Monday, July 27

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Author: J.K Rowling

Pages: 766

Summary: As his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry approaches, 15-year-old Harry Potter is in full-blown adolescence, complete with regular outbursts of rage, a nearly debilitating crush, and the blooming of a powerful sense of rebellion. It's been yet another infuriating and boring summer with the despicable Dursleys, this time with minimal contact from our hero's non-Muggle friends from school. Harry is feeling especially edgy at the lack of news from the magic world, wondering when the freshly revived evil Lord Voldemort will strike. Returning to Hogwarts will be a relief... or will it?

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 manages to become the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, as well. Life isn't getting any easier for Harry Potter. With an overwhelming course load as the fifth years prepare for their Ordinary Wizarding Levels examinations (O.W.Ls), devastating changes in the Gryffindor Quidditch team lineup, vivid dreams about long hallways and closed doors, and increasing pain in his lightning-shaped scar, Harry's resilience is sorely tested.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Harry Potter is one of those books (all of then) that have a bit of everything, it really is a series of “guilty pleasures for me”, and one of the few “young adult” books I can read and re-read over and over again. The fifth instalment of Harry Potter jumps right into the darker side of the Wizarding World, with an dementor attack right at the beginning, you know that this book won’t disappoint you (well okay there is ONE part that pissed me right off, but I’ll leave that for later). Warning, there may be spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie version, you may be spoiled about the ending.
Okay, so to start off, Harry is not favourite character in the book, and probably in the whole series, but particularly in this book. For most of the book Harry is moody, whiney, angry outbursts t his friends, teenage hormones are high, and a little to high for me. Notice none of the other teenagers are as moody as Harry, and sure he has a lot of stuff on his plate. Although I guess this is what makes Harry human, but I still feel at times, that Rowling went over the top for Harry and the whole teen “angst”. Not that this made the book bad, just after a while it got very repetitive, and I really wanted to punch him in the face and tell him to get a grip. You’re the boy who lived; life will be difficult, deal with it. That was my main issue with the story, I found a few plot holes, but I think its because once you’ve read the book over so many times, you start to analyze and over analyze every move, decision and thought the characters make and wonder why they did it, when in other situations they’d do it differently. (Like Lucius in the fight scene, why he just didn’t use the imperious curse, when he has used it so many times before, is beyond me).

The book also shows some of my favourite characters at their best. Lucius Malfoy and his manipulative ways in the end fight scene. Snape, and his snide attitude towards Harry, and everyone around him. I liked how he doesn’t let Umbirdge get to him, unlike the other professors at the school. I love his character, there’s just so many layers, to the black haired, hooked nose potions master (some of which we see during Occulmency lessons, where I felt sorry for him). Then there’s Bellatrix in the fight scene. She’s crazy, but fun to read, you don’t know what to expect from her, but you do expect something very different then the other death eaters, more evil more insane. She’s is one who is most devoted to Voldemort. Lucius only seems to be devoted to him, because he has power, and can give Lucius some of this power too. Either way, when you read about Bellatrix, it can give you shivers down your spine. Also Lupin and Sirius and the relationship they have with Harry, this is more so with Sirius, who Harry leans on a lot, and who Rowling has set up a fantastic relationship with. In the end when he died, the build up to it, and the build up of his and Harry’s relationships really made the emotion Harry had, more real. I was still pissed at this part, because I liked Sirius Black, but what’s done is done. (Glares at the book mumbling about his death). Then of course were the Weasly Twins, any page with them is just fantastic, they are able to lighten a tense mood, they always make you laugh, and always make you want more. I wish they were real people, because they’d be someone you go hang out with after a bad day, because they will be sure to bring a smile on your face. I loved them waging war on Umbridge and could read their exit from Hogwarts over and over again! “Give her hell from us Peeves!” They are definitely a great way to have some comic relief in the series, which becomes darker and darker with each book. It just sucks we don’t see as much of them after this. (And sucks even more…..)

Over all, the book has everything you could want in a book humour, action suspense, and full of emotion, which create a very real set of characters. I do find some plot holes in the book, but this is likely more of something you see when you become a big HP fan, and you go on all the fan sites and read interviews by the author who gives out information on characters, spells etc. (If you read all that, then compare it to books and analyze it all, you can see a few plot holes). Either way this is a great book and has a bit of everything that readers can enjoy, without getting bored. On a side note, the movie version of this was a HUGE disappointment and my least favourite movie so far of the HP series.

