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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Book 3 - J.K. Rowling

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      04.06.2013 16:50
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      Another amazing book from J.K Rowling. Fantastic book from a fantastic series.

      'You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?'

      PLOT

      In this book, Harry and his friends are getting ready to start their third year at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, Harry is lucky to be going after blowing up his Aunt Marge and running away from the Dursleys' house. Harry is picked up by the Knight Bus, an emergency transport service for stranded Witches and Wizards, where he learns about a Wizard that has recently broken out of the Wizard Prison, Azkaban. After being taken to the Leaky Cauldron, Harry spends the rest of his Summer holidays in Diagon Alley.

      Harry soon learns that the man all over both the Wizard's and Muggle's newspapers, Sirius Black, is connected to him in more ways than he can imagine. Not only is he after Harry, he's closer to Harry than he ever knew, and when he discovers the truth about him, will he able to control himself and keep away, or will he try and find him? The whole School is being guarded by Dementors, the ghoul-like guards of Azkaban; who literally suck the happiness out of anyone around them, and affect Harry in worse ways than most people.

      As the story progresses, Harry will learn more about his Parents, and about their closest friends. Harry and his friends will uncover secrets that have been long forgotten, and mysteries that have been long unsolved, as they discover the real reasons for Sirius Black's prison outbreak, and get closer to the truth behind the death of Harry's Parents.

      MY OPINION

      I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I am a big Harry Potter fan, so I could be a bit biased. Just like the other books, I couldn't finish this one fast enough; the plot was gripping, the characters were once again incredibly well written, and I found myself getting more and more immersed in Harry's World. In this book, we're introduced to some new characters, including Remus Lupin, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and a close friend of Harry's Parents. I loved this character, he's a brilliant teacher, and makes lessons fun for the Students, reminding me of some of my better School teachers. Not only is he a great teacher, he's also incredibly supportive to Harry; teaching him to defend himself against the Dementors, spending time with him outside of teaching hours, because Harry is so badly affected by them.

      Once again, I was drawn into a Harry Potter book, being thrown into the story, and almost feeling like I was right in there with the characters, going through what they were going through, as they're hit by more shocks, surprises, and for Harry, more tragedies. The friendships between Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue to grow in this book, as Ron and Hermione support Harry through the discoveries that he makes about his Parents, and about why Lord Voldemort discovered their hiding place and killed them.

      This is personally one of my favourite Harry Potter books, since it's full of twists that are integral to Harry's life, and because we're first introduced to one of my favourite characters, Remus Lupin, in this book. I feel that this is one of the most important books in the series, as it starts to uncover some of the secrets surrounding the death of Harry's Parents, and we learn even more about the Wizarding World. I've read this book, as well as the other Harry Potter books, countless times, and I'll probably be reading them again one day. I only read books more than once if I really enjoy them, which just goes to show how highly I think of this series.

      THE AUTHOR

      There's not a lot I can say about J.K Rowling, apart from the fact that she pulled off another amazing story with this book. The Harry Potter books are incredibly well researched, with a lot of references to well known myths, history and legends; including Centaurs, Manticores and a reference to the Greek Legend of Cerberus, a three headed dog, in The Philosopher's Stone. This is one of the many reasons that I enjoy the Harry Potter books; making the connections with Rowling's storytelling, and the myths and legends that she incorporates into her books. I'll be enjoying Rowling's books for many more years to come.

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      23.04.2013 22:59
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      A well written novel, winning me over to the magical side.

      Harry Potter is an exceptionally well known character created by author J.K. Rowling. He is the central character in a popular series of books set at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and featuring all things magical. Prisoner of Azkaban is book 3 in the series of seven books. Released in the summer of 1999, this book joins Harry as he is about to start his third term at Hogwarts.

      Like the first two books, we join orphan Harry while he is staying with his aunt and uncle, the Dursleys, for the summer holiday. The Dursleys are not that fond of Harry at all, and things do not go well when Mr Dursleys sister comes to stay with them. Harry does not get on well with the woman, and when she is horrid to him he loses his temper, causing him to perform a magical spell on her. Thinking he is expelled from school, he runs away from home.

      This book starts out really promising for me. I love the introduction of new characters in this novel, and getting to know more about the magical world. Because Harry has not lived in the wizarding world for long, when he finds out about something for the first time, then we as the reader find out about it too. Here we get to see the Knight bus, a purple double decker which comes to the rescue of wizards who need help. I loved the vivid description of Harry's escape to London on this bus, and how it pops up later in one of the other books in the series.

      Harry also finds out about the wizard prison, Azkaban, after a dangerous man called Sirius Black escapes from there. Everyone is on high alert as Sirius was involved in Harry's parents death, and he was last heard murmuring 'he is at Hogwarts!' The assumption is he is out to finish off Harry and return to helping the evil Lord Voldemort who killed Harry's parents.

      A big thing in this novel is that Harry meets the dementors - creatures that guard the wizarding prison. They are supposed to be hunting for Sirius, but for some reason whenever they go near Harry, they have a dreadful affect on him making him very ill. Luckily for Harry, he has a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin, who might be able to teach Harry a technique to help him when they are about.

      I really enjoyed meeting the new teachers - Sybil Trelawney teaches Divination, a type of fortune telling. Harry thinks that she is a fraud as she constantly predicts his death, but her ability is genuine and she is able to predict events surrounding Harry in extreme circumstances. While some of the detail about her is lengthy in this novel, it is essential to get a background to her reliability for later books in the series as the plot progresses. Her predictions and Harry's sightings of a black dog which he thinks is a death omen are influential in the mood of this novel.

