Next Author: Nilanjana Roy
Previous Author: Diana Rowland

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling(1965- )
Since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997, the Harry Potter novels have sold 400 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 65 languages. J.K. Rowling has generated huge popular appeal for her books across the generations in an unprecedented fashion: she was the first children’s author to be voted the BA Author of the Year, and also to win the British Book Awards Author of the Year. J.K. Rowling lives with her family in Edinburgh. Visit J.K. Rowling’s website.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: We love it

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’m pretty sure every person in the western world knows who Harry Potter is and knows the basic story line. Harry Potter was The Boy Who Lived. Both his parents were killed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the evil Lord Voldemort, but he survived the attack, somehow causing Voldemort to disappear. Now Harry is eleven, and off to his first year at Hogwarts wizarding school. But it seems like Voldemort is making a resurgence. Is Harry safe, even under the watchful eye of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore?

I recently felt a desire to go back and reread the HARRY POTTER books. I know I have a stack of books sitting on my bedside table that I need to read, and I will, but sometimes the lure of going back to visit an old friend is just too strong to be resisted. Sometimes this leads to disappointment, as books don’t live up to their memory, but I am happy to say that HARRY POTTER is as... Read More

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Great read

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry has had a miserable summer. None of his friends have written to him and he wonders whether Hogwarts and the world of wizardry that he discovered the year before is just a dream. Four weeks before he is due to return to school he has a visit from Dobby the House Elf who warns him not to return to Hogwarts. And so we embark on another year at Hogwarts and another mystery — this time involving the Chamber of Secrets.

I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but not quite as much as I enjoyed the first book, mostly because of the clumsy recapping. The worst instance was when Colin and Harry are walking to the Quidditch pitch and Harry has to explain how it all works — it isn't completely unforgiveable since Colin has only just started at Hogwarts, but I felt it was superfluous nonetheless, and this was not the only instance.
Read More

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Our favorite HP novel

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is easily my favourite of the Harry Potter books. Harry is in his third year at Hogwarts, and the big news is the escape of dangerous and deadly wizard Sirius Black from Azkaban prison. Harry learns that, for some reason, Sirius is after him. To increase security at Hogwarts, Dumbledore has reluctantly allowed the Dementors — ghostly cloaked beings that suck the happiness from a person's soul and eventually drive them mad — to guard the castle. The book uncovers the mystery of who Black is and why he is so keen to find Harry at Hogwarts, while also dealing with the regular shenanigans of a Hogwarts school year.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is where J.K. Rowling tightens up her act. The plot is excellentl... Read More

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: A doorstop

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

The one where Harry takes part in the Tri-wizard Tournament. The one where hormones start flying. The one where Voldemort grows ever stronger. The one where J. K. Rowling decided everyone needed more doorstops...

I want it said right from the beginning of this review that I adore the Harry Potter series in its entirety, but I do feel that some books are stronger than others. And this is one of the weakest in the series in my opinion.

For some reason, Rowling decided that she could no longer write her story in a few hundred pages. Instead, we're presented with a positive brick of a book that stretches on for many hundreds more than I felt it should be. If all of the books had been written with the tight plotting and efficient writing of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of ... Read More

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Dark!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was extremely gripping and exciting, with a great deal of plot progression.
Here, Harry is dealing with the aftermath of the return of Lord Voldemort, and coping with the fact that he is kept very much in the dark about what is happening. While at the Dursleys’ over the summer, he has been relying on the Muggle news to see whether Voldemort has started the expected killing spree and reign of terror. When Harry and his cousin Dudley are attacked by Dementors, Harry is forced to do magic outside of Hogwarts — something expressly forbidden — and is summoned to a hearing. This is where he begins to learn that times are changing: his relationship with Dumbledore is strained and distant; the Minister of Magic refuses to believe that Voldemort is back; and a truly chilling new character (Dolores Umbridge) takes on t... Read More

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The best one yet!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I don't want to spoil the plot, as there are many twists lurking within this book, so I'll just say this:
This is the best one yet.

Books 1 and 2 were occasionally intense, but mostly I liked them because they were hilarious. Book 3 was the one that really sucked me in, with its tightly woven, ever-twisting plot. Book 4 sprawled a bit too much but brought lots of romance and character development. Book 5, too, meandered far too much and lacked the comic relief that lightened earlier books, but resonated with deep tragedy.

