on 26 June 2003
As an enthusiastic fan of the Harry Potter series who found myself slightly disappointed by the fourth book, I approached the fifth with some trepidation. After all, Rowling had an exceedingly difficult task in writing it. She had to live up to the very high standards she's set for herself already; come up with something fresh and original while still retaining the aspects of her books that are known and loved by the fans; and allow the characters to grow up and develop without allowing the whole thing to degenerate into some ghastly 'Sweet Dreams' romance (which, at times, she seemed perilously close to doing with her last book). It was a tricky job to pull off, and I'm very pleased to report that, in my opinion, she succeeded.
This book did have a different feel from earlier ones in several ways. Rowling has made the wise decision of departing from her original format of 'solve this mystery by the end of the school year' (a format that worked well but wouldn't really have stood up to yet another use). This book does have some important plot developments, but, for the most part, it's simply a story of the continued events of life at Hogwarts and in the wizarding world in general.
The series is unquestionably becoming darker and more depressing as it goes along, and I can imagine this putting some people off. The sheer fun of living in a magical world does, admittedly, get pushed into the background somewhat by the stress of dealing with OWLs, adolescent angst, the ghastliest Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher yet, and the knowledge that somewhere out there, there's an evil wizard busy plotting to take over the world. But the fun is still there, and the themes of friendship and loyalty that ran through the previous books are, if anything, stronger than ever.
One of the best bits of the book was seeing how the children are maturing as the years go by. Both Harry and Ron find themselves facing new challenges and new responsibilities in this book. Hermione is unquestionably the most mature of the three when it comes to dealing with the mysteries of relationships. Neville is also starting to show his worth, but the biggest change of all has to be in Ginny, who, having finally shed her shyness around Harry, is emerging as a force to be reckoned with. The inevitable budding interest in romance on the part of more than one of these characters is nicely handled and doesn't take over the book. Fred and George, on the other hand, remain delightfully unchanged, and their finest moment so far is to be found in a truly unmissable scene at the end of Chapter 29.
I applaud Rowling resoundingly, and look forward eagerly to the final two books of the series. Meanwhile, I can heartily recommend this one.
on 23 June 2003
'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix',is definately J.K. Rowling's Magnum Opus. Her darkest work to date, it is a gripping tale, filled with suspense, mystery and tragedy.
Following the dramatic showdown between Harry and Voldemort in the previous book, it is a very different Harry that we witness in her latest work. Now 15, Harry is beginning to struggle with feelings of anger and resentment towards the hand that life has dealt him.
This book sees the re-introduction of many much-loved characters such as Professor Lupin, and the notorious Mad-Eye Moody. We also learn a great deal more about key characters such as Snape and Sirius.
This book is far more action packed than the previous four, with the re-establishment of the Order of the Phoenix, a society set up to fight against Voldemort. The removal of Dumbledore's authority combined with the arrival of a new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Umbridge, plunges the school into chaos. Meanwhile, Harry is being tormented by a series of violent and disturbing dreams...
The dark events in the book culminate in the tragic demise of a beloved character and an important figure in Harry's life. In spite of this, J.K Rowling's comic touch is still evident, with characters such as Mundungus Fletcher and Fred and George Weasley providing much needed comic relief from the sinister events which permeate Harry's world.
This book is a must-read for all Harry fans, but not a book for newcomers to the Potter phenomenon. This book is a turning point in the series, with startling revealations, as Harry is forced to examine death even more closely, and may prove to be the most important book in the series. Believe the hype, 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' is every bit as good as expected!
on 15 July 2003
When I first bought the "Philosopher's Stone" it was just curiosity, but from the first pages I could understand what was all that buzz about: the "Philosopher's Stone" is by all means an all-time literature classic (and while it's intended for children, it's proving able to go far beyond that...).
All the following Harry Potter books struggle to match the first one, and the "Order of the Phoenix" is no exception. The reason to that is that Book 1 was perfect.
All the same we all long to read the next one: we got trapped by the plot and while we know from the beginning that the good will prevail, and the evil will fail, we just want to read it.
Do not listen to those who criticize Rowling's writing. Do not compare her writing to Tolkien's. Allow her twenty years to write a single book and she'll deliver Tolkien's height in phrase construction, character depiction, etc. And with no boring interludes!
Personally, I am by no means waiting that much for Book 6.
"The Order of the Phoenix" is a superb book: you get a firts-rate description of Rowling's fast-growing magical world, with new characters, new stories and exclusive insights. You'll share Harry's anger as it grows against the injustice.
It's so entertaining you won't let it down until you've finished, and, being so extensive, if you're a married man you'll get complaints by your family because of it (you know what I mean, right?).
