Keely’s review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) > Likes and Comments

49 likes · like
Comments (showing 1-50 of 73) (73 new)    post a comment »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Your criticism would be more helpful if you'd bothered to provide examples of the things that you don't like. Not all of us have the book memorized to know what you're talking about without references. :-)


message 2: by Keely (new)

Keely Heh, you're probably right. I usually try to write my reviews more generally, trying to capture the feel of the book instead of summarizing the plot. I want people to be able to read my reviews without having the book spoiled for them.

I know that, for me, one little detail can sometimes ruin a book. It's like when you watch a movie you've seen the previews for, and then some guy dies, but there was a scene with him in the preview, and you haven't seen it yet, and suddenly, you know he's actually alive and it ruins the twist.

Thanks for the comment.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

That makes sense; I just think it would be better to give a few examples rather than just saying, "her world is poorly defined," or that the "story is moved along by arbitrary plot devices". How can I refute your claims if I don't know what you're talking about? ;-)


message 4: by Keely (new)

Keely Yeah, you're right. By the time I wrote my review, it probably wasn't fresh enough in my memory to get really specific stuff down. I should go back and try to find some more specific details, though I'm not sure how, since my sister stole my copy. I'll find a way.


message 5: by Dwight (new)

Dwight Davis I agree with some of what you said but want to point out a wrong fact. Rowling never said she wants to write adult books. In fact, she's repeatedly said the opposite, that she will continue writing for children.


message 6: by Keely (new)

Keely She's been coy, but word was out in the writing community that she was considering such a project back when I wrote this review.


message 7: by Scribble (last edited Jan 05, 2011 03:09AM) (new)

Scribble Orca Funny, isn't it? This is probably my least liked book in the whole series (ok Deathly Hallows was a let down on a few different levels too, but I gave it 4 stars because it was THE END! Yes. Finally.) because as you mention, the writing simply spirals away from her. The imagery is blunt, repeated, overdone. This was the book where I skipped whole chunks of...well...melodrama and waffle.

I didn't mind the introspection in the characters, and I agree, given the age of the characters and the conflict, that it was a necessary component. Perhaps my issues with the book are not so much with Rowling's rendering, but the fact that editors could have tightened up the text considerably. Which is always a quagmire of a path down which to traipse - is the person who says what should be left in or out better or worse qualifed than the reader who enjoys the book?

Interesting that two othe crime writing consider her use of red herrings sufficient to at least qualify her to enter the genre. Although you would argue there never were any hidden clues, correct?

If there is one thing I've learnt from both her writing and the response of her reading public - world-building and sympathy for the characters are key (that may seem a little redundant - but this is the first time I've realised it as analysis rather than acceptance). She's been forgiven for whatever transgressions she may or may not have made, purely on the strength of her ability to draw the reader into her characters' world and conflict.


message 8: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Booo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are wrong!


message 9: by Keely (new)

Keely Booo indeed, my friend; booo indeed.

* * *

Sorry I didn't get back to you, G N--I'm never sure how I manage to miss comments, sometimes they must just slip my mind.

Perhaps my issues with the book are not so much with Rowling's rendering, but the fact that editors could have tightened up the text considerably.

It's true, but that is always Rowling's biggest problem. I'd say in this case, the rambling length actually served some purpose, which is why I thought it the best of the series.

Like a Gothic novel, we have a slow psychological progression for the main character which is mirrored in the world around him, and where we see him working through his own unsurety through developing motifs. Certainly she repeats herself, but it approaches that lulling, poetic repetition which some authors use to imply larger psychic movements beneath the dark surface waters.

I'm not going to claim her motifs or psychology are particularly strong, merely that they are strongest in this particular volume.

She's been forgiven for whatever transgressions she may or may not have made, purely on the strength of her ability to draw the reader into her characters' world and conflict.

It's true, I would agree her strength as a writer (perhaps her only one) is her ability to create characters with some verve and sympathy. But then, that's why I liked this book: it was the most character-driven. Unlike the others, the central conflict is not actually some external representation of magical evil, to be overcome with flashy deus ex machina powers. The central conflict here is self-doubt, an existential crisis about whether the entire conflict is really worthwhile, whether Harry is actually helping anythone by fighting something which often feels inevitable.


message 10: by Bookworm (last edited Apr 07, 2012 11:48AM) (new)

Bookworm Why do you feel her wizarding world is poorly defined? I think her wizarding world, along with her characters, are two of the main factors that drew her readers in, and still manage to capture new audiences into Potter's magic.
If you notice, mentions of various wizarding places are there even before they finally appear to the trio. For instance, Godric Hollow was mentioned in the first book; same with say St. Mungo's Hospital, which was mentioned as a 'passing remark' in the fourth book IIRC, before finally making its proper introduction in the fifth volume.

