Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*****Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

by J. K. Rowling

Reviewed December 7, 2002.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2002 (#2, Young Adult and Children's Fantasy Rereads)
Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Press, New York, 1999. 435 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF ROW)

This is my favorite of all the Harry Potter books written so far.  In this book, we go deeper into the hearts of the characters.  The author goes far beyond stereotypical characters by this time.  We learn more about Harry’s parents’ death and how he misses them.  We’re happy to see Harry finally get a father figure in his life.  Big events get started in this book that we know will affect all of the remaining books in the series.

As in all the books, there is a mystery, and J. K. Rowling hides the clues beautifully in plain sight.  She knows how to distribute back story information perfectly, keeping us fascinated and wanting to know more.  We find out more about Harry’s parents as Harry learns to fight Dementors.  What could be more interesting?

One device that she starts in this book that works perfectly is Harry’s Divination classes.  The teacher’s predictions are a wonderful form of foreshadowing, though there’s a nice bit of doubt cast on her predictions.  One of the great things about these books is that they are full of things to laugh about.  The Divination classes are only one of those things.

I’ve told several people not to make their final decision about the Harry Potter books until they’ve read the first three books.  If you don’t like this one, then it’s safe to say that these books are not for you.  By this time, Harry has twined himself firmly around my heart.  When my family first read this book, we read it aloud so we all enjoyed it together.  That was a delightful family experience that I will always treasure.  This time, I read it in German—reading a chapter in German, then a chapter in English.  I was happy that I really could tell what was going on in German, even if I didn’t get all the nuances.  It was a nice way to slow down and treasure the book.

If it’s true that Book 5 is coming out next June, now’s a good time to read those first four again.  Great fun!

Year One at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Year Two at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Year Four at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Year Five at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Year Six at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Hogwarts Year Seven:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audiobook
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tales of Beedle the Bard

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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