HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

J. K. Rowling, Author, Mary GrandPre, Illustrator , illus. by Mary GrandPré. Scholastic/Levine $29.99 (870p) ISBN 978-0-439-35806-4

Year five at Hogwarts is no fun for Harry. Rowling may be relying upon readers to have solidified their liking for her hero in the first four books, because the 15-year-old Harry Potter they meet here is quite dour after a summer at the Dursleys' house on Privet Drive, with no word from pals Hermione or Ron. When he reunites with them at last, he learns that The Daily Prophet has launched a smear campaign to discredit Harry's and Dumbledore's report of Voldemort's reappearance at the end of book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Aside from an early skirmish with a pair of dementors, in which Harry finds himself in the position of defending not only himself but his dreaded cousin, Dudley, there is little action until the end of these nearly 900 pages. A hateful woman from the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge (who, along with minister Cornelius Fudge nearly succeeds in expelling Harry from Hogwarts before the start of the school year), overtakes Hogwarts—GrandPré's toadlike portrait of her is priceless—and makes life even more miserable for him. She bans him from the Quidditch team (resulting in minimal action on the pitch) and keeps a tight watch on him. And Harry's romance with his crush from the last book, Cho Chang, turns out to be a major waterworks (she cries when she's happy, she cries shen she's sad). Readers get to discover the purpose behind the Order of the Phoenix and more is revealed of the connection between Harry and You-Know-Who. But the showdown between Harry and Voldemort feels curiously anticlimactic after the stunning clash at the close of book four. Rowling favors psychological development over plot development here, skillfully exploring the effects of Harry's fall from popularity and the often isolating feelings of adolescence. Harry suffers a loss and learns some unpleasant truths about his father, which result in his compassion for some unlikely characters. (The author also draws some insightful parallels between the Ministry's exercise of power and the current political climate.) As hope blooms at story's end, those who have followed Harry thus far will be every bit as eager to discover what happens to him in his sixth and seventh years. Ages 9-12. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 978-0-8072-1758-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-8072-2031-3
Library Binding - 896 pages - 978-0-439-56761-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-2028-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-8072-2029-0
Paperback - 870 pages
Hardcover - 978-0-7475-5100-3
Paperback - 567 pages - 978-7-02-008359-6
Hardcover - 1232 pages - 978-0-7862-5778-2
Hardcover - 896 pages - 978-0-439-56762-6
Paperback - 978-0-439-70195-2
Paperback - 893 pages - 978-84-7888-884-9
Hardcover - 978-84-7888-901-3
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-29888-9
Prebound-Glued - 870 pages - 978-0-613-99916-8
Paperback - 978-0-439-71511-9
Paperback - 978-0-439-68651-8
Paperback - 978-0-439-68653-2
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