• Book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Author: J.K. Rowling
  • Genre: Fiction (Modern Literature)
  • Year of Release: 2003
  • Read 766-page hardcover edition in July 2013.

Book Description: Before returning to Hogwarts for his fifth year, Harry Potter encounters a serious problem while spending another dreary summer with his Dursley relatives.  His cousin Dudley and him are attacked by Dementors, and in his usage of magic to defend them, he is brought to the Ministry of Magic to face charges of using magic outside of school.  The Ministry seems different than it did int he past, and it is only thanks to Dumbledore’s intervention that Harry is saved from serious trouble.  But things don’t calm down when he arrives at Hogwarts.  Harry is having trouble with seeing visions that are troubling him, and he and the other students have to deal with a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Dolores Umbridge, who is also the eyes and ears of the Ministry of Magic, who continues to deny that Voldemort is indeed alive, well, and trying to gain more power and control.  As Harry works through all these challenges and tries to find some answers from an evasive Dumbledore, he knows that things are coming to a head, and that a showdown with Voldemort and his Death Eaters is only a question of when, not if.

Book Review: Like the last book in the series, Rowling has done an exceptional job of expanding the level of detail in the narrative of this book.  Without giving away a spoiler, one can safely say the closing scenes of this book are probably the most intense and action-oriented of the series thus far.  Being the largest book in the series, this novel has copious amounts of action, suspense, and drama between characters of good and evil built into it.  In addition, this novel begins to make one question a lot of characters, and whether there are motivations are truly good or sinister.  Seeing Harry and Hermione, and to a lesser extent Ron, build into true leadership stars is a great source of character development by Rowling.  The romance continues to blossom in this novel, and again Rowling does a nice job of incorporating it to just the right degree for a novel that has focus on other, larger issues.  We also get introduced to another assortment of interesting new characters, both good and bad, and although some of them are a little bit lacking in complexity, the presence of standard characters from previous novels who continue to add depth and question the readers allows us to enjoy the telling of the plot with a lot of questions in our minds about true motivations.  Overall, this novel does a great job in all areas, and really helps us to see the plot expand beyond the traditional Hogwarts borders, into a larger scale.  This book is successful as an action tale in its own right, but also at setting the stage for some larger-scope stories to come.

Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5.