      We also see gamekeeper Hagrid having a larger role as teacher of Care of Magical Creatures. His lessons always seem to go disastrously, and it provides a bit of comic relief sometimes when the plot of this novel is a bit darker.

      I feel this is the last book in the series that I actually class as a childrens book. At over 300 pages, there is a lot packed into the pages, but not something that would be impossible for a child aged around 8-10 to read. However, the tone of the plot is starting to get a bit darker. The Dementors are quite scary characters in particular, and although I have let my sons see the first two books in film format, I would not want them to see these characters or read about them just yet. My eldest son has a reading age somewhere around 8-9, and he can read these books, but I find the lack of pictures a bit heavy going for him, and I think the content is a bit much just yet.

      Pace in this novel for me felt quite well done. In earlier books I felt a bit like Rowling spent ages describing things earlier on, then rushes to the conclusion through the best bit to meet a word limit or something like that. Then endings felt a bit rushed and spoiled my enjoyment a bit. Here, the final chapters concluding the story are gripping and left me wanting more. Harry is growing up fast, and he is acting in a very mature grown up way.

      I found this was quite a quick book for me to read as an adult, and I highly enjoyed this installment of the series due to new characters and the plot development. I understood what the Potter craze was all about when I had finished reading it the first time and I was left eager for part 4 to be written more quickly. Here, the characters felt a lot more 'real' and fully fleshed, and the action was purely magical.

      Book three is one of the highlights of this series for me, and believe me, it can only get better. If you have missed this phenomenon, then I think you should give it a try.

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        10.11.2012 09:17
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        A great book

        ==Overview==

        The Harry Potter Series of books written by J.K.Rowling has been one of the most popular and successful book collections ever written. The Prisoner of Azkaban is the third in the series of seven books. The book was published in 1999 and the film was released five years later in 2004. It has 22 chapters and is 317 pages long. Compared to the first two Harry Potter books, this is slightly longer but compared to the latter Harry Potter books, this is considerably shorter. I always see books 1-3 as children's books, books 4 and 5 as a transition from light to dark and then books 6 and 7 are really dark. For me, The Prisoner of Azkaban (POA) is the final fairly light hearted book in the Harry Potter series where we see snippits of darkness but really a strong sense of innocence and naivety.


        ==The Plot==

        Without spoilering the book too much, the story follows Harry as he returns for his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and finds out that notorious murderer Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban prison and is after Harry. The plot follows Harry, Ron and Hermione as they embark on their third year, they have a new teacher in the form of Hagrid (Care of Magical Creatures) and yet another new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Lupin. It transpires that Lupin was a very good friend of Harry's Dad, James Potter and through the books we get bits of back story about the Potters that we have not heard of before. We also begin to understand the darker side of magic and learn about the unforgivable curses and the dark arts.


        ==My Opinion==

        As I mentioned, the book for me is the final book which has some sort of child-like innocence left in it. By the end, themes of death and destruction are not prevalent like they are in some of the later books. I really feel that in this third book, JK Rowling has had time to develop the wonderful world of Harry Potter and completely captured the imagination with her descriptions of places and people. I seem to remember the anticipation for the 4th book being released was extremely high which suggests that this 3rd book had excited readers in a new way.

        I'm a huge fan of POA as the back stories about the Potters and James and Lupin's time at Hogwarts really captured my imagination. JK Rowling did superbly well to feed the reader enough back story information but keep enough back to leave them dangling for more and more information which of course we don't get to find out about until later books.

        Whilst I say that there is some child-like innocence left in the book, don't underestimate how much darker this book is compared to the first two. Particularly compared to the Philosopher's stone, the POA is significantly darker. We meet the Dementors of Azkaban and learn more about the Dark Arts of magic which provides a darker undercurrent throughout the books. However, there is still the charm we have all come to love about the Harry Potter series, we see different parts of Hogwarts and visit Hogsmeade village for the first time. We join the students in their new classes (Divination anyone?) and as the book is largely centred around Hogwarts, it builds on the success and wonderful descriptions provided by JK Rowling in the first two books.

        One of the things I love about the entire Harry Potter series is the way in which JK Rowling leaves you clues through the book which upon getting to the end you realise the clues were there but they were really subtle. Even the way in which the characters were named provides insight into their characters in some way (if you know enough Latin, fables or can Google it!) - for example Sirius and Lupin, two prime examples of JK Rowling giving us some clues about their characters.

        ==Overall==

        Overall, the POA is my favourite out of the 'junior' books (i.e. books 1-3) as it doesn't need to introduce the places or people like the first two books do. We get a richness of description and multiple layers of plot line that intertwine and keep you guessing all of the way through. I do feel as though by the end there is a small turning point and the tone of the rest of the books feel much darker than the first three books but it is much more subtle than the turning point that is book 5, the Order of the Phoenix. I highly recommend you read the book before watching the film as it allows you to create imagines in your mind of the world before you see them on the big screen.

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          03.10.2012 11:27
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          My favourite in the series so far

          Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

          Why read this one?
          I have recently enjoyed the first instalments in the Harry Potter series and was eager to continue. I remembered the movie that was based on this book being one of my favourites - I had high hopes.

          Short Synopsis...
          Harry Potter has survived death three times in his young life. Now aged thirteen he believes he has seen an omen that predicts death for the observer - predictions by a medium at Hogwarts repeatedly confirm this fear, though he does take those misty predictions with a pinch of salt. The sight of a black, menacing, dog is not as easy to brush off. Add to that the news of a dangerous murderer who was allied with Harry's deadly enemy - The Dark Lord Voldemort - and he will need to watch his back. Life at Hogwarts will be restrictive for all until Sirius Black is captured and this includes a host of grim reaper style prison guards, known as Dementors, manning the outskirts of the castle. Harry is embarrassed when he is the only student to be horribly affected by the dememtors - his enemy, Malfoy, delights in this revelation and enjoys taunting him at every opportunity. Can Harry maintain composure and make the right choices in a race against time, whilst at the same time trying to stay alive?

