Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Well, In a word: Disappointing, whiny, tedious and much too long.

I was really looking forward to the new book. I loved the first four books; they kept me enthralled. Number 5 is the first one I've been able to put down.. In the middle I got so fed up with Harry's whining, yelling at people and outbursts of pointless and illogical anger that I put it down and read a couple of other books. Eventually I got back to it but then, near the end I got fed up with the pointless diversions off the main line of the story and started reading another book. I actually haven't finished Order of the Phoenix yet but I will eventually, just to see if it improves.

I hate to sound so negative, but after the first four books I was expecting another great book so the disappointment is all the greater.

Things I liked in the book:

While Harry seems to be "immaturing" most of the other characters are maturing. Ron and Neville especially.

Things I didn't like:

1. Harry's constant whining and angry outbursts and the same whiny antagonistic attitude of some other characters (such as Sirius). For example, at one point Harry and the Weasly twins attack Malfoy because he said something nasty about their mothers. This angry outburst was so inappropriate (how many times has Malfoy said the same thing in the past? Aren't they used to him by now? Plus the twins never reacted like that before - they normally just bad-mouth back) that it was obviously a ploy to get Harry and the twins banned from playing Quidditch.

2. People doing totally stupid things for no apparent reason or behaving inconsistently. Most of these were poorly disguised ways to create certain situations and plot elements.

3. Putting things in the story that were pointless or obviously put there just so they could be used later as part of another situation. An example of pointless additions was a scene where Harry and co. have to get into a particular part of a building. They have to find the right door out of hundreds. Harry knows that the light on the other side of the door he wants is bluish and flickering. He opens a door, the light is bright and not flickering. He's in a big hurry because he's trying to save someone, so what does he do? He steps in and takes a look around and we get a couple of pages about this room. Then he steps out and opens another door and it also has the wrong type of light so what does he do? He steps in and looks around. It makes no sense at all and actually gets annoying.

4. Finally the book is much too long. If all the unnecessary detail and pointless elements were removed it would be about a third of the size and a much better read.

J.K. needs to read some Louis L'Amour and take a few tips from him. His books are never boring, the behavior of his characters is consistent and he gives you what is needed to move the story along while still providing interesting surrounding color.

Anyway, if you still want to read it after my lousy review here's a link: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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