I think you have hit the nail on the head with her major problem as a writer: her inability to write a consistent plot. She has severe problem plotting, keeping things in focus, and finally solving the plot problems, for which she uses magic and spells and other convenient last-minute plot devices. The plotting did seem a bit too chaotic and superficial as I reread the books over the course of time, but nevertheless, the inescapable charm of her wide range of characters and their development, and the expansion of the wizarding world still makes me remain hooked. And I guess this is the same story for most readers.

And I don't think fantasy was her forte either. She was more like writing a coming-of-age bildungsroman drama in a fantasy setting, rather than a fantasy story with teenage characters, if you get what I mean. She doesn't seem particularly interested in fantasy as a literary genre from what I've read and seen of her. I think, she simply wrote HP because she was determined to finish it (as she says, she's had a epiphany in her train journey when the concept of HP fell into her head fully formed). If she was writing in genres she is more familiar with, she'd probably have a stronger plot - who knows?


message 11: by Keely (new)

Keely "Why do you feel her wizarding world is poorly defined?"

Well, part of it is that the magic doesn't really make sense. It's not a holistic world, it's a piecemeal world. Like with the time-turner, an object that could be used to right all kind of wrongs and really change the whole world yet they use it so a little girl can go to extra classes. Or the fact that if you're holding two wands, you apparently cast two spells at once. Why don't all wizards just use two wands?

Then there's the fact that in the last book, she takes some magic objects from the earlier books and suddenly makes them into special artifacts that are important to the plot. I just tended to feel that the whole wizarding world was set up haphazardly to conveniently fix plot problems, instead of being a well-built world that made internal sense.

You say that some places are 'mentioned offhand' early on, but I don't see that as a sign that her world is well built. It reminds me of that uproar people had about the fake rumor of the Snake Harry releasing being Voldemort's. When I heard that, all I could think was 'Who cares?' It wouldn't give any insight into the characters, it wouldn't change their motivations or relationships, it wouldn't alter the plot, it wouldn't explain anything more, it would just be a pointless detail. Interconnection in a book is only impressive if it has some meaning, otherwise it's just trivia.

As you say, I don't think Rowling is very good at fantasy. However, I don't see signs that she would be better at a straight realist story, since her plotting isn't very focused or subtle.


message 12: by Bookworm (last edited Apr 10, 2012 12:29AM) (new)

Bookworm Firstly Keely and Akash, thanks for your response. I will try to respond to the best of my abilities.

Akash wrote: "@Bookworm-For me it's ironic you should mention characters and development of the wizarding world in this edition of the HP series which is one of the lowest points in the series for me"

Well I am one of those who felt Order of the Phoenix was the best book of the series, and one with the most psychological depth and character complexity. Basically, I agree with Keely's assessment of this edition: that by focusing on her strength, Rowling managed to churn out her strongest book in the form of OoTP. I found the journey to Harry's wounded psych very impressive, and there aren't many books I've read that portrayed psychologically troubled teenagers' thought-processes so beautifully (btw, I like these kind of psychological drama - especially one where the author can keep a consistent bleak and moody tone without turning the story into a sappy melodrama - so I'd appreciate it if anyone here can recommend me some good books on similar subjects).

I will even go as far as to say that I found Rowling's achievement in this particular novel (pertaining to the point I've raised above) superior to J. D. Salinger's work on The Catcher in the Rye. I honestly felt Rowling brought out more range and complexity of her protagonist than Salinger did with Holden in TCITR. There wasn't so much motivation for Holden's behavior beyond the typical 'teenage hormones', and I was not entirely convinced that I got a proper and honest look at teenage psychology through Holden (which was more-or-less the point of the story).

Her use of dreams, the consistent bleak tone (that too without turning the novel into a weep-fest), charged-up dialogues, physical pain in contrast with emotional pain, erratic/irrational behavior etc all contributed to the quality of this book.