          Sirius Black.....
          The prose begins with life at the Dursley's (Harry's reluctant Aunt and Uncle) and once again there are some classic moments to enjoy. Uncle Vernon has his sister, Marge, coming to stay and she dislikes Harry every bit as much - if not more - as Vernon, Petunia and Dudley. Even though I feel desperately sorry for Harry being an outcast in this 'larger than life' family I cannot help but laugh at the developments when Marge arrives. I thought Vernon was bad but Marge is venomous - she insists on Harry being present at all times so that she can degrade and ridicule him. I know he has bargained with Vernon prior to her arrival and part of the deal was him not putting a foot wrong and definitely no use of magic! Harry was biting his tongue and doing anything he could in order to remain calm. Marge kept going at him and I felt so sorry for him. The visualisation was easy as Rowling had given good description of the podgy family members and the skinny frame of Aunt Petunia as they sat around the small kitchen table. This cumbersome woman, Marge, was now intoxicated with alcohol and the abuse continued. This is not a pleasant woman that much is perfectly clear. But she will go too far when she touches on something very dear to Harry. No more Mr nice guy! What a climax to the summer at the Dursley's! I enjoyed it so much that I know I will reread this one in the future.

          Harry is now thirteen years old and on the run. He has seen something in the shadows that at first intrigues him but then scares him half to death. He has done it now, blown his future at Hogwarts. He is alone. It is dark. He is homeless. The book has my attention as I want to know how Harry is going to get out of this scrape and want him safe. I wonder if Ron or Hermione will come to his rescue but as they are both on holidays I don't hold my breath.

          Much to Harry's surprise he is not expelled for his impulsive actions at the Dursley's and he finds it odd that he is not even reprimanded? I too find this odd and soon find out why. The Ministry of Magic is concerned about the boy's safety as it is discovered that a murderer - Sirius Black - has escaped Azkaban. Sirius Black sounds very intriguing and it is early in the prose that my concerns for Harry are raised. This Black character was in league with 'you know who' (The Dark Lord Voldemort).

          The prose is off to a very good start. I find Rowling's writing style very comforting and easy to read, everything flows well and I never find myself rereading in order to understand. I like the way that Harry is developing. I can see the immature and reckless side to his nature and he cannot hold his temper when the buttons are pressed, but he is maturing. He is brave and compassionate. I like him and care what happens to him. I think there is a lot more to discover about Harry and I want to find out what that is.


          Once back at Hogwarts, and in the company of Ron and Hermione, Harry comes into his own. There is a noticeable difference in his personality. This is the place where Harry Potter can be himself and I can see the confidence begin to show again. He is excited and passionate about the whole experience of this school - well apart from when he is in the company of Professor Snape. Snape is a wonderful character and I want to know why he dislikes Harry so much. He oozes nastiness and the way he is described conjures up a horrible image effortlessly. I love that he is in the prose as, along with Draco Malfoy, he offers challenges and conflict to Harry. We get to see Harry reacting under pressure when the bad guys provoke him. I cannot wait to see if Harry will do combat with Snape or Malfoy. It is on the cards I think.

          I am delighted to find Hagrid promoted to teacher and the introduction of the Hippogriff (half horse and half griffin) is perfect. He is teaching the young wizards and witches all about dangerous creatures and even though hippogriffs are deemed dangerous they can be allies if treated with utmost respect. Hagrid is one of my favourite characters. He is big and bombastic but he has a massive heart and he loves his creatures. He loves monsters! This endears him all the more to me. Harry will earn the respect of Buckbeak, a hippogriff, much to Malfoy's disgust. Malfoy is a nasty little boy and is growing more malicious and spiteful. He hates Harry Potter and he hates Hagrid. Why? I think he just dislikes anyone who is kind hearted. If he can get Hagrid into trouble and Harry expelled then he will be a very happy boy indeed - he just needs to keep trying! He is tenacious; you have to give him that. The inclusion of Buckbeak makes this book my favourite so far. I fell for him and cared about him immediately. I was concerned about him when I discovered Malfoy had a dirty trick up his sleeve. I fear the hippogriff is in grave danger and I have to find out what happens. I will be most upset if he is harmed.

          The Ron and Hermione relationship thing is so much more evident to me in the books than the films. I really didn't see the little hints at these two 'liking' each other. It is so obvious to me in the books. I have to say that I am getting so much more from the books and I am involved with all of the characters so much that I know I have to read all the books now to see what happens. I could take or leave the films, though I'm looking forward to seeing them again now that I have read the books.

          Ron is a most likeable young man, though he can bear a grudge when it suits him. This makes him all the more believable and as it is Hermione who he is bearing his grudge against, because of her new cat frightening his pet rat, it makes the 'love/hate' part of the relationship clearer. He can be a little thoughtless at times but at age 13 it is part of growing up and once again I find it believable and at times funny. Hermione is so serious and studious. She is a perfectionist and fears failure, therefore the pressure is massive. I feel so sorry for her at times. She can be a madam when she wants to be but her intentions are always good and she has the backbone to do what she thinks is right even though it means that her friends will be angry with her and snub her till they discover the truth. Hermione is a strong willed and powerful female character and that is the kind that I like - she can take care of herself and take part in any trouble rather than being a weak female that needs picking up every times she falls - as weak females tend to do when being chased.

