Having just missed one hundred books in the first year of The Book Challenge, in 2010, I made the full tonne. Still reading, but without the challenge, take a look at the reviews for the books that I have read this year.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Book 29 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Book - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author - JK Rowling
Year - 2003
Genre - Fantasy

The fifth Harry Potter book was also the first that I went to get at midnight on the day that it came out.  It might sound sad, but even at nineteen years old, I was massively excited.  Now all of the books are out, it saddens me that we will probably never experience such a phenomenon in literature that could persuade hundreds of people to be queueing up outside a shop at an ungodly hour just to be able to buy a book as soon as it comes out.

Weighed up against the excitement of getting the new book before everyone else, was the little problem of the book itself.  Order of the Phoenix is the longest, and unfortunately worst, of the series.  To be fair, this is based on the rather high standards of the series, so it is not in itself a bad book, but it just doesn't live up to expectations.  When this happens in a series, the books sometimes feel much better in a reread, but alas, I felt that it came off a little worse.

One big problem is relating to the death in the book.  I won't spoil the identity on the offchance that you haven't read the series, but before publication there was a lot made in the media by Rowling of how one of the major characters would be dying, and it was on this basis that many ploughed through the book to find out who it would be.  With so much interest, there are dozens of red herrings that crop up throughout.  Just when you think one of your favourites has hit the dust, they turn out to be okay, and you are left waiting.  I remember this being quite exciting when I first read it - it could have been anyone - but upon rereading once you know who it will be, it seems very tired to be hoaxing again and again.

Then once the death arrives, it is rubbish.  Both the first time and this time, I remember rereading the page to see if that was it, if the much publisised death had just happened.  It comes out of nowhere, and then occurs without really saying what happened.  Hopefully those who have read it will agree, but it doesn't really make it very clear that anyone has died at all, and on the back of all of the close calls earlier in the book is very disappointing.

Add to that the fact that this book sees the birth of Emo Potter - Harry's irritating alter ego who spends most of the book moaning and whining and being massively unreasonable to his friends who are just trying to help him - and it is easy to see why it is seen as a low point in the series.  However, it is impossible to deny that it is still an incredibly enjoyable book, and despite my moaning here, a book that I know in a few years time, I will pick up and enjoy again.

8/10

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