Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

I feel a little strange reviewing this. I mean, it's been out forever, I've read it more times than I care to count, own the movie, and everyone and their sister has read the book, and I'm sure the number of reviews number in the thousands. It came up as a reread for me recently, and so I'll take a crack.

Let's start off by saying that I worked in a bookstore when this book came out, and I remember it clearly. The Harry Potter books had been gaining steam as a phenomenon in the months leading up to it, but this was the first new release that was An Event. (These, of course, would go on to be more and more Big Events, but this was the first one.) At the time, I had no idea what the hype was, except that we were moving more and more of these books.

My husband read them first, and then read me the first one out loud, and let me tell you, his Hagrid voice is something you want to hear. One of my biggest regrets about this series is that I was too impatient to let him read me any of the others - I plowed through each as soon as I could get them home.

So we were on the Harry Potter bandwagon fairly early. Rereading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was like slipping back into a pair of comfortable pajamas. It's the book right before the deaths start happening, although we're getting eased into how difficult the endings of some of the future books will be already. The end of the book dwells in great detail on the murders of Harry's parents, and the betrayals that led up to them.

It was the first sentence that reminded me how much I like these books - much has been justifiably made of Rowling's tight plotting over the series, but I'd also like to note that that woman can rock an opening sentence. The rest of the book unfolded just as I remembered it, only marred by the fact that the binding is disintegrating on my hardcover, and part of the experience of rereading it was juggling to keep the pages together.

I don't know what else I have to say. It's the first appearance of Sirius, who is such a wonderful character. And Lupin, which, ditto. It's hard to separate them in my head now from the actors who took on the roles in the movies, but they were both great choices, so I'm happy with that. Details laid down books before pay off, like the reason behind having a Whomping Willow on campus.

Finally, they actually get to play through a Quidditch cup. This so rarely happens.

My husband is working on a Fate: Accelerated Harry Potter hack at the moment, and that's not why I went back and picked this one up again, but it has been a great experience. There are those books that you can pick up and slip right back into and enjoy every moment, and I am pleased to say that I haven't found a Harry Potter book about which that isn't true.

Read many times, but once as part of the BBC Big Read
It was also one of the Hugo Nominees 

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