          And who is Sirius Black? He is a fabulously mysterious, dangerous wizard. He murdered muggles (non magical humans) without a thought and has come to kill Harry Potter. It is all over the papers and he is getting closer. The castle is guarded by dementors who will seize Black on sight and return him to Azkaban. I found the dementors a fascinating piece of fantasy - Rowling has created a creature which frightens though intrigues at the same time. The whole concept of them sucking the happiness and joy out of prisoners - rendering them empty and lifeless - was unique and clever. Dementors create an air of danger throughout the book and Harry is affected badly by them so every time he is near one I am captivated by the experience. Harry will have lessons from Professor Lupin to try and protect himself from their influence and he develops an interesting relationship with this man. I am wondering if Lupin is working with Black as he seems distracted at times and I just get the feeling that something is not right about him......later on I will discover that my intuition was on target, but am I right?

          The exhilaration of Quidditch - the fabulous ball game played on broomsticks - runs throughout the prose and of course there are some hair raising scenes once again. Harry always seems to attract trouble in those matches but it is great, fast paced, reading and the pages turn quickly.

          The plot line is creative and masterful. I would say that without a doubt this is my favourite so far. There is mystery, danger, betrayal and revelations. The introduction of Sirius Black was exciting - he is in the background menacing throughout and I wonder if he has allies within the castle. Black sounds lethal and if he escaped from Azkaban then he is capable of anything. What he has done in the past surprised me and in the final, fast paced, pages of this book I experienced a range of emotions. The best of the lot was when Harry was collected at the station by his unlovely Uncle Vernon and gave him some disturbing news - absolute class!

          Sourcing and price....
          The RRP is £5.99 and you can buy from most good bookstores. Search online for more competitive prices - amazon.co.uk being a good place to start. www.bookbutler.co.uk will compare all online sellers for you.

          Star rating....
          FIVE

          Recommended reading.....
          This third instalment of Rowling's Harry Potter series is my favourite up to now. It is an emotive one as it has an appealing creature that will tug at the heartstrings. Harry is thirteen and growing up quickly - he is on the hit list of a murderer who has escaped Azkaban; this doesn't stop him placing himself in danger though. Sirius Black is lurking behind every page it seems and Harry would be wise to watch his back. Ron and Hermione clash big time over their pets, Ron's rat Scabbers will disappear and his discovery brings surprises. The plot runs clean and smooth, no rough edges in this prose - it seems perfect. Hagrid nestles himself deeper into my heart - his character is just wonderful. The final pages are stunning - fast paced and captivating. I was totally absorbed in the outcome and it was entirely satisfying. I now care about all the main protagonists in this series and I am eager to continue the journey. A masterful piece of work, which was a joy to read.

          Published on Ciao
          © Dawnymarie

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            06.09.2011 14:49
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            Book number 3, a firm favourite for me!

            Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third in the series (not quite half way through yet I'm afraid). For some reason I always want to skip the first two books, or at least try and read them ridiculously quickly to get to this book. I wouldn't say it is my favourite of the series, but then again I don't think I have any favourites. This is just, in my opinion, better than some of the others in the series.

            So. Harry Potter is a boy who grew up not knowing that he was a wizard, or even that he was a famous wizard as he survived an attack by a dark wizard named Voldemort, and managed to severely weaken him in the process. His first two years at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry were pretty normal - he made friends (Ron & Hermione), he made enemies (Malfoy), attended potions, charms and other lessons, had run ins with ghosts and a few other creatures that were thought to be mythical. Oh, and he encountered Voldemort twice, and defeated him twice, adding to his fame. In prisoner of Azkaban Harry hopes that his year may not involve Voldemort and he can just concentrate on not failing Potions. However when a dangerous prisoner escapes from Azkaban (the Wizards prison) which is something that has never been done before, trouble looms. He is obsessed with both Harry and returning to his master, Voldemort; Harry's year may not be as quiet as he hoped.

            One thing I love about this book is that you get to explore of the Wizard's world; although Diagon Alley (the shopping street for Wizard's in London) has been introduced before, in the Prisoner of Azkaban you get to spend a lot more time there, and learn a little about different wizards that work and live there. Also, the third years are allowed to visit the village of Hogsmeade - a wizarding village at the edge of Hogwarts - this means that we the reader gets to explore it too. Here more wonderful characters are introduced, and you get the idea of how wizards live together in a village. And it lets us see a little more magic - and magical items - and of course, a wizard sweet shop (I'd love for that to be real!). JK Rowling has used this book to open up the wizarding world and let us see and imagine what it'd be like to be a part of it.

            I feel that is the book when the story begins to get dark. It sets the beginning of the story which is continued right until the end of the seventh book. Whereas the other two books once finished could be classed as stand-alone, Prisoner of Azkaban ends with the beginning of a bit of a 'problem' for Harry - but that's all I can say. Only those with severe self-control (or disinterest) can walk away from the series when they read this one. Besides anything, there is the promise of learning even more about the wizarding world, as well as Harry and his parents past. I love that sort of thing as it makes the world I'm reading about seem even more real, and I can get really involved in it, and even feel like I'm a part of it.

            Even though the story seems a little darker than the previous two, it is still suitable for little ones (then again, if they can deal with Unicorns, giant spiders and snakes, they'll be fine with this one!). Everything is getting further developed - the story, the characters, and the background. The book is still a little small for my taste - I get going and then it's over before I'm ready to leave. But unlike several books I've been reading lately, the story is well-paced: it doesn't feel like there is a rush at the end to reach the climax of the story and not enough time to finish off the story - the whole thing feels well-timed and the climax is reached without having to rush through it, and with enough time for any explanations needed at the end, without leaving you feeling cheated a little. It is in this book that two of my favourite characters are introduced. Unfortunalty I can't tell you much without giving away the story, but one is a teacher named Professor Lupin, and the other is another adult from the wizarding world. These characters are slightly different to those we have already seen; a little more fun or reckless than some of the other adults, and with storylines that will interest and surprise.