I also felt the story arc was structured quite well for her protagonist’s journey to come off as effective. The fourth book ended with Cedric's death, one that would have a significantly negative effect on his psych, because Harry could never truly forgive himself for Cedric’s death. Add to that the fact that he was being ignored by his friends and the wizarding community all his summer.
Even after entering Hogwarts, he did not find the peace he was looking for (a strong contrast to the earlier books where Hogwarts pretty much meant guaranteed peace for about a whole year). He was constantly being called a liar, had very little help from his school mates, and had to endure the torture of Umbridge and other ministry officials. And finally, he had to endure the loss of his Godfather - one of the few people in the world who Harry felt understood him. All of that culminated to his break down in Dumbledore's office. That was a very crucial point in the story, one that gave us a glimpse to the terrible feeling of depression and angst that he had to bear for a year or more.

Nevertheless, Rowling managed to create such a bleak portrayal of a teenger's wounded psych without turning the story into a sappy melodrama. There are as much humorous scenes, funny, ROFL-worthy moments, witty one-liners and jokes as there are in the other Potter books. The book also ended up in a hopeful note: that despite all the pain Harry endured for a whole year, he still has a promise for a better future, for something he possesses that many others do not (friendship and love).
It had its problems, like the sheer length, but you can argue about that post the third book in the series. Like Keely said, the length here at least served more purpose than any other book in the series.

What's your problem with Harry's break down in the end of OoTP? I'd like to hear your opinion once you revisit the book / the particular chapter, because this is my favorite chapter/scene from the entire series, one that was, imo, extremely well-written with perfect dialogues, psychological depth and everything. I can elaborate more on it if you wish me to.

Btw, as for your examples: both the points you mentioned are more of plot problems than ones dealing with world-building. I admit I haven’t thought of the second one – dunno why it never crossed my mind, but it’s a very valid point. As for the first one, [i]LOL![/i] yeah, that bugged the hell outta me when I was reading the book.


@ Keely: "However, I don't see signs that she would be better at a straight realist story, since her plotting isn't very focused or subtle."

I think she can do well in stories with more focus on characters and their emotional plights than plot-driven ones. Let's say a psychological drama like The Catcher in the Rye or The Bell Jar, where the plot is secondary to the characters. That's what I meant. And at least with a 'realistic' drama, her lack of experience with the fantasy genre wouldn't come out as a problem.

I think I misunderstood ‘world-building’ – by world-building I assumed it meant creating a setting, a fictional physical place, and not all the internal laws and details of a fictional, fantastical world. I guess I would rate her highly for creating countless life-like places, ones that jump to life, not only the ones found in Hogwarts, but the Burrow, Grimmauld Place, Shell Cottage, Leaky Cauldron, etc.
I too don’t think her magic makes much of a sense like you pointed out.


message 13: by Keely (new)

Keely ". . . there aren't many books I've read that portrayed psychologically troubled teenagers' thought-processes so beautifully . . . I found Rowling's achievement . . . superior to J. D. Salinger's work on The Catcher in the Rye."

I'm not sure those two are comparable, because Salinger isn't depicting 'teen depression', he's depicting someone with post-traumatic stress disorder. Holden's psychological outlook is not one of youthful angst, but mental disorder.

I tend to think that most people who idolize Holden are self-obsessed and delusional, to look at a severe anxiety disorder and think 'that's just like my existential ennui". But I do agree with you that the portrayal of Harry in this book is an interesting and thoughtful depiction of the powerlessness of late youth, and I think it is Rowling's greatest achievement as an author.

"by world-building I assumed it meant creating a setting, a fictional physical place, and not all the internal laws and details of a fictional, fantastical world. I guess I would rate her highly for creating countless life-like places, ones that jump to life, not only the ones found in Hogwarts, but the Burrow, Grimmauld Place, Shell Cottage, Leaky Cauldron, etc."

Yeah a lot of what I'm talking about with world-building is internal consistency. There are a lot of authors who extend themselves too far, particularly in fantasy, and create magic spells or objects that fix problems, but then have to pretend they don't exist, later.

I don't mind books like Alice in Wonderland, where the magic and conflicts are wild and strange, and where logical holes are intentional--it's different when an author writes fairly straightforward, 'realistic' conflicts, and then gives a lot of details about the world which contradict how the characters behave. It's something I discuss at length in my review of Artemis Fowl.

