Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cannonball Read: Harry Potter series

52.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

It's cute and imaginative. Funny, sweet and a breeze to read. Definitely the sort of thing that any kid would love. The characters are fun and varied, and though most fit into perfect black or white categories, there's enough darkness lurking in the book to make it smart and enjoyable for adults. Specially if you like fun little fish-out-of-water stories.

56. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This is my least favorite of the series. Partly because here is where Rowling starts with the pattern that becomes painfully repetitive pretty quickly. Harry is suspicious of something. Harry starts seeing or hearing things. No one believes him. So instead of telling someone who knows how things are (or who can do something about it), Harry decides to take matters into his (sometimes very stupid) hands and try to fix things by himself. So he does, he's extremely lucky and overcomes whatever evil shows up and then Dumbledore wraps things up nicely at the end. It works for this book, sort of, but the plot is really very silly and there is a lot of useless filler. It's still fun and light, but somewhat forgettable.

57. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Definitely my favorite of the series, plot-wise. Rowling takes what seems like a straightforward idea (escaped prisoner tries to kill Harry) and adds a nice amount of twists and turns so that at every turn there's a new surprise or unexpected turn of events. It's a lot of fun, with the revelations being pretty shocking and adding a great deal of depth to the series. And it breaks away from the formula quite nicely, even though the ending is rather infuriating. A great read.

64. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The best thing about this book is that it opens up Rowling's wizarding world to completely new depths. We get the Quidditch World Cup, the wizarding schools, the Yule Ball, the final, heartbreaking scenes. It's definitely a more mature entry, with the dangers to Harry becoming far more real, with death being a very real possibility to him. It's a very long book, but it never got boring. It's (as cliche as this sounds) action-packed from start to finish, and the final few chapters are truly exceptional in how tense and truly scary they are. I love to read these books in order and see how the books mature along with their audience, and Rowling starts to tweak her writing and tone to get far away from the sillyness and immaturity of the first books, while still keeping that young-adult vibe in her books.

67. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

A bit of a let-down, honestly. It's definitely the most frustrating book of all, with the the-world-against-Harry formula pulled out to an excruciating degree. Quite frankly, after Harry runs into his fourth or fifth obstacle, I just started getting angry at JK Rowling. Let the kid catch a break, for heaven's sake. It's a very uneven book, and unfortunately slow, specially when compared to the previous two offerings. And worse, it takes what should be a more mature group of main characters and just makes them completely and infuriatingly stupid. I know Harry is supposed to be at that super-stubborn-teenager phase, but Rowling really does push it here. It's just not a fun book, being too frustrating and annoying with every stupid decision a character makes. Even the ending doesn't hit too hard, because it comes about from a million stupid decisions and failure in communication between the characters. Definitely an unwelcome bump in the series.


And here's where I ended this re-read. My sister took my books with her to college, the idiot. I guess I'll continue the reviews eventually.


Anonymous said...

you mean these are books too?!

Graham said...

Yeah, they got some hack writer to do novelizations of the movies. I hear she's going to condense the last two movies into one book, though. Pretty lazy if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

I was going to revisit these for my Cannonball Read, but I don't have most of them with me. Very much agree about OotP. Seriously my least fave among the bunch. I was so annoyed with it, and I don't think I recaptured my love for the series after that.

Sin said...

wonder if one day the kids will think that the theme park came before the movies that came before the books, a la pirates of the caribbean

that said, i will probably be planning my disney trip to include this :)