August 10, 2003

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

phoenix.jpgIt's Potter #5. We read the first couple hundred pages of this aloud in turns on a road trip to Eastern Oregon which was fun. The book is pretty predictable. Harry and his friends do the school thing while trying to figure out what's going on, they get into some tight spots, but with some timely intervention by their powerful friends, some luck, and some bungling by the baddies, they make it through (mostly) intact.

Reading the book I had the distinct impression that Rowling is responding to the world's responses to the books. Specifically, this one seemed to attempt to give Harry's friends a little bigger role in the proceedings. I also felt like she was writing with an eye towards how the book would translate to the big screen when the movie rolls around.

It's at least 50% too long. I was much more distracted in this book by the fact that there doesn't seem to be a framework for how the magic works. It seems like there's a spell or potion for every thing you might want to do, and you just have to know the spells and you're set. There doesn't seem to be any cost to the caster except the investment in learning and recall. As a reader of a fair amount of fantasy literature, I'm used to a richer magical context than is here.

All that said, the book isn't dreadful, it's just not particularly impressive.

Update: One thing I did really enjoy was the couple of times when Hermione explains to Ron and Harry the inner workings of the feminine mind of the girl (Cho Chang (and not the fictional swimmer from the "Special Powers" episode of Sports Night)) Harry has a crush on. Those scenes were very funny.

Posted by jeffy at August 10, 2003 11:54 PM
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