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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix review

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 29 June 2008 06:39 (A review of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix)

I warn you right up front here--this book will break your heart.

When the fans were waiting for this book to be published, JK Rowling told us to expect a death in this story. The fans went wild trying to imagine who it would be. And I will tell you right now, that the death still has ripples in fandom, even five years later.

And even beyond that? This story is not so much dark as horrifically painful. If I had not been waiting so long for this book, I cannot help but wonder if I'd have made it through the story at all. Between the wizarding government and the Death Eaters, it's a wonder Harry manages to stay sane in this one. Especially after the Death.

There are good moments to this story, and some fun additions to the cast of characters--Luna, Tonks and Kingsley in particular. But if you go into this book expecting something like Prisoner of Azkaban or even Sorcerer's Stone, you will be sorely disappointed.


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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire review

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 29 June 2008 06:30 (A review of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire )

As you can see from my rating, and in particular, if you have read my reviews of the other books of this series, this is not my favorite book. I think there are a number of reasons for this, but most importantly, this is the book where innocence is lost.

Before this book, even when things get dark, and Harry thinks he could die, he always holds out hope that things will be okay. That everything will work out in the end. After this book, we know that anything can happen, and that no one is safe.

Harry begins to truly move along the path that has been set for him in this book, and by the end, he is a different boy than the one we knew at the start. The world around him holds far darker things than we'd been aware of before, and the war truly begins.

This book was also the first to come out as the furor took over. And there was a huge gap between this book and the next, which I believe caused Rowling to lose the flow a bit. It's not as noticeable in Order of the Phoenix, but is quite pronounced in both Half Blood Prince and in Deathly Hallows in a way that cannot fully be explained by the darkening of Harry's world.

I think this, as the turning point of the series, is an important story, but I also think it's really mostly for the true fans. I don't think it would hold a great deal of interest for those who have not somehow been captivated by one or more of the previous books.


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Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban review

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 29 June 2008 06:16 (A review of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban)

This book is, hands down, my favorite of the series. For a short time, I thought Half Blood Prince might have taken that spot, but the flaws in that story are just too many for me to ignore. And this story introduces two of my all-time favorite characters, not to mention dealing with several new and important bits to the mythos of the Harry Potter Series, two in particular - The Marauders, and the Marauder's Map.

For me, this was when I really fell in love with this series. (I read the first three books in the space of about three days the first time.) Remus was so unlike Harry's first two DADA teachers, and there was something about him from the very start. When the mystery around him started to unfold, I worried that he, like the two before him, would turn out to be bad news for Harry. But his secret...secrets... Let me just say that Remus is my third favorite character in this series, and because of that, this book holds a special place in my heart that is usually reserved for things from my childhood--cherished and treasured, and it will always make me smile.

And the endgame...again, I won't say much here, because it's too easy to give away too much, but this is my favorite endgame, even with the flaws inherent in some of the choices she made.

This was when I knew this was a great series, because now we had not only one generation--Harry's, but also his father's and Voldemort's generations, and ultimately, Dumbledore's generation as well. Each of which provided their own level of meaning throughout the series.

In my eyes, this will always be the best of the series. This was before the fall, and before Harry fully lost his innocence. A fantastic story.


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Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets review

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 29 June 2008 06:03 (A review of Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets)

When I first read this book, I wasn't quite as fond of it as I had been of the first. The new teacher was painful, and the darkness seemed too dark. Still, the magic was still there, and over the years, it has grown on me. Not the least because of a certain blond in the movie version.

For me, this second story boils down to two points - the Malfoy family, and Tom Riddle.

I'm a great fan of the Malfoy family, and the details we get about how the family works in this story are quite lovely. Not only the father/son relationship between Lucius and Draco, but also their place in the world, and far more details about their beliefs.

And then there is Tom Riddle. I won't go into too much detail here to avoid spoiling others, but I'm very fond of Rowling's flashbacks in this series, and this book is the beginning of those. The history of Tom, and of the Chamber, lend so much to the later books that there is no way to unwind it all until you have read the very last of the books.

One of my major quibbles with Rowling's work is that she seems inclined to write off her dark characters as irredeemable, no matter what their crime. Whether they be Slytherin or from a dark family. This is the beginning of that. There were moments in this book where she might have planted the seeds of any of these characters' salvations, but she did not.

Still, even with that flaw, this early part of the story is fascinating. I quite recommend it.


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Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone review

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 29 June 2008 05:51 (A review of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone)

I have been a Harry Potter fan since about five months after the film of this book came out, and when it first came out in the theatres, the only reasons I watched it were Alan Rickman and Richard Harris. I thought it was a good film, and I would likely have watched the second. But then I borrowed the books, and never looked back.

For me, this story, while not my favorite of the series, really is the beginning of it all. Its truly magical, and I don't think even JK Rowling truly knew what she had until the fervor started surrounding the books.

Starting with Harry's complete ignorance of the wizarding world and going straight through to his battle with Voldemort, the story never falters. These might be kids books, but she doesn't flinch in the least in giving us a real story that has depth and character that can't be denied.

The story itself is like no children's series before it. Most children's series before this focused on one rather small age group of readers, and once the child grew out of that group, they were no longer expected to be interested in the series any longer. And because of that, the stories throughout the series all had generally the same tone and reading level. Once you read one, you pretty much knew what to expect from the rest, even with the changes each subsequent story might make.

Not so with Harry Potter. In this series, Jo actually hoped that her readers would grow up with these books--literally. And each subsequent book not only got darker, but added more detail and richness to Harry's world as he grew older and more aware of what was going on around him. It's one of the things that makes these stories appeal not only to kids, but to adults as well. Even adults who have no children of their own, and haven't been children since long before these books began to be published.

Will likely always be one of my favorite series, flaws and all. A great beginning to a fabulous series.


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