            Prisoner of Azkaban was an absolutely brilliant read - and it still has the ability to make me jump, even though I've read it numerous times over the years! As with all the Harry Potter books, I think this is suitable for both children and adults - there are little jokes or references that will amuse both, and I really think the storyline is enough to keep both entertained. Or I could think that because I have read this book as I've grown up, and I can't see that changing the further I get into adulthood!

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            19.12.2010 20:14

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            Year 3 of Harry and friends exciting adventures

            This is the third book in the Harry Potter series and in my opinion it is the best yet. Compared to the earlier books this one is longer, darker and more absorbing.

            This time Harry returns to Hogwarts with the knowledge that Sirius Black, the infamous murderer, has escaped from prison and is after him. Once again Harry and his friends embark on another year of magical education with mystery and adventure never far away.

            As well as Sirius, there are several other new characters including Professor Lupin, Professor Trelawney and the Dementors. As well as the main plot there are also some different subplots involving new school subjects and trips into the village of Hogsmeade which gives J.K. Rowling the change to expand her magical world still further. Unlike the previous two books this book does not really add much to the Voldermort story directly but we do find out some more about Harry's dad and his time at Hogwarts, while we also see the first real signs that there may be something more than friendship between Ron and Hermione

            This book is exciting and a definite page-turner. The writing is as funny, clever and descriptive as ever, and as the magical world expands we also get to know existing characters even better. This is a must for existing Harry Potter fans and for those who do not yet consider themselves fans, this may be the book that changes that.

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            29.09.2010 07:29
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            See review.

            After reading the first two in the "Harry Potter" range of books and becoming addicted to them as I have done with the films, I practically fell on the next book in the series....well that and the fact my daughter is now reading them and is in danger of getting to this before me!

            The book I will now review is - "Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling".

            This book (as with the previous ones) starts just before a new term starts at the Hogwarts, school of magic.

            Young wizard Harry is staying with his very reluctant relatives the Dursleys, since his parents deaths when he was a baby, although details of their death are not as he was once led to believe, with them being killed by "you-know-who" and not in a car crash (you know who is a very powerful and bad wizard, whose name shall not be spoken in fear of retribution!).

            After a particularly nasty incident with his Uncle Vernon's horrible sister Marge, he ends up being escorted back to Diagon Alley (the wizard version of an Asda complex, you can buy almost anything magical there!) just before term starts, where he starts hearing about an escaped convict from Azkaban (wizard prison) called Sirius Black.

            Things take a sinister turn when Harry gets the distinct impression the ministry of magic are not telling him everything, and when he over hears a conversation he realises that Sirius may have a couple of crimes too close to home under his belt.

            Will Harry find out the truth of his parents murders, or will the past come back and finish the legend?

            This book again was a joy to read, though it seems to be the start of the series becoming a little darker in content, with a bit more murderous intent involved.

            There are the old favourite characters returned in this book, with a few newbie's, Professor Lupin being one of my favourites due to what affliction he suffers with, though I shall not spoil the surprise due to it being an integral part of this book!

            There is the usual mix of teenage angst and magic, which I find as enjoyable to read as many teenagers would, though as I mentioned earlier my 9 year old daughter is reading the series now, and she can't get through them quick enough, though my sister has warned me they do get a bit darker in content further on in the series, so I will have to read them before her to ascertain whether suitable or not, though this one is ideal in my opinion.

            I will say, that as enjoyable as this book was, I did find it a bit slow at the end where certain events are to be re-written ( that is as much as I can say!), with the same parts having to be recovered again, but this only lasted a chapter so not too much of a drag for me.

            Price wise this book is available from www.amazon.co.uk for around the price of £1.50.

            This was a good read, that even though it dragged in that on mentioned chapter, still was a joy, recommended!

            Thanks for reading x

            ISBN 0-7475-7449-9

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              20.08.2010 10:52
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              The best so far - richly entertaining and imaginative story

              I have to say upfront that this is easily my favourite of the Harry Potter books, so this review is likely to be extremely biased but I shall try to remain objective! Harry is in his third year at Hogwarts, and the big news is the escape of Sirius Black from Azkaban prison, a dangerous and deadly wizard. Harry learns that, for some reason, Sirius is after him. Due to the increased security at Hogwarts, Dumbledore has reluctantly allowed the Dementors - ghostly cloaked beings that suck the happiness from a person's soul and eventually drive them mad - to guard the castle. The book uncovers the mystery of who Black is and why he is so keen to find Harry at Hogwarts, while also dealing with the regular shenanigans of a Hogwarts school year.

              This book is where Rowling tightens up her act, in my opinion. The plot is excellently written with not too many of the loopholes that characterised the earlier two books. The use of the Time Turner was not too much of a McGuffin, especially since Hermione had been using it already during the school year. It was sleek and not too long, a fault of her later books. I enjoy reading Harry Potter books, but the later books definitely suffer from being longer than a few hundred pages. Here Rowling is forced to be efficient with her story, and it is all the more effective for it.