Here, J.K. Rowling presents a Book 6 that is as tight as Book 3, has as much romance and character development as Book 4, involves a tragedy as profound as that of book 5 (or maybe more so, as I'm not convinced that the character who died in book 5 is really dead), and is sprinkled throughout by moments as funny as the b... Read More

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Fitting end

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

There’s good news, middling news, and bad news in the final Harry Potter installment, a book that replicates in many ways the unevenness of the series as a whole. First the good news. The main character, which has always been the book’s strength, continues in that vein through most of the book. Harry’s oh-so-realistic ongoing grief at his parents’ deaths, his sometimes-bends-but-never-breaks bond with Hermione and Ron, his coming-of-age process through idol-worship then respect then disillusionment then adult understanding with Dumbledore, his sense of a greater good — all of these aspects that have made Harry Potter one of the more compelling figures in modern fiction are here in full force. Along with the character of Harry himself, the triangular relationship with Ron and Hermione has also been a consistent highlight... Read More

The Tales of Beedle the Bard: Rewarding addition to the Potter-Verse

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

During almost the entire length of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione Granger carried with her an old book titled The Tales of Beedle the Bard that was bequeathed to her by Professor Dumbledore in his will. It was not until much later that the full significance of the book, (particularly the final story) became clear in helping Harry achieve his quest of defeating Lord Voldemort.

There have been little allusions to "wizard fairytales" throughout the series, namely through Ron who had grown up with them and expressed disbelief that Harry and Hermione had never heard of the familiar stories:
"You've never heard of the Tales of Beedle the Bard?" said Ron incredulously. "You're kidding right?"

"No, I'm not," said Hermione in surprise. "Do you know them, then?"

"Well, of course I do! Oh, come... Read More

The Cuckoo’s Calling: Rowling makes a break without forgetting her roots

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Early in 2013, a new murder mystery came out. Written by an author named Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling was set in England and featured an army veteran detective with a prosthetic leg (he was injured saving other soldiers in Afghanistan), a strange family and an unusual name; Cormoran Strike. A few months later, through a series of different sources, it was revealed that “Robert Galbraith” was a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, who wanted to publish her first murder mystery without having it connected in any way to her globally-famous, history-making, best-selling series of YA fantasy best-sellers.

Sorry that whole anonymous thing didn’t work out for you, Ms. Rowling.

Even though there is nothing fantastical or magical about The Cuckoo’s Calling, I... Read More

The Silkworm: Writing about writing

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

The second novel in Robert Galbraith’s crime series is, in large part, a musing on the nature of writing itself. This is all the more poignant when you consider the Galbraith is none other than the (far less obscure) J.K. Rowling herself. The eponymous silkworm was said to be boiled alive to extract its precious silk threads in tact; a metaphor for the writer, it seems, who has to “go through the agonies to get at the good stuff.” Sound gruesome? That’s not even the half of it.

The Silkworm sees the return of Detective Cormoran Strike and his secretary-cum-sidekick, Robin Ellacot. They are investigating the disappearance of author Owen Quine, a once-successful novelist whose most recent manuscript, Bombyx Mori (Latin for silkworm) has also... Read More

Career of Evil: J. K. Rowling casts a different kind of spell

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Though they are a far cry from the HARRY POTTER series, J. K. Rowling’s CORMORAN STRIKE novels still possess the same storytelling magic. Rowling’s ability to capture an audience, to evoke a character so vivid they become real, triumphs in her crime series.

Sending a leg to the office of Coromoran Strike is surely the most conspicuous way to get the detective’s attention. Strike is famously an amputee himself, and when he realises the leg is accompanied by a note bearing the lyrics tattooed on his mother’s body, there can be no doubt that this is a personal attack. And the fact that the leg is addressed to his assistant Robin? The attack was meant to hit the detective where it hurts.

This is Strike’s most grisly and disturbing case to dat... Read More

Lethal White: Detective Strike makes a triumphant return

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

“Such is the universal desire for fame that those who achieve it accidentally or unwillingly will wait in vain for pity.”

So begins the latest addition to J. K. Rowling's CORMORAN STRIKE series, and one can't help feeling that the author would feel particularly empathetic towards her protagonist, the eponymous Cormoran Strike. Hot off the heels of his last case, Strike found himself unwanted fame that now, paradoxically, has cost him the anonymity needed to do his job in the first place.

Lethal White (2018) takes place in the middle of the summer 2012 London Olympics. Rowling's previous novels concerned themselves with the world of famous models, Read More

Troubled Blood: The best addition to the series yet

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

There are two ways this review could go: either the controversy surrounding Troubled Blood (2020) and the internet backlash against J.K. Rowling for casting one of the main suspects as a cross-dresser could be ignored, or the entire review could be hinged upon it. It would be disingenuous to do the former and reductive to do the latter, so let's leave it at this: if readers want the down-low on the dispute, Google it (and there's plenty of content out there). The rest of this review will centre solely on the merits of the story, of which there are ample.

Detective Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacot are back, and not without a little personal baggage. Strike's aunt is dying, and he finds himself increasingly needed in Cornwall where she lives, putting pressure ... Read More