(original review, 2000)
So millions of readers think these books are brilliant. It takes an odd sort of character to say, in this context, "frankly the books are rubbish".
It seems so much more natural, and logical, to say something like "I think these books are badly written ("he was sat there" etc.} and don't think they're any good". Just that tiny yet essential shift in emphasis from "They are crap" to "I think they're crap" prevents this massive denial of their appeal, which demonstrates they can't be crap. Incidentally, I agree they're not very well written. An editor should have had a closer look. There is the style, and there are repetitions which hamper the plot, and leaves one thinking "Hang on, did I turn back a few pages? Oh. No. I'm being told the same thing again." here and there. I could write a lengthy explanation, but the essence of which is "avoid saying that something very successful is bad" because this makes no sense: What is good, by definition, is something that has appeal, as this certainly has.
This book brings up painful memories...Oh dear....yes indeed. Painful memories again of that fateful day when I walked into a London bookshop all that time ago and spotted a pile of books. "Oh that's that kid's story I read about. Some wizard. Huh...it's signed. Ah well, no time for that nonsense..." And with that I threw back onto the pile a hardback early edition. And a signed one at that...Perhaps not worth as much as one of the fabled first editions as mentioned above but still, I try not to linger too long in that anguished land of Hindsight and think about what could have been...