              By now the wizarding world is firmly established, but Rowling still manages to spice up the book with many lovely little details. We hear more about the lessons taken by the children, and some new classes are introduced, such as Care of Magical Creatures and Divination. Some of the little details are my very favourite moments in the book, such as when Hermione achieves over three hundred percent in her Muggle Studies class. I also love the throwaway line from during Ron and Harry's Charms exam: "Hermione had been right; Professor Flitwick did indeed test them on Cheering Charms. Harry slightly overdid his out of nerves and Ron, who was partnering him, ended up in fits of hysterical laughter and had to be led away to a quiet room for an hour before he was ready to perfom the Charm himself." This always makes me giggle.

              The village of Hogsmeade is another charming addition to Hogwarts, what with the sweet shop and the pub serving Butterbeer (which sounds delicious!). I do wonder at the fact that Hogsmeade has never been mentioned in two previous books though! Sometimes Rowling decides to add in features that have never cropped up previously and it can be a little jarring.

              And she does love the big reveal! Here we have Sirius and Lupin going over the events of twelve years ago AND covering some of their school days, including why Snape hates them so, in a long dialogue-heavy section. I feel that this could have been spread out across the book in a better way, so that it didn't come across as much as an explanation to bring us (the reader) up to speed.

              There were some wonderful new characters, such as Professor Lupin - I have always wished that he could have continued as the Defence of the Dark Arts teacher. However, I did not like Professor Trelawny much at all - the scenes in her classroom were dull and dragged for me.

              Finally, I would comment on the fact that Rowling cannot seem to write an exciting Quidditch match - they all seem to be Lee Jordan commenting on players throwing the ball to each other, and then Harry catches the Snitch in some weird and wonderful way. Mind, I don't think it would be easy to write an interesting football or rugby match into a novel either - they are just too dynamic for the written word.

              These are very minor niggles. In my view this is a richly entertaining and imaginative story, in which the main characters really develop. I appreciated the strong plotline. I cannot wait to read the next one!

              This review has been posted to Floor to Ceiling Books

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                16.08.2010 19:59
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                A great read for fans of the series

                Upon learning of the Harry Potter series entering the BBC's Top One Hundred Books list, I finally admitted defeat: there was simply no way to escape J K Rowling's phenomenal influence over children's literature. I read and enjoyed The Philosopher's Stone, was enthralled by The Chamber of Secrets, but felt slightly disappointed by The Prisoner of Azkaban. That's not to say it's a bad book - far from it, simply that it lacked some of the sparkle (and humour) of its predecessors.

                The story follows thirteen-year old Harry as he prepares (and looks forward to) his third year at wizarding school Hogwarts. Upon arrival he learns that a mass murderer, partly responsible for his parents' demise, has escaped from the high-security prison of Azkaban. Sirius Black is the name of the criminal, and as a further twist to the tale it emerges that he was Harry's father's best friend, and also appointed godfather to the young wizard. Although the book is slightly darker than the first two, it is no less entertaining: what with the resignation of Professor Lockhart the previous year, the students of Hogwarts find themselves with a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher - Professor Lupin. Harry also feels the presence of the sinister Azkaban guards - the Dementors - who feed on people's positive emotions. On a lighter note, Ron's brothers Fred and George are incredibly amusing, and causing as much mischief as ever before. They even give Harry a gift, the Marauder's Map, which depicts a series of secret tunnels leading out of the school.

                One of my favoutite characters in the book is Sir Cadogan. Like many of the figures in the paintings around Hogwarts, Sir Cadogan is free to move around from picture to picture. He is keen to prove himself a hero, and enthusiastically challenges everyone that crosses his path to a duel. Ron is quick to label this sort of behaviour 'mental,' and refuses the knight's request. There are many inventive new ideas and features introduced to the reader. The Knight Bus, for example, suddenly materialises when Harry is in trouble, with the offer of transporting him to any place he wishes to visit. Similarly, the Boggart is a shape-changing creature with the ability to assume the identity of its opponent's greatest fear.

                Professor Snape has a larger role this time around, as more information about Harry's past emerges. All in all, I greatly enjoyed reading The Prisoner of Azkaban and with its array of colourful and often comical characters, it was a pleasant way to pass the time. However, I didn't feel it was up to the high standard of my personal favourite in the series - The Chamber of Secrets. It's a highly entertaining book, nonetheless.




                *First published on Amazon.co.uk*

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                  06.06.2010 15:16
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                  definitely recommend. read as part of the whole series

                  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series, and sees Harry through his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

                  Unlike most children his age, Harry can't wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. But then Harry isn't like most children his age, because Harry's school is Hogwarts and Harry is a wizard.
                  In the third installment to the Harry Potter series the atmosphere at Hogwarts is tense, as there has just been a breakout from Azkaban - this is the prison where witches and wizards go to. Now there is a mass murderer on the loose and the terrifying prison guards, the Dementors, have been called in to guard Harry's school.

                  When Harry was a baby, his parents were killed trying to protect him from the most evil wizard in the magical word; Voldermort. And ever since Voldermort has been trying to hunt Harry down as he wants him dead. He sees the fact he couldn't kill Harry the first time as an embarrassment. Somehow the young boy keeps defeating him and in each book we see our young hero Harry fighting againt Voldermort.

                  There is so much that happens in this book. Harry meets up with god-father, which is a very special occasion for Harry because he has really got no other family left, apart from the Dursleys, but they don't count because they had never liked him. He meets up with his late father's four best friends, which brings along a series of events including becoming friends with a werewolf and obtaining a special secret map, the Marauders Map.

                  I definitely recommend this book. It is only 1p from Amazon so I think it is more than definitely worth buying. It really is unputdownable and will have you hooked from the minute you pick it up, just like the whole series does.

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                    03.06.2010 11:18
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                    A fantastic read.

