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Prisoner Of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Book 3 - J.K. Rowling
Member Name: dawnymarie
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Book 3 - J.K. Rowling
Advantages: Absorbing adventure that introduces the mysterious Sirius Black
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.
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?
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.
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
Summary: My favourite in the series so far