Friday, 5 October 2012

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J K Rowling
Bloomsbury Books
5 Stars


Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. 'It is time,' he said, 'for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.' Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry. He is desperate to get back to school and find out why his friends Ron and Hermione have been so secretive all summer. However, what Harry is about to discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his whole world upside down ...But before he even gets to school, Harry has an unexpected and frightening encounter with two Dementors, has to face a court hearing at the Ministry of Magic and has been escorted on a night-time broomstick ride to the secret headquarters of a mysterious group called 'The Order of the Phoenix'. And that is just the start. A gripping and electrifying novel, full of suspense, secrets, and - of course - magic.


Harry is eagerly awaiting his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The holidays are no fun stuck with his Muggle (non-magical) relations. Why does he have to spend every summer with them anyway? He hates it and the way he is constantly mistreated by them. He has been miserable ever since school broke up, with worry over You-Know-Who's return at the end of the fourth book. He's also missing his friends, Ron and Hermione, who have been sending him cryptic letters full of hints at secrets they can't or won't reveal.

Then to top it all, someone wants Harry dead and has sent Dementors after him, magical creatures that suck the happiness from a person leaving them only despair and madness. Harry has to use magic to get rid of the creatures, (in front of his cousin Dudley) but then he gets in trouble with the Ministry of Magic for using magic outside of school and in front of a Muggle too!

Harry thinks that things can't surely get any worse, but he would be wrong...

Oh, I loved this book. It was a darker book than the other four, but I still enjoyed it. Here was a Harry who was getting so fed up at everything the world had been throwing at him for the past four years and he snapped. I'm not surprised at all, and he still remained sympathetic, even though at times his temper flared so often it was a wonder he had any friends left!

You bristle at all the unfairness heaped upon him, especially by Professor Snape and Professor Dolores Umbridge (the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher), who was appointed by the Ministry and she wasn't a favourite with the staff either.

Not only has Harry to take all this abuse from his teachers, it's his O.W.L. year (Ordinary Wizarding Levels), he suffers horrible nightmares and visions of his friends' deaths and the newspapers are hinting that he has gone mad and is unstable. Maybe a stay at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies may be in order?

We discover a few new characters in the book, as well as some secrets from old ones, which keeps the suspense going. Although the overall tone of the book is dark, there are some welcome moments of comic relief.

Is it a good book? Put it this way, the book is over 700 pages long and the first time I read it, I read it in one day. I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. Nothing on television was as interesting as finishing the book that night.

I'm eagerly looking forward to re-reading the next installment of Harry's adventures!

Reviewed by Annette Gisby.

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