Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
As the midpoint in a projected seven-book series, Goblet of Fire is exactly the big, clever, vibrant, tremendously assured installment that gives shape and direction to the whole undertaking and still somehow preserves the material's enchanting innocence. This time Ms. Rowling offers her clearest proof yet of what should have been wonderfully obvious: what makes the Potter books so popular is the radically simple fact that they're so good.
Janet Maslin - New York Times


The Harry Potter series is a supernatural version of ''Tom Brown's Schooldays,'' updated and given a hip this-is-how-kids-really-are shine. And Harry is the kid most children feel themselves to be, adrift in a world of unimaginative and often unpleasant adults—Muggles, Rowling calls them—who neither understand them nor care to. Harry is, in fact, a male Cinderella, waiting for someone to invite him to the ball. In Potter 1, his invitation comes first by owl (in the magic world of J. K. Rowling, owls deliver the mail) and then by Sorting Hat; in the current volume it comes from the Goblet of Fire, smoldering and shedding glamorous sparks. How nice to be invited to the ball! Even for a relatively old codger like me, it's still nice to be invited to the ball.
Stephen King - New York Times Book Review


Once again, Rowling packs the pages with witty and imaginative ideas.... Fourth year report? Another fine year, Ms Rowling. Three more to go and it looks as though your OWLS (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) results will be terrific.
Sarah Johnson - Times (London)


[T]his is storytelling of a high order indeed. It draws the reader in with a riddle and a letter. It proceeds through a series of trials to a great confrontation. And it concludes with a death and a climactic resolution. E.M. Forster famously observed that, 'Yes—oh dear, yes—the novel tells a story'. HP IV is the apotheosis of 'story.'
Robert McCrum - Guardian


Keeps up the awesome inventiveness, deadpan humor and gripping pace of previous installments.... As usual, Rowling flawlessly knits her plotlines together, with seemingly casual early details taking on meaningful force by the end.
Rebekah Denn - Seattle Post-Intelligencer


This fourth volume of Harry's adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is up to the high standards of its predecessors, full of fantasy, suspense, humor and horror. All the familiar characters are back—Harry's faithful friends Ron and Hermione (she takes on the cause of enslaved house-elves here), professors both kind and nasty, and Moaning Myrtle the ghost, among others—and there are some new characters, too, like the half-giantess Madame Maxime, a little house-elf named Winky, and "Mad-Eye" Moody, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. And defense is needed; because Harry's great enemy Lord Voldemort has risen again, with a new plot to kill Harry. There is a Quidditch World Cup, to supply some sports action, and even more important for Harry, a dangerous Triwizard Tournament in which he is a competitor. At 14, Harry and his friends are starting to mature, and boy-girl relationships are beginning to play a role in their lives, making this book of even greater interest to the YA audience. For all libraries. —Paula Rohrlick
KLIATT


Even without the unprecedented media attention and popularity her magical series has attracted, it would seem too much to hope that Rowling could sustain the brilliance and wit of her first three novels. Astonishingly, Rowling seems to have the spell-casting powers she assigns her characters: this fourth volume might be her most thrilling yet.

The novel opens as a confused Muggle overhears Lord Voldemort and his henchman, Wormtail (the escapee from book three, Azkaban) discussing a murder and plotting more deaths (and invoking Harry Potter's name); clues suggest that Voldemort and Wormtail's location will prove highly significant.

From here it takes a while (perhaps slightly too long a while) for Harry and his friends to get back to the Hogwarts school, where Rowling is on surest footing. Headmaster Dumbledore appalls everyone by declaring that Quidditch competition has been canceled for the year, then he makes the exciting announcement that the Triwizard Tournament is to be held after a cessation of many hundred years (it was discontinued, he explains, because the death toll mounted so high). One representative from each of the three largest wizardry schools of Europe (sinister Durmstrang, luxurious Beauxbatons and Hogwarts) are to be chosen by the Goblet of Fire; because of the mortal dangers, Dumbledore casts a spell that allows only students who are at least 17 to drop their names into the Goblet. Thus no one foresees that the Goblet will announce a fourth candidate: Harry. Who has put his name into the Goblet, and how is his participation in the tournament linked, as it surely must be, to Voldemort's newest plot?

The details are as ingenious and original as ever, and somehow (for catching readers off-guard must certainly get more difficult with each successive volume) Rowling plants the red herrings, the artful clues and tricky surprises that disarm the most attentive audience. A climax even more spectacular than that of Azkaban will leave readers breathless; the muscle-building heft of this volume notwithstanding, the clamor for book five will begin as soon as readers finish installment four.
Publishers Weekly


As the bells and whistles of the greatest prepublication hoopla in children's book history fade, what's left in the clearing smoke is—unsurprisingly, considering Rowling's track record—another grand tale of magic and mystery, of wheels within wheels oiled in equal measure by terror and comedy, featuring an engaging young hero-in-training who's not above the occasional snit, and clicking along so smoothly that it seems shorter than it is. Good thing, too, with this page count. That's not to say that the pace doesn't lag occasionally—particularly near the end when not one but two bad guys halt the action for extended accounts of their misdeeds and motives—or that the story lacks troubling aspects. As Harry wends his way through a fourth year of pranks, schemes, intrigue, danger and triumph at Hogwarts, the racial and class prejudice of many wizards moves to the forefront, with hooded wizards gathering to terrorize an isolated Muggle family in one scene while authorities do little more than wring their hands. There's also the later introduction of Hogwarts' house elves as a clan of happy slaves speaking nonstandard English. These issues may be resolved in sequels, but in the meantime, they are likely to leave many readers, particularly American ones, uncomfortable. Still, opening with a thrilling Quidditch match, and closing with another wizardly competition that is also exciting, for very different reasons, this sits at the center of Rowling's projected seven volume saga and makes a sturdy, heartstopping (doorstopping) fulcrum for it.
Kirkus Reviews

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