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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Paperback – September 11, 2001
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For most children, summer vacation is something to look forward to. But not for our 13-year-old hero, who's forced to spend his summers with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who detest him. The third book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series catapults into action when the young wizard "accidentally" causes the Dursleys' dreadful visitor Aunt Marge to inflate like a monstrous balloon and drift up to the ceiling. Fearing punishment from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon (and from officials at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who strictly forbid students to cast spells in the nonmagic world of Muggles), Harry lunges out into the darkness with his heavy trunk and his owl Hedwig.
As it turns out, Harry isn't punished at all for his errant wizardry. Instead he is mysteriously rescued from his Muggle neighborhood and whisked off in a triple-decker, violently purple bus to spend the remaining weeks of summer in a friendly inn called the Leaky Cauldron. What Harry has to face as he begins his third year at Hogwarts explains why the officials let him off easily. It seems that Sirius Black--an escaped convict from the prison of Azkaban--is on the loose. Not only that, but he's after Harry Potter. But why? And why do the Dementors, the guards hired to protect him, chill Harry's very heart when others are unaffected? Once again, Rowling has created a mystery that will have children and adults cheering, not to mention standing in line for her next book. Fortunately, there are four more in the works. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
In this third installment in the projected seven-volume series, Sirius Black, imprisoned for killing 13 people with one curse, escapes from Azkaban. As he heads for Hogwarts, the chilling Dementors who trail him quickly descend upon the school. "Each successive volume expands upon its predecessor with dizzyingly well-planned plots and inventive surprises," said PW in a Best Books of 2001 citation. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
I didn't want to put it down as there kept being surprises & suspense. I recommend this book to anyone liking the idea of magic & supernatural as part of a storyline. The characters definitely hold the reader's interest.And they continue to grow in depth. So now, I'm going to get the4th novel in the series of Harry Potterg novel
In addition, there are some great lines in this book:
p. 381: Her voice was now so shrill only bats would be able to hear it soon.
p. 388: Harry felt like the only non-mourner at a poorly attended funeral.
p. 718: Those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.
Many will quickly read through this book in a "few" hours. I suggest you do NOT. Read it slowly & savor it. Experience the slow parts with patience--they may be trying to teach you something--& the violence with compassion. The world is the way the world is, not the way we want it to be, and to change yourself is to change the world. Have a great read!
4 stars - A fairly satisfying ending to the Dark Lord / Harry Potter saga -- the ending is a bit weak, slightly cliched and a lot of dead cool characters.
Harry controls the final confrontation with the Dark Lord yet gives the Dark Lord a way out (why?). The Dark Lord's insanity combined with meglomania is his downfall not Harry Potter. It is a cheapening of what one expected from Harry Potter.
The search for the Horcruxes is only really possible due to Hermiene's knowledge of magic and magical skills. Harry does show much character and pushes for understanding the Deathly Hallows but really it is more a plot device than anything else. The Dark Lord is blinded by power (searching for the Elder Wand) when he should be finishing off the opposition with the ruthlessness of hardened, paranoid war lord.
The great losses by the forces of good seem to be trivialized by the epilogue. I was looking for some type of memorial / recognition of the sacrifices made. The life as usual with the references of respect by naming of the various children is touching but not enough.
The deaths of main characters "off-screen" is disappointing and cheapens their loss. Frankly, I cared much more about the characters that died off-screen than the potential loss of Harry's life. It is strange to think the side-characters were more important; I guess the sacrafice they were willing to make for a friend and the side of good is more compelling than Harry's battle with the Dark Lord.
The assault on Hogswort showed a tremendous amount of the internal qualities of the side characters than Harry. Harry raised the you can not do this as I will not have your death on my conscious non-sense again. Harry is clearly missing the point of friendship, trust, sacrafice and need to fight evil/darkness at all costs. Why does Ron and Hermiene have to be Harry's conscience all the time? The characters understand the risk but they also understand what is at stake -- please give them some credit!
Mrs. Weasley: She rocks! It was great to see her step up as it is hinted that she is a formittable witch in the other books.
Snape: He is one of the best characters in a very long time for me. He is very complex and well developed. I did not like how it was all tied back to silent love of a character that is barely developed. If you are going to tied up so much of your life for a lost love, the lost love should be developed in more detail.
Harry: The sudden rash of logistical ability to get the horcruxes is out of character for him. The sudden wisdom to appreciate what Dumbledore had setup is out of character and seems forced just to get the story to a conclusion. It is good that he finally accepts people for being able to think and work as a team (not guided by him).
The selflessness of Harry that the ability to turn down the Deathly Hallows is not done well as it conflicts with his selfness internal discussions. I appreciate that Harry is supposed to be the bright shining light of all that is good but the suddenness of being selfless does not quite work for me; it needed more development as I have found Harry to be very selfish in a lot of ways through out the series.
Ginny: She is a good character that deserves more development.
Dobbie: A good tie in here and lead up to the final battle. A way to turn an annoying character from early on into a real character.
The plot is pretty straight forward as it needs to resolve the Dark Lord vs. Harry situation...does the evil triumuph over good. The race between the Dark Lord and Harry's small group is reasonably well done. However, the Dark Lord would have realized the problem with the Elder Wand before the final showdown.
The Deathly Hallows is an interesting plot device but should have been mentioned in the prior books. It seems like it was added as a way to wrap up the series while the rest of the books show a clear well-developed back story. Note: this is a minor point given the level of complex back story JKR has developed for the other books.
The final assault is well done with good pacing. The "good" guys should really have been wiping out attackers more effectively as they would fight together better than typical one-on-one tactics of the Death Eaters...the concept of surpressing fire, area of effect spells and defensive casting would really have helped the good guys. Also, it is a war and killing the attackers is ok...war is hell!
The prose is on par with the other stories.
Overall: 4 stars
Characters: 3 to 3.5 stars
Plot: 3 stars
Action: 4 to 4.5 stars -- the assault is well done
Prose: 3 stars