When I was contacted by the good folks at Pottermore and asked to review their Harry Potter audio books, I had to admit that despite the fact that I am a voracious reader, I had never cracked open any of the Harry Potter series. I had watched the movies with the kids and our 3 oldest children have the series and have read them all but I am, perhaps, one of the few people left who has never read a Harry Potter book.
Of course, I am familiar with Harry Potter and his stor. But hearing about the story second hand or watching the movie is never the same as sitting back, putting your feet up and immersing yourself in the book so I felt there was still plenty for me to discover & experience. Then I was thrown another curve ball – would I like to try the audio book? Well, I am (or I suppose now, was!) an audio book virgin. Many friends have told me how much they enjoy them, in the car, in the bath or playing in the background while they cook but I could never get past the fact that I like to concentrate on a story, absorb every word, appreciate each nuance of the author’s phrasing and the rhythm of language. So it was with some trepidation that I said “Yes Please” to the offer and downloaded the first in the series Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone (although of course you knew already that was the first book!)
Review of the Harry Potter Audio Book – Not the Story!!
I am sure there is no value in my reviewing the story, there are plenty of Harry Potter reviews out there, so my review is of the Harry Potter Audio book ‘experience’.
First of all I must say that I liked the Pottermore site very much. It is not just an online store, it is an online community which builds an exciting and unique online experience around the Harry Potter books. You can discover new writing from JK Rowling, explore key scenes from Harry’s story and discover where the sorting hat will place you in your very own sorting ceremony. There are many other experiences to discover within Pottermore as well as a blog and the Pottermore store.
It was easy to sign-up and browse the online store. You can purchase both audio and ebooks and even gift them online. For me this was a very simple process and I had the audio files on my computer in under 2 minutes. If you do have any issues there is an extensive FAQ / help section and a number of “how to” videos on the Pottermore Store YouTube Channel.
As soon as the book was downloaded I took my laptop & headphones & settled back to listen. Of course I was unable to take some photos of myself relaxing & listening but it may have looked something like this – just a little more disheveled and a lot more ginger!
We also listened to the book in the truck. It was easily transferred to our mp3 player and it was a great new experience to listen to the book with the kids. The little ‘uns enjoyed it so much that they asked to keep driving so we could hear what happened next. They were relieved to find out that we could listen to it that evening around the campfire! – Campfire, clear skies, a thousand stars, s’mores and Harry Potter may be our new family tradition.
Jim Dale won two Grammy awards for his narration and his dulcet tones are the perfect accompaniment to JK Rowling’s words. Dale also holds the Guinness World Record for the 134 voices he created for the 5th book, Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix – which I can’t wait to hear.
So – would I recommend a Harry Potter audio book? Yes, Absolutely! I enjoyed it alone and we enjoyed it as a family and we will be buying the remaining 6 books. That will give us a total of 120 hours over the seven book series- plenty to get us through some road trips, a few nights camping and, when the weather turns, cold evenings by the fire.
If you would like to try the audio books for yourself (and I cannot say strongly enough how much you should!) you can only purchase them from the Pottermore Store – so get on over there and check them out – you’ll be glad you di