I also don't find her places to be that vivid, in part because I don't think she's great at using tone, which I think of as vital for imbuing places with life. Then again, I'm comparing her to masters like Peake, Lewis Carroll, and Rouald Dahl.


message 14: by Bookworm (last edited Apr 10, 2012 10:47AM) (new)

Bookworm Keely wrote: "I'm not sure those two are comparable, because Salinger isn't depicting 'teen depression', he's depicting someone with post-traumatic stress disorder. Holden's psychological outlook is not one of youthful angst, but mental disorder."

Examples or analogies seldom are entirely accurate. I have already stated that I haven't read as much work on similar subjects, so I compared Harry in OoTP with the one that came to my mind then.

Anyway, having said that, I don't know why you think Holden isn't suffering from the same problems that most adolescents are subjected to. Yes, in his case, it's much more than just teenage angst - nevertheless, teenage angst is very much a part of it. He is a teenager (almost Harry's age as far as I remember), and showed all the signs of a rebellious teen.
(And btw - Harry was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; witnessing Cedric's death and his incapability of helping him, being kept in the dark for a long period of time, constantly being called liar, being tortured in every way possible, etc. Here's wiki's definition of post-traumatic stress, and it matches exactly with Harry's condition too - "Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual's ability to cope." Harry's case was pretty much similar to Holden's so I don't know why you feel it isn't a valid comparison).

"I tend to think that most people who idolize Holden are self-obsessed and delusional"

That's going a bit too far in my opinion. But yes there's hardly anything to idolize Holden for. One doesn't have to idolize a character in order to relate to him (the latter seems to be the case most of the times).

"It's something I discuss at length in my review of Artemis Fowl."

Eh, tried reading Artemis Fowl, but could not continue past the first hundred or so pages. I guess that's one reason why I liked Harry Potter so much despite its many flaws - because I honestly feel it's above the quality of most modern YA novels that get published and then immediately (or a while after) get labelled as 'international bestseller'. I haven't read many of the critically acclaimed works of Ursula, Gaiman etc, and I guess had I done so, I wouldn't have liked HP all that much. Nevertheless, my experience with most modern fantasy/YA books - Percy Jackson, Twilight, et al - made me appreciate Harry Potter all the more. At least with HP there are many redeeming values like its characters and the 'engaging and involving' quality of the books.

"I also don't find her places to be that vivid"

Ah, I always loved the way she brought fiction to life, and I don't know how she does it. I can't help but get a very clear picture of Hogwarts, Grimmauld Place, the characters etc.

"in part because I don't think she's great at using tone"

I actually disagree. I think she can can create different tone and mood depending on the settings: Hogwarts is described in a very magical, wondrous language (it's never described entirely but our trio is constantly discovering all the magic and secrets in possess), Hogsmede with very bright, colorful words, Grimmauld Place with dark imagery, The Burrow infusing with life etc etc. I can quote passages from the books (though I need to get them out which can take a while :D) to justify my stance.

@ Akash: I will get back to you later. Got to go now.


message 15: by Keely (new)

Keely "Harry was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; witnessing Cedric's death and his incapability of helping him . . ."

Ah, good point, I'd forgotten that.

"One doesn't have to idolize a character in order to relate to him (the latter seems to be the case most of the times)."

Yeah, I was only speaking of those who say that Holden perfectly represents them and their pain, despite living a comfortable upper middle class life and never personally experiencing the death of someone close in age. Relating to the character in other ways is certainly understandable.

"I honestly feel [Potter is] above the quality of most modern YA novels . . . I haven't read many of the critically acclaimed works of Ursula, Gaiman etc, and I guess had I done so, I wouldn't have liked HP all that much."

It's possible, and it might be difficult to compare our opinions of the book if we're coming at it from opposite directions (i.e., you comparing it to sub-par bestsellers, me comparing it to genre 'classics').


message 16: by Bookworm (last edited Apr 11, 2012 06:19AM) (new)

Bookworm "It's possible, and it might be difficult to compare our opinions of the book if we're coming at it from opposite directions (i.e., you comparing it to sub-par bestsellers, me comparing it to genre 'classics')."

True. I guess I need to familiarize myself more with 'classics' and the works of critically acclaimed authors who have stood the test of time - like Ursula, Gaiman, etc.
My initial experience with "literature" was almost exclusively limited to the sub-par bestsellers like Twilight, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, Dan brown, etc, and Harry Potter's quality is above and beyond the level of most of these books (according to me).

