Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
A considerably darker, more psychological book than its predecessors, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix occupies the same emotional and storytelling place in the Potter series as The Empire Strikes Back held in the first "Star Wars" trilogy. It provides a sort of fulcrum for the series, marking Harry's emergence from boyhood, and his newfound knowledge that an ancient prophecy holds the secret to Voldemort's obsession with him and his family.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times


Go read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the other main reason to love the series: their sheer comic exuberance even in the midst of high drama. Kids, of course, would mention this first. Jokes, gags and memorable put-downs pop up on nearly every page.... Sometimes it seems we adult critics are so quick to take Harry Potter seriously (whether we're looking to praise or censure) that we forget how cheerful Rowling has been throughout this whole amazing, death-haunted enterprise.
Elizabeth Ward - Washington Post


In fleshing out her plot, Rowling devotes considerable attention to such coming-of-age aspects of Harry's personality, making him a richer and more psychologically complex character than ever before. There's no doubt that Harry is growing up, and the process isn't always pretty, although he remains wonderfully appealing and, when necessary, heroic.
Michael Cart - Los Angeles Times


A very wise decision, J.K. Rowling, to allow three years to pass before publishing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in your global sensation of a series. The fever-pitched anticipation, the media frenzy, the pilfered books, the leaked details. The book richly deserves the hype.
Deirdre Donahue - USA Today


Just when we might have expected author J.K. Rowling's considerable imaginative energies to flag—this is the fifth book of a projected seven-volume series—she has hit peak form and is gaining speed.
Lev Grossman - Time Magazine


Harry has just returned to Hogwarts after a lonely summer. Dumbledore is uncommunicative and most of the students seem to think Harry is either conceited or crazy for insisting that Voldemort is back and as evil as ever. Angry, scared, and unable to confide in his godfather, Sirius, the teen wizard lashes out at his friends and enemies alike. The head of the Ministry of Magic is determined to discredit Dumbledore and undermine his leadership of Hogwarts, and he appoints nasty, pink-cardigan-clad Professor Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and High Inquisitor of the school, bringing misery upon staff and students alike. This bureaucratic nightmare, added to Harry's certain knowledge that Voldemort is becoming more powerful, creates a desperate, Kafkaesque feeling during Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. The adults all seem evil, misguided, or simply powerless, so the students must take matters into their own hands. Harry's confusion about his godfather and father, and his apparent rejection by Dumbledore make him question his own motives and the condition of his soul. Also, Harry is now 15, and the hormones are beginning to kick in. There are a lot of secret doings, a little romance, and very little Quidditch or Hagrid (more reasons for Harry's gloom), but the power of this book comes from the young magician's struggles with his emotions and identity. Particularly moving is the unveiling, after a final devastating tragedy, of Dumbledore's very strong feelings of attachment and responsibility toward Harry. Children will enjoy the magic and the Hogwarts mystique, and young adult readers will find a rich and compelling coming-of-age story as well. —Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
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