It's 100% Potter guarateed. Could you ask for more?
on 19 December 2003
I was so angry when reading the reviews that some people have posted about this book! Some of them state that this book is awful but I notice that most (if not all) of these reviews were written by adults who, (try as they might) can not recapture the child like frame of mind and imagination needed to appreciate this book for what it really is, which is a spell-binding story that not only continues with Harrys story but tackles issues which many teens see themselves facing in real life. As Harry is getting older (which mirror the aging of the primary readers - children) his childish view of the world and his naivity begin to vanish hense the rather more darker, less humourous story lines. His attitude to those around him is typical of a teenager especially one who has gone though as much hardship as Harry has. Admittidly, it's still my belief that HP3 is the best book but this one certainly is NO disappointment! With new characters, a big revelation as to why Voldemort wanted Harry dead, and a lot of information regarding Snape and Harrys dad this book starts off the resolution part of the books with will be concluded in 6 and 7! I can't wait for the 6th book and am sure that all the children (for whom these stories were written) will enjoy them as much as any of the previous ones! A truely magnificent work of imagination in which it is possible to get lost into for hours at a time!
on 23 June 2003
I managed to resist the temptation and did not go down to my bookstore to get a copy aswell as the one from Amazon (pre-ordered on 24th January!!). Ok, so it arrived @ 10.30am so i read, and i read, and i read. basically to cut a long story short this book is fantastic.
Harry is an arogant teenager, Hermione is a stroppy bossy boots, Ron is just bad at Quidditch, Hagrid does not appear until half way through the book (very strange), Dumbledore doesn't really say alot and Malfoy writes a song.
In a nutshell this book is absolutely fantastic, the twins will keep you giggling all the way though. The new defence against the dark arts teacher is scary without a doubt.
Many new things are found out such as the reason Harry was targetted, Hagrid's mysterious summer job, Percy's new job, Harry's love interest and the list goes on and on and on...
This book contains everything and anything to keep any reader happy but unlike the first few books I will NOT recommend this to anybody under 8. The death is quite moving and Harrys outbursts may not be suitable (god bless those hormones) but at the end of the day its good family fun.
At 766 pages I completed it by Sunday night which wasn't speed reading, nor did i intend to speed-read but I took it all in. I await with anticipation for the next installment.
Was it worth the 3 year wait? Yes, I think it was.
Ignore some of the naysayers who dislike Order of the Phoenix, as it is perhaps JK Rowling's best installment of the Harry Potter series to date. Readers are given a wider vision of the wizarding world, with lots of new locations including the Ministry of Magic and 12 Grimmauld Place; and the consequences of one's actions becomes an increasing focus. That is not to say that the book is faultless; for example, less time could have been devoted to the subplot involving Hagrid's brother, Grawp. However, this is one of a handful of negative aspects to the book, which are outshone by a compelling storyline in which the boy wizard gets a taste of the real world, after four books which tended to follow the same pattern. I didn't like aspects of Phoenix when I first read it; however, on a second reading, I realised that I preferred its story to the usual "there's a mystery to solve, lots of red herrings, the wrong person is suspected of being the villain" etc that we had become used to fromthe Potter books.
With Phoenix, JK builds upon the more adult aspects to Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, and creates a story in which Harry faces government bureaucracy head on, embodied by the vile Dolores Umbridge, who's obsessive adherence to rules and constant interference in the running of Hogwarts makes her a believable, recognisable foe. Umbridge's inevitable downfall from her position of power contains some of the funniest moments in the entire Potter series, and it is a comeuppance that will have readers cheering. Phoenix also reflects the tricky teenage years, when hormones are raging and tempers often fray. Harry's attempts to cope with the events of Goblet of Fire, and his anger at the Ministry of Magic's attempts to use the media to portray him in a negative way, are manifest in angry outbursts, which should be familiar to many readers, and reflect the changes in both the characters and the younger readers.
Order of the Phoenix is the most ambitious of the Harry Potter books to date, and it shows that villains come in a variety of forms, from murderers to bureaucratic tyrants. If you haven't read it yet, buy it now, as you won't be disappointed!
This is a fantastic fifth instalment of the Harry Potter series of novels and left me eagerly anticipating the sixth (whenever it may hit the stores!) My copy of the book arrived at around 8am and was snatched from the postman's hand. I read it voraciously, devouring every page. All I can say is - it was definitely worth the three year wait!
Rowling's writing has matured, developing a new depth and, although I would have though it impossible, greater magic and grace. New characters pop out of the pages (some nice, some not so) and there is a superior quality of writing in this fifth offering, a richness which makes for even more rounded characters and an even more convincing Harry Potter world!