HP is probably in the middle somewhere , that is between the genre classics and sub-par bestsellers.


message 17: by Zev (new)

Zev Mandlsohn You just sound like a disgruntled man with too much time and hatred on your hands. Using big words to try to sound superior doesn't mean you're right. You haven't really provided any information that could be useful to anyone who is thinking of reading the book.


message 18: by Keely (new)

Keely What am I meant to be disgruntled with? What is it you think I hate?

As for big words, you're sitting at a computer right now. If there are any words you are curious about, their definitions, pronunciations, and etymologies are seconds away. Or you could ask me for clarification. Are there actually any words in this review besides 'bildungsroman' that you found particularly daunting?


message 19: by Matt (new)

Matt Translation: "Your critique of something I like makes me feel insecure so instead of shrugging and moving on I'm going to make those insecurities blatantly obvious to people who otherwise wouldn't care by making silly ad-hominem attacks against you."

Seriously, he gave it 3 stars, which in goodreads own classification of reviews is "I liked it". Just move on. I'm sure Keely thinks plenty of things I enjoy aren't enjoyable.

Also, you might want to rethink your concept of "hatred".


message 20: by Jason (new)

Jason Who knew a Harry Potter review could be so interesting. Great review, Keely. But even greater trail of comments...


message 21: by Keely (new)

Keely Thanks, glad you liked reading the review and the comments. I guess the continued discussion is part of what makes Goodreads different from other review sites.


message 22: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca Sorry, Keely, I couldn't resist. I just had to pass by again and enjoy re-reading your review. The cool level-headedness is such a breath of fresh air!


message 23: by Keely (new)

Keely Well, I'm glad it stands up to re-reading. Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed the discourse.


message 24: by Holland (new)

Holland If you didn't enjoy the book Keely, then fine you are entitled to your own personal opinion, but it appears to me that while you were reading the book you only looked at it with a one sided mind, and evaluated it based on technicalities. I think you should revisit the book and instead of reading it looking for technical criteria, allow yourself to get wrapped up in the story and let your imagination run wild. I guarantee you will enjoy it more.


message 25: by Holland (new)

Holland I hope that didn't sound disrespectful, it was just my opinion, apologies if it did


message 26: by Keely (new)

Keely No worries, it was pretty even-handed, as internet comments go. I guess I'd say that these 'technical criteria', characters, plot, magic, are the things that make up the story, so if there are problems with them, those become problems with the story. I've lost myself some pretty wild and imaginative fantasies before, but I found Rowling's world to be fairly dull and cliche in comparison. Likewise, I found the plot predictable and convenient--it was something imposed upon the characters, not something that arose naturally from their personalities and desires.

I can't just choose to 'get wrapped up' in a story, especially if so many things fundamental to telling a story aren't working. I do try to enjoy a book while I'm reading it, and to give it a chance to take me somewhere. I certainly did have some fun reading Harry Potter, but overall it was too messy and poorly-structured to really pull me in.

Thanks for the comment.


message 27: by Jason (new)

Jason ...and it wasn't like he rated it a 1, which I think would have been indicative of a one-sided mind while reading it. He rated it a '3' which means he liked it (just didn't like it a lot), and that seems pretty fair and reasonable to me. Not that one needs his ratings justified, but I think accusing him of being disgruntled (not by Holland, but by others previously) is all pretty silly.


message 28: by Holland (new)

Holland Okay, understood, different minds think differently.


message 29: by Holland (new)

Holland Jason, you make a good point, I realize now that my comment was a bit impulsive and I understand Keely's thoughts. My apologies, I shouldn't have worded it like that.


message 30: by Holland (new)

Holland Keely, if it is in any way possible, please delete my previous comment, I am truly sorry, and I am not happy with the way it made me sound. I hope you can forgive me.


message 31: by Jason (new)

Jason Holland wrote: "Keely, if it is in any way possible, please delete my previous comment, I am truly sorry, and I am not happy with the way it made me sound. I hope you can forgive me."

