Synopsis: Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.
By now everyone knows the tale of Harry Potter and his adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and if you don't know.... well, what rock have you been living under?
The Sorcerer's Stone is the first novel in the seven-book series, and it's one of the most memorable if only because of the introduction of Harry, the friends he makes at school, and Hogwarts itself. It's a pretty straight forward story without the complexities and earth-shattering consequences of the later stories. In that lies its charm: while I'm a big fan of the last four book in JK Rowling's bestselling fantasy series, it's also nice to go back and reread the beginnings of the adventure starring The Boy Who Lived - when Harry Potter just begins learning how to be a wizard and how famous he is in the wizard world.
It's quite amazing how easy Rowling makes it look, setting up such a series as this in only three hundred pages. Within those pages she introduces us to several of the key players that return in the sequels: Harry, Hermoine, the Dursleys, the Weasleys, Hagrid, Snape, Dumbledore, Malfoy. Every character here is fully drawn and stands apart from the others in description and dialogue alike. As well, Rowling does a fantastic job of introducing her reader to the wonderful and mystical world that is Hogwarts.
This is an excellent introduction to one of my favorite book series. It's a nice feeling to go back and reread because I caught so much this time that I didn't pick up on the first time around - specifically, the threat of Voldemort's eventual return (I didn't remember the series having such an edge at this early stage) and just how awful life is with the Dursleys before Harry goes away to school. Coming back to this book for a second read was like visiting with old friends again, sitting in the Gryffindor common room with a glass of butterbeer. 5/5