Top critical review
The series moves foward albeit rather slowly as Harry becomes an angst-ridden teenager
27 September 2018
Well, I think any reviewer daring to criticise a Harry Potter story is on a hiding to nothing, but honestly this one was a bit of a struggle. The first three books are relatively fast moving and suit a young audience, and obviously much shorter. Number 4, The Goblet of Fire, is over 600 pages, and was too much of a challenge for my 9 year old boy who lost interest halfway through. I am determined to finish the series, having come this far, and managed to plow through all 800 pages here.
The story in this episode is rather slow developing, and frankly the editor must have been asleep on the job. There are numerous scenes that could have been removed and offer little to advance the story. It was really quite repetitive in places, and there are some many scenes that I felt I'd read before in other episodes. In this book Harry becomes an angst-ridden and often angry teenager whilst Hermione and Ron offer some stability, and Snape shows his usual over the top nastiness.
Although the plotting of the Prisoner of Azkhaban (Vol. 3) was well done and quite clever, I thought the Goblet of Fire was a little creaky in this regard, but here it becomes almost silly. There is no credible explanation why The Ministry turn against Dumbledore so spectacularly and the actions of Dolores Umbridge seem unbelievable. Also the sinister Death Eaters seem comically inept in the climatic scenes. The later books seem to me that the series isn't well mapped out and we are introduced to some characters and details that had no mention in previous books.
However, I guess I shouldn't lose sight of the fact that this is basically a series for children who won't over analyse the plotting. But then at 800 pages of text that is sometimes slow moving and repetitive, maybe JKR shouldn't either!
This is my least favourite in the series so far; Prisoner of Azkhaban is the one I most enjoyed.