Deleting comments is for trolls. Leave it and let Keely stew in his disgruntlement. ;)


message 32: by Keely (new)

Keely No worries and no offense taken. I didn't mind hearing your thoughts and responding. Thanks for the comments.


message 33: by Tess (new)

Tess EXACTLY!Right on the money with your review.


message 34: by Lennard (new)

Lennard This is a great review.


message 35: by Keely (new)

Keely Thanks guys, glad you liked it.


message 36: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Loved this review. I actually like how it's general despite many people's complaints that you should provide examples, because it really broadens beyond Rowling's writing--it extends to other fantasy works as well, whether they're explicitly referenced or not.

I agree that Rowling's writing "spirals out of control"--she never knows when to cut it down. She always seems to have too much story to cram into so few pages, and as a result some of her writing can be horribly rushed, and sometimes her storytelling is more like rambling. I personally found the Half-Blood Prince to be the best written of the series, because, even though it was quite long, she did manage to kind of rein it in a bit and slow down so it didn't feel like she was stuffing an entire trilogy into a single book. But, like you said, we shouldn't blame her that much. We love our words, and we want to hang onto them as hard as possible, even if it's unnecessary.


message 37: by Keely (new)

Keely Thanks for the thoughtful comment, glad you liked the review.


message 38: by Rafael (new)

Rafael Urrieta I think your crazy. She planned the whole plot from the very beginning. She sacrificed more characters than I ever seen in what could be called a children's book. She takes her story as a growing child, with the first books being more simple and innocent to the last ones being more mature, full of tragedy and a sense of reality slapping you in the face. It is like growing up along with Harry and the other characters.


message 39: by Jason (new)

Jason You think whose crazy?


message 40: by Jason (new)

Jason :) Sorry, I couldn't resist.


message 41: by Jocelyn (last edited Oct 26, 2012 07:42AM) (new)

Jocelyn Rafael wrote: "I think your crazy. She planned the whole plot from the very beginning. She sacrificed more characters than I ever seen in what could be called a children's book. She takes her story as a growing c..."

Planning the whole plot has nothing to do with how good it is. What DOES relate is how relevant it is to the main conflict. All the subplots serve no purpose but as a distraction, rambling on left and right onto tangents that should have been cut. Rowling's books are exploding to over 600 pages. Most of the plot is moved forward by Deus Ex Machina, plot convenience, and blatant inconsistencies in the story. Therefore, it feels contrived, forced, and rather unrealistic.

Ironically, I AM a fan of this series, but it's very flawed as a whole and should have been better edited.

And didn't Keely say that this one was his favorite of the series? He rated this three stars. That's a respectable rating.


message 42: by Keely (new)

Keely And beyond that, I don't feel like the plot was planned out from the beginning. In the last book, we're told there are a bunch of magic things that need to be destroyed to defeat the big bad dude--the same plot coupon scenario that every cliche fantasy book relies on. Then she takes a bunch of unrelated magic items and decides they are part of some collection of rare and legendary artifacts, despite the fact that no one beforehand seems to think of them as anything but everyday magic items.

The fact that these details are suddenly revealed through exposition in the very last book made me feel that things were not planned out from the beginning, and that Rowling had to suddenly create a convenient way to end the series.


message 43: by Jocelyn (last edited Oct 26, 2012 03:39PM) (new)

Jocelyn Keely wrote: "And beyond that, I don't feel like the plot was planned out from the beginning. In the last book, we're told there are a bunch of magic things that need to be destroyed to defeat the big bad dude--..."

Haha :) Actually, for me, it felt like Rowling had gone onto the Internet, found out that everyone had guessed her "twists," then decided that a last-minute plot device would provide at least a little more suspense. But yes, it definitely turned out to be a huge case of Deus Ex Machina. HP and the Deathly Hallows definitely wasn't amazing, but it did get the job done. It was a pretty "safe" way to end the series.


message 44: by Keely (new)

Keely Yeah, I found it a bit too safe and predictable, pulling out all those big pop fantasy cliches. But I certainly don't envy her having to write around those fans--get a few hundred thousand people talking on the internet and someone's going to guess your twists.


message 45: by Diane (new)

Diane your kinda mean keely


message 46: by Diane (new)

Diane just so you know I'm 8 years old dummy


message 47: by Leo (new)

Leo Walsh Hey Keely, I have read some of your reviews. And wonder if you realize how you come across: rather pompous. Unlike the fictional Harry Potter, you seem to lack empathy and love for your fellow humans. So I feel sort of bad for you.

