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

Lord Voldemort, the powerful wizard that murdered Lily and James Potter 14 years ago, has returned and is currently keeping a low profile as he recruits more Death Eaters and followers. Professor Albus Dumbledore believes that Voldemort may be seeking a dangerous weapon and has called forth the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society of the Dark Lord’s enemies, in an attempt to foil the newly reborn wizard’s plans.

Meanwhile, young Harry Potter is back living with the Dursley family on Privet Drive and is frustrated at being kept in the dark about Voldemort’s plans, especially considering the strong connection between them. When two Dementors suddenly appear out of nowhere and attack him and his cousin, Dudley, resulting in the illegal use of magic in front of a muggle, he is threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Harry’s fury finally boils over.  

A technicality during the disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Magic, allows Harry to return to Hogwarts, but the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Umbridge has been appointed by the Ministry to inspect the teaching standards at the school, causing problems for both Harry and Professor Dumbledore. 

The situation for both students and teachers at Hogwarts takes a nasty turn after Harry and his friends are discovered breaking the strict new school rules imposed by the Ministry of Magic, and Professor Dumbledore takes the blame, leaving Professor Umbridge in charge as the new Headmistress.

As if Professor Umbridge’s presence at Hogwarts wasn’t bad enough, Harry struggles to juggle the stress of his Ordinary Wizarding Level Exams, with his nightmarish connection to Lord Voldemort, which allows the young wizard to catch glimpses of the Dark Lord’s intentions.

Just what exactly is this weapon that Voldemort is searching for and what is its purpose? Can the Order of the Phoenix find the object first and prevent Lord Voldemort’s evil plot from coming to fruition?

The immense, 800 page long, 5th volume of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, called the Order of the Phoenix is the most elaborate and detailed of the seven novels. It offers answers to some of the obvious questions that have cropped up in previous volumes, surrounding Harry’s background and the link that exists between him and Voldemort. It is this aspect that makes the Order of the Phoenix, at 5 out of 5 stars, such an important read for fans of the series.

See also:

Book 1 – The Philosopher’s Stone

Book 2 – The Chamber of Secrets

Book 3 – The Prisoner of Azkaban

Book 4 – The Goblet of Fire

Book 6 – The Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 – The Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling (Book Review)

During the summer holidays Harry Potter has a dream that Lord Voldemort and his servant Wormtail (AKA Peter Pettigrew) are plotting to murder him and he suddenly finds himself wide awake with the lightning shaped scar on his forehead burning. A few days later he attends the Quidditch World Cup Final with the Weasley’s and Hermione, where Death Eaters attack Muggles and Voldemort’s Dark Mark is summoned.

Meanwhile, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is playing host to the first Triwizard Tournament in over a century, a magical competition between the three largest European Schools of Wizardry: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. One champion from each school is to be selected by the Goblet of Fire to compete in three dangerous and potentially deadly tasks, but somehow Harry Potter’s name is also drawn as a 4th competitor, much to everyone’s surprise.

Believing Harry to be seeking fame and attention, the backlash he faces from his fellow students, competitors and teachers leaves the young wizard feeling rather lonely. Especially since his best friend Ron, like everyone else, refuses to believe that he has been set up and did not enter his own name into the goblet.

Harry suspects that Lord Voldemort is to blame for the situation, probably hoping that the trials will kill him, but can he prove his innocence and finish the tournament alive?

The Goblet of Fire is the longest book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series so far, and despite its detailed descriptions and complex storylines, every word has a meaning and purpose. Rowling only fills the pages of her novels with important facts that are necessary to the plot, and her writing matures drastically with every book.

At 4.5 out of 5 stars, book number four plays host to a spectacular magical tournament filled with an extensive variety of magical creatures, while also continuing on with the main theme that runs throughout the entire series of novels, the connection between Harry Potter and his nemesis Lord Voldemort. 

See also:

Book 1 – The Philosopher’s Stone

Book 2 – The Chamber of Secrets

Book 3 – The Prisoner of Azkaban

Book 5 – Order of the Phoenix

Book 6 – The Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 – The Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (Book Review)

The future looks grim for thirteen year old student wizard, Harry Potter when Lord Voldemort’s sidekick, Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban, the Wizard Prison.

Sirius Black is said to have murdered thirteen people with a single curse, twelve years previously, resulting in the Ministry of Magic locking him away in the fortress known as Azkaban. The prison is guarded by hooded creatures known as Dementors, which suck the joy out of everything around them and the island is supposed to be so secure that it is impossible to escape from. However, Sirius Black has somehow managed to do just that. The madman is now evading capture and seeks revenge on the one person who has lost him everything: Harry Potter.

With Sirius Black looking to commit another murder, Harry is on lockdown inside Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, unable even to visit the local village, Hogsmeade with the rest of his fellow 3rd year students.

Would Sirius Black dare to break in to Hogwarts with Professor Dumbledore in charge and the Dementors on guard outside the school gates? Is he planning to bring Lord Voldemort back into power and if so, will he be successful?

The Prisoner of Azkaban is the third novel in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and at 5 out of 5 stars is a very difficult book to put down, once you begin to read it you’ll soon find that you can’t stop until you’ve reached the end.

J.K. Rowling’s writing matures and becomes more and more complex with each subsequent book and the Prisoner of Azkaban is no exception, as we learn that not all is as it first seems when Harry’s Godfather, Sirius Black comes looking for revenge.

The third instalment also plays host to a variety of intriguing magical creatures including: Animagi, werewolves and Hippogriffs, while Harry has an extremely amusing ride on the ‘Knight Bus’, the transport for stranded Wizards and Witches.

The film for the Prisoner of Azkaban however, has a number of problems and doesn’t quite match up to the quality of its predecessors.

