The fifth novel in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.< read all 36 reviews
A new year at Hogwarts is about to begin and Harry is miserable. He's been subjected to another two months of tyranny from the Dursleys; the Daily Prophet seems to be waging a campaign to discredit him as a delusional seeker of publicity; and there is the specter of his Ordinary Wizarding Levels (O.W.L.s) hanging over this next term. Of course, in order to even sit for the O.W.L.s he must return to Hogwarts, and that is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.
The wait for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix may have been longer than many of J.K. Rowling's fans were willing to bear, but it was clearly worth it! Unlike many literary serials, each of the Potter books has grown more vivid and compelling than it's predecessors. That's good news and not so good news as this version checks in at a staggering 870 pages in length. But it's 870 of very, very readable adventure and personality. Personality? Perhaps a better word would be "attitude". And Harry like any 15 year old male (wizard or muggle) has attitude to spare. It tests his relationships with friends and mentors alike. The story is rich, but dark and Harry must confront a personal loss of immense proportions along the way. So much has been written about the death of a significant character that to offer more might be giving away too much.
The entire cast of characters delivers on a number of different fronts. Graduation has opened the keeper slot on the Gryffindor Quidditch team for Ron, and he's also a new prefect along with Hermione who is still as insufferably bright and studious as ever. To Harry's dismay, Dumbledore is keeping his distance, distracted by matters of greater import, and Hagrid is tending to more secrets in the Dark Forest. Then there is Professor Snape, who's life's work seems to be centered around browbeating Harry into expulsion, only this year the new Defense against the Dark Arts instructor may accomplish that task for him! And did I mention that there are boy/girl issues to address? You only need to think back to age 15 to conjure your own disturbing emotions in that regard.
What sets Ms. Rowling's talent apart from other authors is not just her ability to craft an intricate and fascinating plot, but the depth of characterization that colors her writing. She manages to truly get inside the head of a 15 year old male in a way that is uncanny and more than entertaining. This latest installment will answer a number of questions for the reader, perhaps the most important being "why does Harry have to return to the Dursley's each year?", but there are sufficient new mysteries to unearth and carry the reader into the remainder of the series. It's a marvelous read for all!
What did you think of this review?
The fifth book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series follows the darkest year yet for our young wizard, who finds himself knocked down a peg or three after the events of last year. Somehow, over the summer, gossip (usually traced back to the magic world's newspaper, the Daily Prophet) has turned Harry's tragic and heroic encounter with Voldemort at the Triwizard Tournament into an excuse to ridicule and discount the teen. Even Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of the school, has come under scrutiny by the Ministry of Magic, which refuses to officially acknowledge the terrifying truth that Voldemort is back. Enter a particularly loathsome new character: the toadlike and simpering ("hem, hem") Dolores Umbridge, senior undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, who takes over the vacant position of Defense Against Dark Arts teacher--and in no time...