I am reading the Harry Potter series as an adult, and found myself sucked in. After reading hundreds of SF and Fantasy series, I am jaded by a lot of Fantasy cliches. And yet I find this series refreshing. Facts are, I will likely plow through the entire series in less than a month now the NCAA football is over until Bowl time.

As to your review, I think you are incorrect about the world. I find the world engaging, consistent, and well constructed -- as do reviewers with much more weight than you like, say Steven King. And I really buy the concept of a responsible Wizarding class wanting to teach their children how to responsible wield their power.

And the characters are very believable. Because, if you've ever had, or remember being an adolescent, these books hit spot on. I especially love the way Rowling draws Harry's torturous first love with Cho. His clumsiness around girls. His wishing that they taught a class on understanding women. And you know, that was me when I was young.

You are spot-on about some of the plotting. I mean, in this book alone, Harry is saved by the God in the Machine twice: once in the forest,and another by Dumbledore at the Ministry of Magic. But, Rowling does such an extraordinary job building characters and world building, I can overlook them. Because I want to see what happens to Harry and his Scooby Gang.


message 48: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Why why why why why why why....

...do people give two fucks to the tone of Keely's reviews, as long as they're not offensive?

Who cares if he's pompous?

Just saying. I honestly have no idea why anyone would criticize the way people choose to express themselves.


message 49: by Nermin (new)

Nermin I don't agree with Keely most of the times, still I enjoy reading his reviews.


message 50: by Keely (new)

Keely Leo said "[I] wonder if you realize how you come across: rather pompous."

I have heard that before, but as no one has ever put forth any examples or arguments to support the idea, I can't say I take the accusation seriously. Such an unsupported response to tone is hardly worth much.

Of course, I can see how some people would read me that way. The fact that I am willing to offhandedly discount an unfounded opinion might be even be taken as pomposity by some. So might the fact that, instead of hemming and hawing with 'I think' and 'maybe', I tend to write in a straightforward fashion.

However, I also often get the reverse comment: that I'm remarkably humble and honest. I'm not trying to claim that this observation is any more valid than accusations of pomposity, but since I get both regularly, I do not tend to think of myself as 'pompous' (or humble), but as a human being who some other humans will be liable to misread, as per their own prejudice.

" . . . you seem to lack empathy and love for your fellow humans."

That's a rather broad stroke to paint me in, especially, again, with no explanation. When I think of pomposity, I think of the predilection to state opinions without feeling any need to support them. How would such a bare statement serve to convince or enlighten anyone?

Though it may be that, as you are a sci fi and fantasy reader, the only reviews of mine that you have stumbled across are for books that disappointed me (it happens regularly here on GR), which would certainly color your view.

"After reading hundreds of SF and Fantasy series, I am jaded by a lot of Fantasy cliches. And yet I find this series refreshing."

It's a Chosen One monomyth taking place in a British Fairy Tale 'other land' with all the trappings of a boarding school drama. What is fresh about that?

"I find the world engaging, consistent, and well constructed"

Why? I found it to be full of convenient nonsense, one example being the time-turner, a time machine that could have been used numerous times to fix things, but wasn't, and then when it is about, the characters still act like every outcome is vital, despite the fact that they could go back at any time to fix it (until the entire collection of time-turners, which are all stored on the same shelf, are destroyed in the next book to try to plug the plot hole).

". . . reviewers with much more weight than you like, say Steven King"

Is that weight measured in anything valid? Say, perhaps, some actual observations and critical work you could point me to or paraphrase? Or is it simply measured in the bulk of raw pulp of his collected doorstop books? In terms of goofy worldbuilding and structure, I tend to think of King as even more egregious than Rowling.

"Because, if you've ever had, or remember being an adolescent, these books hit spot on."

Yeah, that's why, in my review, I say:

. . . this book gets the prize for the most psychological depth and also the most consistent mood.

I wouldn't say 'spot on', as Rowling lacked the sort of insightful and unusual character depth of an author like Roald Dahl, but it's definitely the strongest aspect of her writing.

Jocelyn said: "Who cares if he's pompous?"

Mostly it seems to be people who would like to disagree with me but aren't sure how to go about doing it.

Narmin said: "I don't agree with Keely most of the times, still I enjoy reading his reviews."

That's right! I may be wrong, but entertainingly so.


« previous 1
back to top