.

LauraChant Fri 04-Dec-15 23:32:01

I was very anti them when they first came out. It sounded like a rehash of Enid Blyton's school stories with Worst Witch and the Wizard of Earthsea. I refused to read them. Then I was staying with a friend who loved them, started reading the third one I think it was, got hooked, bought all the others (we were up to 4 then). But after number 4 I was just reading to find out if anything interesting was going to happen - and it didn't really, imo.

SuckingEggs Fri 04-Dec-15 23:32:49

Thanks for the opinions. I reckon I'll try one or perhaps think of another box set for Christmas. Any recommendations?

I usually like psych thrillers such as Nicci French, Barbara Vine, Harlan, etc. Love Maggie O'Farrell.

PerspicaciaTick Fri 04-Dec-15 23:51:03

If you want to try something different from your usual, I'd be tempted by Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.
Have you read any Val McDermid? She is a very good writer, but her recent stuff is too scary for me (but I am a wimp).

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Fri 04-Dec-15 23:53:08

Poorly written waffle.

Start off quite cute in a Worst Witch kind of way and then become long winded and tedious.

SuckingEggs Fri 04-Dec-15 23:57:57

Hmm, I've wondered about Pullman. Will check it out. Is that like a grown up Harry P?

HP is sounding less and less appealing...

MsAmerica Fri 04-Dec-15 23:58:18

I've avoided it - not sure if that disqualifies me from replying.

Around the time the first movie was coming out, I leafed through a copy in a bookstore, wondering if I really wanted to make that kind of time commitment, since there were already sequels. It didn't seem to have much originality and I wasn't struck by any particular brilliance in the writing, so I decided against it.

SuckingEggs Fri 04-Dec-15 23:59:01

Haven't read any Val, no. I don't like too much gore tbh. Love a good mystery though.

PerspicaciaTick Sat 05-Dec-15 00:06:01

Pullman is more like a steampunk alternative version of reality in which magic is pervasive and therefore almost unremarkable. And it gets steadily stranger from there. Although if you prefer to laugh at Angels and religion you might be better off trying Good Omens (just the one book) by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

For crime and mysteries, how about Dorothy L Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books or Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe series?

flightywoman Sat 05-Dec-15 00:16:37

I read them when they came out and have always thought Phillip Pullman was a far better writer. A more fearless writer, but also a different one.

HOWEVER, I've read the first three to the daughter in the last 3 months and I have approached them from a very different mindset.

The first one is obviously a first book, it may not be amazingly well written, but it's inventive, exciting, the story whips along, it's engaging, and from the viewpoint of now, it actually really rather lovely seeing a novice writer at the very beginning of what becomes a massive phenomenon.

The second and third, you can see her begin to hit her stride. The stories are still very exciting and her writing develops. It really interesting watching her develop as a writer.

And they do get really quite dark - deaths come in book 4 onwards.

Also, she has clearly thought so much about it - it's a fully formed world and a very exciting one.

But, 6 and 7 could have done with some editing, a lot of editing.

I'd say read them, with an adult's approach, and understand the jokes, the wordplay, the cleverness. And enjoy them.

There's nothing to be sniffy about in an adult reading kids' or YA fiction, a book is a book is a book. I don't give a damn if you're reading Proust in the original French or Enid Blyton in an expurgated version. Start, and if you like them then press on. If you don't, no great shakes!

Destinysdaughter Sat 05-Dec-15 00:25:53

I think the first 4 HP are entertaining and enjoyable escapist fiction. The rest were a bit meh really. The Pullman trilogy is incredible, such an imagination that man has, well written and humane. I sobbed at the end of book 3.

nattyknitter Sat 05-Dec-15 00:37:10

Watch the films of the first three, they are close enough to the books and then pick up at book 4 which is where they start to get good.

I was quite snobby about reading them, but someone got me the first for my birthday, so I read it out of politeness. I then quite happily read the others. I was never in the queue at midnight, no not me.

I used to get them for my Nephew, release dates were in line with his birthday for a few times and it gave us something to talk about. My sister never could get him into reading, but we used to have a book thing going on. I also got him Pullman and Lemony Snickett which kept him going for a while.

Agree on Pullman being better.

HoundoftheBaskervilles Sat 05-Dec-15 00:43:16

If you are a grow-up adult I could give you the titles of hundreds of better books to read if you're after a bit of escapism.

I think I got up to number three when they came out then wondered why the fuck I was reading children's books and didn't bother after that.

Even as a child there are much better fantasy books to read, Alan Garner? Ursula Le Guin?

BertieBotts Sat 05-Dec-15 00:54:30

I grew up with HP and love it immeasurably, but I agree it perhaps doesn't have the same pull if you didn't get into it at the time.

I love Pullman though and would defend His Dark Materials to the ends of the Earth. I think they are my favourite books ever.

HoundoftheBaskervilles Sat 05-Dec-15 01:33:58

Bertie I would say you are precisely 15 years younger than me then.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sat 05-Dec-15 04:03:50

The Hunger Games trilogy is good if you like teen literature. Quite harrowing at times.
If you like a good historical romance, try the Poldark series. There are twelve or thirteen of those, but the books aren't very long.

UnGoogleable Sat 05-Dec-15 09:41:19

I second the recommendations for Pullman (brilliant, engaging, couldn't put them down until I'd read all 3) and The Hunger Games - also brilliant, harrowing, a bit gorey but if you can get past the idea of teens killing each other for entertainment, it's a fascinating concept.

SuckingEggs Sat 05-Dec-15 14:36:06

Wow, some great suggestions here. I'm in my 40s but love a good yarn. I've got friends who love HP, so was intrigued.

Pullman sounds especially brilliant.

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