Everything Rowling offers us here is fantastic - new insights into the wizarding community, the realisation that even though these people possess magical powers and wands they can't just wave them and right all the world's wrongs! This magical world is just as complicated as the Muggle world and good and bad isn't just a simple matter - there are lots of grey areas. In this book Harry encounters corruption in places of power, people's willingness to believe almost anything - as long as it's not the fact that Voldemort has returned, and learns something that Dumbledore should have told him long ago - the answer to a question asked in the very first book!
Overall, this is a book any Harry Potter fan should not be without. If you don't already have it then my question would be - WHY NOT? Buy it now - you won't regret it. Buy it, read it, enjoy it and be sure that you'll be left enthusiastically waiting, almost salivating, for the next offering JK is working on right now!
on 1 July 2003
The size of this book shouldn't put you off for a second. As with the other Harry Potter books I couldn't put this one down. The book fits in well with the others in the series and doesn't fail to deliver.
One of the strengths of JK Rowling's writing is the way that you can identify with her characters. In this book there are plenty of opportunities to feel anger, sadness, excitement and happiness. The characters are also older and so we see some changes in their attitudes and the ways they behave. Harry is more moody, irritable, suspicious, irresponsible and also at times quite tactless. However, there is no doubt that he is still the Harry Potter we all know.
There are some great new characters in Order of the Phoenix. As with many of JK Rowling's characters you can identify them with people that you have come across in your life.
In Order of the Phoenix you learn a lot more about Voldemort and Harry. There are also some useful insights into characters like Snape and Dumbledore. The book provides a number of useful hints as to where the series is going. I believe that this book has set up Book 6 brilliantly.
Order of the Phoenix comes highly recommended to all.
on 27 June 2003
Well it seemed like a long wait but oh boy was it worth it! I have just lost a week of my life immersed instead in the life of Harry Potter and all those who have become so familiar to me over the last few years of reading the books.
The action begins right in chapter one, drawing me immediately into a sense of thrill and danger from the very beginning. I find myself wondering if Rowling can possibly keep the adventure and the excitement going throughout a monstrous 766 pages. I needn't have wondered, as the story draws me in deeper I become more and more intrigued and desperate to discover what is going to happen. As I read on I can't help thinking of the 'major character' who is going to die and as the pace of the adventure speeds up I find myself literally on the edge of my seat, heart beating faster, convinced every few lines that 'this is the moment' and at one point crying when it seems that one particular character is about to be 'the one.' Rowling brilliantly keeps me in suspense leaving me helpless to do anything but read and read on until I finally discover who it is to be and, Harry's fate at the hands of Voldemert this time.
Wow! I can say no more.
on 23 June 2003
Okay! I admit it! I bought the book in Saturday and read the whole thing in one sitting! Are you HAPPY now???
*ahem* Let's get on with the review. As just about everyone in the world now knows, this is the 5th book in the famous Harry Potter series. The books tell the tale of a young orphan who has been raised by his Aunt and Uncle. Neglected by his adoptive family and tormented by his bullying cousin Dudley, Harry is startled to discover on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard, and that he has been accepted to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
This book follows Harry in his 5th year at Hogwarts. It's not an easy year for Harry. Having witnessed Lord Voldermort return to life and power (and barely escaping with his life) this year Harry finds, to his immense frustration, that only a handful of people believe him. Worse still, the Ministry of Magic has been seeking to discredit Harry and his staunch friend and supporter, Professor Dumbledore. When Dumbledore refuses to stop warning people of Voldermort's return, the Ministry decide that its time for some changes at Hogwarts.
After the runaway success of the previous books, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has a great deal to live up to. Fans of the series will be delighted to know that this book does not disappoint. While it's the longest book of the series (over 700 pages) the story never drags. Instead, the reader becomes immersed in Harry's fight against Lord Voldermort, compounded by the Ministry's refusal to accept what is happening and that universal dread of all school kids - exams.
Rowling's writing is of her average standard - which is to say that the pages practically glow with the world and characters she creates. Familiar characters make a welcome return in this book, and Rowling introduces some new faces as well. My favourites were the dotty schoolgirl Luna Lovegood, and the detestable Ms. Umbridge. Key questions are also answered in this book. Why did Dumbledore allow Harry to be raised by a family that so obviously hate him? What is the connection that Harry has to Lord Voldermort? And above all, why did Voldermort try to kill Harry all those years ago when he was just a baby?
Overall an immensly enjoyable book. Now please excuse me while I go and read it again.