Sue's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
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's review
Jan 25, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, fantasy, teenage, read-2003, read-2005, read-2007
Read in July, 2007 — I own a copy

This is the longest of JK Rowling's books to date, and the first time I read it - aloud, two years ago - I liked it considerably better than the fourth. This time, reading the whole series within a few weeks, I wasn't so sure.

From the point of view of the overall plot, it works very well. The evil Lord Voldemort returned to power at the end of the fourth book, and is beginning to rally his forces. The government refuses to acknowledge the possibility of his having returned which means that Harry is considered to be deluted, and his headmaster Dumbledore, who believes Harry, is treated as being almost senile.

Then there are a lot of subplots interwoven through the book. JK Rowling manages them cleverly, building them together to the thrilling climax of the book. But it felt like rather too many subplots for my taste, and I should think would be overwhelming to a young child. Perhaps this is as well since much of the subject matter is far more suited to teenagers than to children. Those who were the recommended age of 9 when the first books were written would now be about 16 - the age of Harry's year. Those of 12 and above would probably enjoy this book and appreciate its complexity, but I'm surprised to hear of children of six or seven who liked it.

My main problem with the book is that Harry does not seem consistent as a character. He's angry when the book opens, and also rather hurt. While he has some reason for this, he starts yelling and screaming and generally behaving quite contrary to his previous self. The anger is necessary for some of the plotlines, but I felt it was overdone with too much explanation of his thoughts and not enough to make me sympathise.

Overall it's still an excellent read, with the only proviso being that it's definitely best to have read some (perhaps all) of the other books beforehand.

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