Would I recommend it to read: Of course I would! It's Harry Potter, a great read for young adults, and adults who want to indulge in guilty pleasures (without the fat ;)). It's not fantastic style of writing, but Rowling does do a fantastic job at telling the story, and making you hooked until the very end. Just don't watch the movie, it was horrid.

What to read next: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, RYOB Challenge, Summer Lovin' Challenge, YA Challenge


10 comments:

  1. Okay, wait, was the part you downright hated the part about Sirius at the end? I wasn't sure if that's what you meant.

    I didn't like this book the first time I read it. The whiny angsty thing really bothered me. However, in multiple rereadings, this has gone up to be one of my top ratings in the series. Harry can be a pain, but I thought it was so realistically done. I mean, Ron the previous year was just as angsty, but you're not with him every moment of the day so you don't see it as much.

    By the time it got to this book, I no longer liked Sirius. I loved him in #3, liked him less in #4, and downright despised him by the end of this book. I didn't care that he died at all. Maybe it was because I really, really like Snape. The Snape's Worst Memory chapter is one of my two favorites in the series, the one I based all my theories on for #7, and where I began to really despite both Sirius and James. I'm not really a gryffindor type of person. Forgetting the fact that they're all evil, my personality actually matches the Slytherins better. Gryffindor is the last house I'd go in. The daring-but-reckless personality is not for me, and I think that's why I turned against them so badly.

    Can you believe my husband hates Fred and George. He thinks they're the dirty joke of the books, and he just hates them.

    I actually like the 5th movie, not as much as the 6th (which I know you didn't like), but the 5th and 6th were the only ones of that I did like. They weren't perfect, but I felt like they were better scripted and acted. The earlier ones attempted to follow the books but ended up with embarrassing dialog and acting. And what they did to Prisoner of Azkaban...ugh.

    Okay, have I hijacked your blog long enough now?? :D

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  2. whoops, forgot to subscribe to follow-up comments...

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  3. I am not a gryffindor type either. I'm a weird hybird of slytherin and ravenclaw. I'm really am a bit of both.

    His worst memory is a great chapter, and it does but Sirius and James in a horrible light. And now that I've re-read it, and though ahead to book 7, and what you said, it does set us up for somethings, and a "friendship" I never realized it hinted at before.

    I was still pissed Sirius was killed. He had some annoying qualities, but he also had such a great relationship with Harry, and Lupin, that I hated seeing him go. He was my second favourite Muarder (sp?) Lupin being my first.

    Prisoner of Azkaban was my favourite, a little to symbolic and artsy at times, but I think it was very well done.

    How can you not like Fred and George? Seriously!?! They're amazing.

    Hijack away! :)

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  4. Yeah, I think mostly it's just i've read them so many times that I've come to focus really hard on Sirius's bad side.

    I'm also a weird cross between Slytherin and Ravenclaw! Rock!

    So where did that cover come from? I've never seen that one.

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  5. It's the adult edition of the hard cover books in Canada (I think we have the same editions or similar as UK)

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  6. I think that cover you posted is the coolest one I've seen yet. Once my public library had a display table with all these Harry Potter books with different publishers/languages and they all had different cover art- it was really cool.

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  7. I read almost all the books back to back (had to wait on the last one though) and this one was where I broke down and took a break for a bit. It was just as you mentioned. Harry became too whiny and angsty for me. I hated all the rudeness and sulking, and I started over on this one because my husband told me it would eventually get better. I think the book itself was great, but those parts made it my least favorite in the series. I think Rowling has great imagination and her stories are just so interesting and vibrant, but this book made Harry seem too much like my teenage son, who is going through his angsty phase right now. Great review, by the way.

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  8. I guess it's realistic, though, if it reminds you of your son? (Can't wait until my 3 boys get to that age...)

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  9. I love all the adult Hard Cover editions they have of the HP books, and am rebuying the HP books so they're all the same editions, I still need 4, 5, 6 in the adult hard covers. (A second reason why is my editions have been re-read so many times, they're becoming worn)

    Zibilee, when I first found HP(shortly after the release of the 3rd movie) I ran out bought the first five book and read them back to back. I think it took 8 - 10 days to read all 5 books. (I had to stop for work some days, damn those 8.5 hour shifts!). For HBP I read it within seconds of having in my hands, same with DH (again, stopped for work).

    I bet a lot of teens or parents of teens seem themselves/children in the personalities of the characters. But as an adult, the angsty teen bit gets old quick. At least HP isn't as bad as other YA novels out there.

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  10. Do the adult hardcovers have more normal-sized text and spacing? That always bugged me in the first hb editions, that the text was so big and wide-spaced there were twice as many pages as you need...

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