                    Wow. What can I say about this amazing novel? This book is where the series really takes off - everything from here on in is so exciting and captivating. From the third book until the end of the seventh is really one big long novel, and if my memory serves me correctly, it was after the Prisoner of Azkaban came out that the Potter Mania really started - everyone was counting down the days until the next book to find out what happened next in the story.

                    I remember buying this book as an eight-year-old. I didn't put it down until I had finished it. I, like most other readers, I'm sure, joined in Harry's triumphs, his losses, his adventures, his fear. The first of many huge Potter plot twists happens towards the end of this novel, and it is executed brilliantly. Harry discovers many things about himself in Prisoner of Azkaban, and so do we, the readers.

                    The book really highlights Harry's unique position in his world as a part-time resident of both the wizarding world and the muggle world - he finds out about Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner, on the muggle news, only later realising Black is actually a wizard who has escaped from Azkaban. The book follows the changes that happen at Hogwarts as a result of the escaped prisoner, and the frustration Harry feels at how everyone is trying to keep him safe without really telling him very much.

                    The dementors, a new presence in this book, are brilliantly described, as are their effects.

                    Rowling's captivating writing style is unmatched, and she brilliantly paints characters of not only humans, but also magical creatures. The Weasley family feature very prominently in Prisoner of Azkaban, and they really are a very likeable and interesting family. This book is impossible to put down - the whole series is! If you have not read the Harry Potter books, please, do yourself a favour. Get them RIGHT NOW!

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                      18.04.2010 20:59
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                      see review

                      I first got into the world of Harry potter by watching The philosophers stone when it was released on dvd, I loved it and had to watch it a fair few times.

                      My friend had read the books and knowing that I adore reading, had recommended that I read the rest of the books before I watch the other movies that were due to come out as they were full with so much detail that the films miss out.

                      So I bought the first two books and if you have read my previous reviews you will know that I loved them.

                      So when I bought this book I couldn't wait to get stuck in.

                      The plot: Harry is just about to start his third year at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardery, when he is told that a mass murderer, Sirius black has escaped the wizarding prison of Azkaban.

                      The wizarding world believes that Sirius is a big supporter of Lord Voldermort, the most dangerous wizard of all time, who was defeated by Harry when he was a baby.

                      Convinced that Sirius has escaped from Azkaban to get revenge on the boy who defeated his master, Harry has to promise to keep himself out of trouble this year and must stay within the school for the duration of the year.

                      However Harry and his two best friends, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger have a habit of getting mixed up with all things dangerous and nothing is more dangerous than the Dementors, (guards to Azkaban prison).

                      The dementors suck all of the happiness out of the people that they encounter and as Harry has a terrible past he seems to be affected the most by them.

                      Harry is about to have another year full of adventure and some of the secrets from his past are about to be brought to the surface and solved once and for all.

                      This book did not dissapoint one little bit, it is a bit darker than the other two books but for the story to move forward I think it's nesscesary for that to happen.

                      The Author J.K. Rowling has such a detailed way of describing Harry's world it really makes it easy for you to imagine the world yourself.

                      I still love the all the old characters, (even Snape) but I also love the new characters that are introduced to the story.

                      Remus Lupin, I think is a brilliant character and I like the fact that he's in the books that come after this one.

                      Another thing I loved about this book is that it reveals more of Harry's past and goes into more depth about his parents that tragically died at the hands of Lord Voldermort in order to protect their son.

                      It did make me cry at some points as certain things are revealed near the end of the book that are surprising, but once again the ending is heart-warming.

                      I have to say that I have really enjoyed reading the Harry potter books and will keep them to hopefully pass on to my future children as I think they are the sort of books that will withstand the test of time and in a hundred years I hope people are still ranting on about how wonderful these books are.

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                        11.03.2010 19:28
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                        Great simply great

                        Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban is J.K. Rowling's third book in an enchanting world of the young wizard, Harry Potter. While the series is primarily aimed at the younger audience, there is enough here to interest more mature readers as well. Rowling delights the reader with the wonders of magic. Yet at the same time, she exposes the very real darkness that plague us in our everyday lives - greed, fear,evil and betrayal.

                        The book starts once again with Harry counting down the hours until he can return to the world of witchcraft and wizadry. But this time he is plagued by fears of death, omens and impending doom. This progresses and mysterys are revealed and redoubled as the book continues.

                        Rowling has once again captured audiences with her implausible writing skills this is the kind of book different generations can connect on and share in and can be passed through the family for all to share and enjoy something I full well plan to do. In this third book we are not only treated to the magical world but also the ordinary one, that we can be more at terms with as we see Harry begin his journey through adolesence as well as magic. We witness the characters mature and jump to life of the page.

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                          25.02.2010 20:53
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                          Third in the Harry Potter series.

                          **Blurb** (from the back of the book)

                          "Harry Potter, along with his friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can't wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn't if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There's an escaped mass murderer on the the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school."

                          **Plot** (minor spoilers)

                          The plot of The Prisoner of Azkaban is perhaps the most complex, and has the potential to be relatively confusing. However JKR's writing style keeps it on the side of understandable, and the story is wonderful. The book opens with Harry at the Dursley's, however this year there is an extra family member amongst them: Vernon's rotund sister, Aunt Marge. She's absolutely detestable, and Harry seems to think so too - he blows her up like a balloon through accidental magic. Whilst this proposes a very funny minds-image, it is disasterous for Harry, and he needs to get away. Cue the magical Knight Bus, a three story purple bus that transports witches and wizards from place to place. It is whilst on the Knight Bus that Harry learns of the menacing Sirius Black: an escaped convict from the Wizarding prison Azkaban. The Knight Bus deposits Harry at The Leaky Cauldron, the wizarding pub that provides a gateway to Diagon Alley.

