4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HAIRY POOTER AND THE KAMIKAZE POISONER,
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) Paperback (Paperback)
Initially I gave this one star, but my magnanimity got the better of me. Two out of five? As a story, I think it is the best of the three so far - but the price we pay is getting higher. I know one father who decided midway to stop reading this as his childrens' bedtime story. So, get your party-poopers ready, what is the problem?
Well, I still like the plot, athough it is three in a row for the paint-by-numbers formula. It works. Practice makes perfect, and the writing is getting better, the descriptions are more vivid. The pace is breathless in places. And I admit to another laugh-out-loud moment (two in three books!), when Malfoy got mud in his eye.
But now I am wondering which genre these books really belong to. Narnia (CS Lewis), Middlearth (JRR Tolkien), and Earthsea (UK LeGuin) fantasy? Not quite. Rowling does not bother to create a separate, consistent world to play in - or she cannot do it. But the horror element seems to grow as one book leads to another. Far from the magic being fun, it all gets colder and deadlier as time goes by. The dark is rising, and there are only cardboard cutout heroes to dispel it. Rowling does not love her 'good' characters, and they remain wishy-washy compared to the exciting evildoers. The heroes need all the dumb luck that they can get to escape the clutches of the Evil One. She does not even create her own monsters. The grey Dementors (demonic soul destroyers) use fear as their weapon, and are taken from the Black Riders in the Lord of the Rings. Just a change of shade, like a photocopier nearly out of toner. The other monsters are taken from Dungeons and Dragons books. The dialogue has been seen before in soap operas - the ones where the actors get their lines and think, 'Script weak - shout. Script very weak - shout louder'.
As the scale of values slides towards the Dark Side Harry and co. pull the 'Simpliciter absurdo pifflewiffle' spells out of the bag to survive. The adults dispense advice which veers between the obscure and the obtuse. The woman teaching the third form Divination is a tea-leaf reading quack - until she is possessed by an evil spirit, and gives a real dark prophecy for Harry's personal unbenefit. In fact, now I broach the subject, possession is a common theme through all three books. First book a teacher, next book a pupil, now an army of soul-suckers and a medium. So do you feel that it is all as harmless as it might seem?