This novel started pretty slowly, but the momentum built up pretty quickly once the first chapter was done. I thought it was very similar to Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone, not only because of its premise (bad guy kills boy's family, boy survives despite being a toddler, bad guy comes back again to try to finish the job, bad guy connected to a very sinister organization that dabbles in BAD magic), but also because of its storytelling style; each chapter introduces a new character, concept or element central to the story's universe, and the Big Battle at the end ties up the loose strings. The Big Battle, in this novel, is much less epic than Deathly Hallows's, but this might be attributed to the fact that this is one novel, and not a seven-book series.
But yes, this was a good novel. I also noticed that it borrowed elements, leitmotifs and other things from various wide-read novels, such as:
- the Harry Potter series (obviously)
- George Orwell's 1984 ("Here comes a candle to light you to bed/Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!")
- The Lord of the Flies (something about islands and pigs)
- Freddy Krueger (somewhat; I might be stretching things here)
- Anything with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and witches.
Yes, I would recommend it to anyone in the 11-to-15 years old bracket, but adults can also enjoy this novel by Neil Gaiman.