                          A few days later in terms of the story, Harry meets up again with friends Ron and Hermione, and the rest of the Weasley family. They spend a little time at The Leaky Cauldron and in Diagon Alley, before heading to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at Kings Cross Station for the ride back to school. Never far from trouble, The Hogwarts Express soon becomes the victim of an attack by Dementors, strange hooded creatures that provoke in Harry an extreme reaction of fear and fainting. Luckily, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teach Remus Lupin is on hand to send them away and revive our hero.

                          The school year begins, and at first it seems that there's not going to be anything to prevent Harry from behaving like a normal thirteen year old boy. However, it soon becomes apparant that Sirius Black is more of a danger than expected, when it is discovered that he has found his way into the castle. The school is put on high alert, and dementors are stationed at all of the exits.

                          One aspect of the new school year that Harry looks like he'll miss out on are the visits to Hogsmeade, the nearby wizarding village. However, with the help of Fred and George Weasley, a twenty-year old bit of parchment and Harry's invisibility cloak, he manages to find his way into Hogsmeade where he learns a devastating secret. It is this secret that advances the plot, and as the school year goes on, Harry cannot stop thinking about it. Interwoven with this secret, is the plot of Buckbeak the Hippogriff, doomed to execution at the hands of Lucius Malfoy. It is here that things may start to get confusing: time travel, escaped convicts and werewolves, oh my! I won't attempt to go into what happens at the end of the book, as you'll want to experience it for yourself. Plus, trying to explain it would get confusing!

                          Don't be fooled though, the way JK Rowling writes the time travel and the potential paradoxes is not at all befuddling, though you need to pay attention as some very important plot points and secrets are revealed at this point. This book is wonderful, and a thrilling ride from start to finish. The entire series is smattered with foreshadowing and clues to further books, and there is a lot here as well. Things that may seem trivial at this point are shown as very important later on, and in my opinion this ability to hide clues throughout that truly shows how great of a writer JK Rowling is.

                          **Characters**

                          Lots of lovely new characters in The Prisoner of Azkaban! The first is Professor Remus J. Lupin, the kindly new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. He proves instantly popular with his students, and you're sure to love him as well. One-fourth of the old Marauder gang, Lupin has a secret. He's one of the characters that is widely loved in the Harry Potter fandom, and it isn't difficult to see why.

                          The escaped convict Sirius Black also plays a huge role, and whilst at first we consider him to be the 'baddy', it is later revealed that he is anything but. An old friend of Harry's Dad's, Sirius Black has to try and get Harry to trust him. Sirius is another of the characters who is widely loved throughout fandom, perhaps for his 'bad boy' personality, or his reported good looks.

                          Then there's Cho Chang, who we see inspiring romantic thoughts in Harry's mind. She is not a favourite of mine, and doesn't really do all that much in this book, so I'll leave it there.

                          Finally, there's Peter Pettigrew, who completes the surviving Marauders. He too has a secret, and is shown to be a whimpering, snivelling, cowardly traitor. In case you can't tell, I don't much like this character and my sentiments are shared and amplified by Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius and Remus.

                          **Book Details**

                          Pages: 320
                          Author: JK Rowling
                          Price: £5.99 (RRP)

                          **Overall**

                          Knocked off the top spot of my favourite Harry Potter book by the sixth, Prisoner of Azkaban still remains pretty high in the list. I love, love, love the plot of this book, as we're introduced to the Marauder backstory and finally find out some of the history of Harry's parents. Rowling's writing is wonderful, as always, and she handles the quite complex theme of time travel admirably. A great third book!

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                            23.11.2009 00:46
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                            Keep reading!

                            Harry Potter faces a much darker year at Hogwarts this year.

                            He is told that the crazed lunatic on the run in the muggle world, Sirius Black is personally responsible for shopping his parents in to Lord Voldemort, causing their death.
                            Harry gets into a spot of bother at the beginning of the book with his vile aunt marge (I wont ruin this for any potential readers- it is hilarious), and is forced to go on the run from his family.

                            After returning to Hogwarts, he begins his new lessons for the year, this is incredibly entertaining as there are so many new spells, lessons and teachers which keep the story really interesting, as well as the fact that Hermione keeps disappearing and acting oddly, what has gotten into her?

                            He doesn't have much time to think about this though, with everyone sure that Sirius Black is coming after Harry and his divination teacher constantly predicting his death (Much to Ron and Hermione's sniggers) and trying to keep up with his school work, and keep out of trouble Harry has a lot to think about.

                            He sneaks into the small town of Hogsmeade with his class mates (he could not get a permission slip signed by his aunt and uncle due to the aunt marge incident) under his invisibility cloak, where he learns a terrible secret about his past.

                            Although when Harry comes face to face with Sirius Black in the shrieking shack, he learns that perhaps everything he has been told is not quite what it seems, perhaps Sirius didn't betray his parents at all?

                            The only proof that they have of Sirius's innocence escapes, but Harry knows that only Dumbledore will believe his story, this is proven and only thanks to a midnight flee and the new subject matter to the Harry Potter series of time travel will help them.

                            This story is very emotional in parts as a lot of it relates back to the death of Harry's parents, and Harry almost escapes a life at the Dursleys once and for all, there is also a scene where Harry is absolutely certain he saw his father, although he knows that this is impossible.

                            With such confusing times and so many questions left unanswered, will Harry ever get to the bottom of why and how his parents were murdered, as well as who was in cahoots with Voldemort which caused the death of his parents?

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                        • Product Details

                          Winner of the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award. Third in the Harry Potter series.