See also:

Book 1 – The Philosopher’s Stone

Book 2 – The Chamber of Secrets

Book 4 – The Goblet of Fire

Book 5 – The Order of the Phoenix

Book 6 – The Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 – The Deathly Hallows

*Note: more reviews coming soon

Discworld: Book 9 – The Illustrated Eric (Book Review)

For World Book Day 2019 we honour a legendary icon in the world of Literature, Sir Terry Pratchett.

 

For his ninth foray into the flat world of the Disc, Terry teams up with Illustrator Josh Kirby, and together they produce a simple adventure story starring everyone’s favourite incompetent wizard, Rincewind.

Rincewind, as previously mentioned, is probably the most incompetent wizzard on Discworld, and after an altercation with a Sourceror (see Sourcery), the hapless wizard becomes trapped in the Dungeon Dimensions. Around the same time that Rincewind is searching for a way back home to Ankh-Morpork and Unseen University, a young demonologist named Eric Thursley, is attempting to summon a demon whom he hopes will grant him his customary three wishes; Love, immortality and to rule the world. Unfortunately, he accidentally summons Rincewind instead.

As a result, Eric gets a little more than he bargains for when Rincewind, and his rather hostile travel accessory, The Luggage, leads him on an adventure through time and space, one which he’s not likely to forget in a hurry. The moral of this enchanting story, be careful what you wish for!

 

Favourite Quotes:

“I run, therefore I am; more correctly, I run, therefore with any luck I’ll still be.” – Rincewind’s motto (p45)

 

“Little boxes don’t eat people, sergeant.” – Captain of the Tsortean Army (p83)

 

“Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” – Rincewind (p128)

 

Eric is Terry Pratchett’s hilarious take on the Faust legend and one of my favourite aspects of it, is that unlike the majority of Terry Pratchett’s other 40 Discworld novels, it is one of those really short, simple, amusing and easy to follow stories that you can read within a few hours.

It also contains my favourite characters: Rincewind and the Luggage, as well as brief appearances from the other wizards from Unseen University, the Librarian and even Death himself.

Coupled with, the also late, Josh Kirby’s excellent illustrations this book is a must have for all Discworld fanatics at 5 out of 5 stars.

 

See also:

Book 20: Hogfather

Book 30: The Wee Free Men

Discworld – Book 20: Hogfather (Book Review)

The final festive review to be posted before the Christmas holidays is my all time favourite Christmas novel, Hogfather.

Hogfather is book number 20 in the long running Discworld series, created by fantasy writer Terry Pratchett.

 

The Auditors of Reality hire an Assassin to inhume the Hogfather, the Discworld equivalent to Father Christmas, and Lord Downey the head of the Assassins Guild delegates this seemingly impossible task to the unorthodox methods of Mr Teatime.

As part of his plan to ‘delete’ the Hogfather, Mr Teatime’s little troupe of criminals: Brothers Medium Dave and Banjo Lilywhite, Catseye, Chickenwire, Peachy, Mr Brown the locksmith and Mr Sideney the incognito student wizard, break into the Toothfairy’s Castle in a bid to control the mind’s of all the children on the Disc.

Just at that same moment ‘Death picked up a discord in the symphony of the world’ (pg56). In a futile attempt to ensure the continuation of belief in the Hogfather, Death takes on the guise of the ‘Fat Man’ himself, delivering the Hogswatch toys to all the little boys and girls, with the help of his glamorous assistant, Albert.

Susan Sto-Helit is Death’s granddaughter. For those not already familiar with this piece of Discworld mythology; Death’s adopted daughter, Ysabell fell in love with Death’s apprentice, Mort and it is from her father, Mort that Susan has inherited her unusual abilities. (see Discworld Book 4: Mort and 16: Soul Music, for more details).

When Susan discovers that Death is impersonating the Hogfather, who is missing and presumed dead, she vows to do something about it, because she feels that ‘someone’ ought to and because she was all their was.

Death has maintained the facade and instilled belief in the Hogfather but Susan must bring him back to life otherwise the sun will not rise on the Disc.

 

Favourite Quotes:

“Susan says don’t get afraid, get angry.” – Twyla. (pg18)

 

Mr Crumley: “I want you to go up there and arrest him!”

Corporal Nobbs: “Arrest who, Sir?”

Mr Crumley: “The Hogfather!”

Corporal Nobbs: “What for, Sir?”

Mr Crumley: “Because he’s sitting up there as bold as brass in his Grotto, giving away presents!”

Corporal Nobbs: “Arrest the Hogfather, style of thing?”

Mr Crumley: “Yes!”

Corporal Nobbs: “On Hogswatchnight?”

Mr Crumley: “Yes!”

Corporal Nobbs: “In your shop?”

Mr Crumley: “Yes!

Corporal Nobbs: “In front of all those kiddies?”

Mr Crumley: “Y—“

(pg177 & pg179)

 

“Clever isn’t the same as sensible.” – Susan discussing the concept of wizardly intelligence. (pg207)

 

The Hogfather is a great Christmas fantasy novel from the late Sir Terry Pratchett, filled with the delights of Ankh-Morpork haute cuisine, wizards and all manner of fairy creatures suddenly springing into life, such as ‘the eater of socks’ and ‘the hair loss fairy’.

Whenever Death is involved as a main character in one of the Discworld novels you know there’s going to be plenty of comedy elements that will have you chuckling to yourself as you read through the book and the Hogfather is no exception when Death stuffs a cushion up his robe and dons a fake white beard to ride the Hogfathers sleigh, and it is probably no surprise that this book gets the full 5 out of 5 stars from me.

Also, as usual with the Discworld series, you don’t necessarily have to be familiar with the other novels in order to enjoy this fantasy gem.

 

However, for those who prefer movies to books, The Hogfather TV adaptation is also available.