Synopses & Reviews
I say to you all, once again in the light of
Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong
as we are united, as weak as we are divided.
Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and
enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing
an equally strong bond of friendship and trust.
So spoke Albus Dumbledore at the end of Harry Potter's fourth year at Hogwarts. But as Harry enters his fifth year at wizard school, it seems those bonds have never been more sorely tested. Lord Voldemort's rise has opened a rift in the wizarding world between those who believe the truth about his return, and those who prefer to believe it's all madness and lies just more trouble from Harry Potter.
Add to this a host of other worries for Harry...
- A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey
- A venomous, disgruntled house-elf
- Ron as keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team
- And of course, what every student dreads: end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams
...and you'd know what Harry faces during the day. But at night it's even worse, because then he dreams of a single door in a silent corridor. And this door is somehow more terrifying than every other nightmare combined.
In the richest installment yet of J. K. Rowling's seven-part story, Harry Potter confronts the unreliability of the very government of the magical world, and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts.
Despite this (or perhaps because of it) Harry finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty and unbearable sacrifice.
Though thick runs the plot (as well as the spine), readers will race through these pages, and leave Hogwarts, like Harry, wishing only for the next train back.
"Although it takes a while for the gears of this immensely long novel to mesh fully, the author's bravura storytelling skills and tirelessly inventive imagination soon take over, braiding together the mundane and the marvelous, the psychological and the allegorical with consummate authority and ease." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"The book richly deserves the hype....Order of the Phoenix allows the reader to savor Rowling's remarkably fertile imagination." Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
"It was worth the wait. And then some....[M]ost striking, the range of emotions is larger, and not just Harry's....It all makes for an engrossing read." Deepti Hajela, The Miami Herald
"[Rowling's] Potter saga...positively teems with imagination and creativity." Phil Kloer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Is [Phoenix] as good as the other Harry Potter books? No. This one is actually quite a bit better....[A] slam dunk....Dolores Umbridge...is the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter....I think Harry will take his place with Alice, Huck, Frodo, and Dorothy, and this is one series not just for the decade, but for the ages. (Grade: A)" Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
"Rowling hasn't yet written an ungraceful sentence...and her often nasty epic has evolved nicely....Lovely literacy phenom or not, Rowling's books are virtually 100 percent cliché and cliché byproducts....Originality is overrated, it seems, particularly when you're appealing to the madness of crowds." Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
"Rowling does her usual page-turningly good job. Although this is a complex novel, the high energy level almost never flags, thanks in part to the author's ability to create vivid scenes and set pieces." Michael Cart, The Los Angeles Times
"[G]o read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the...sheer comic exuberance even in the midst of high drama....Jokes, gags and memorable put-downs pop up on nearly every page." Elizabeth Ward, The Washington Post
"Just when we might have expected author J.K. Rowling's considerable imaginative energies to flag...she has hit peak form and is gaining speed....[Rowling's] prose, always a serviceable, unshowy instrument, is stronger and more confident, and she has become a virtuoso plotter, a master at snappy pacing, able to stun and surprise at will." Lev Grossman, Time
"[A]t 870 turgid pages, [Phoenix] is the least satisfying in the series. The plot is cumbersome. Most characters haven't bloomed; they've only aged. Settings are befogged by vague writing. Worst, though, is the excess....Order of the Phoenix is a case of too much adding up to too little." John Mark Eberhart, Kansas City Star
"Rowling continues to deliver her unique magic. And while it involves spells, eccentric characters and a wonderful world where we'd all probably like to spend some time, the real magic involves a very personal, often difficult, battle between good and evil that continues to give a reason for hope." Robin Vidimos, The Denver Post
"Some authors write series for commercial reasons but this book confirms that, for Rowling, the architecture of a seven-book sequence has always been artistically driven....What remains clear in this fifth installment of the story is that Rowling is a very hard writer to dislike." Mark Lawson, The Guardian (U.K.)
"J. K. Rowling is the real magician....[The book] starts slow, gathers speed and then skateboards, with somersaults, to its furious conclusion....Order of the Phoenix is rich and satisfying in almost every respect." John Leonard, The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews July 15th, 2003
The Potternaut rolls on, picking up more size than speed but propelling 15-year-old Harry through more hard tests of character and magical ability. Rowling again displays her ability to create both likable and genuinely scary characters--most notable among the latter being a pair of Dementors who accost Harry in a dark alley in the opening chapter. Even more horrible, Ministry of Magic functionary Dolores Umbridge descends upon Hogwarts with a tinkly laugh, a taste in office decor that runs to kitten paintings, and the authority, soon exercised, to torture students, kick Harry off the Quidditch team, fire teachers, and even to challenge Dumbledore himself. Afflicted with sudden fits of adolescent rage, Harry also has worries, from upcoming exams and recurrent eerie dreams to the steadfast refusal of the Magical World's bureaucracy to believe that Voldemort has returned. Steadfast allies remain, including Hermione, whose role here is largely limited to Chief Explainer, and a ragtag secret order of adults formed to protect him from dangers, which they characteristically keep to themselves until he finds out about them the hard way. Constructed, like GOBLET OF FIRE, of multiple, weakly connected plot lines and rousing, often hilarious set pieces, all set against a richly imagined backdrop, this involves its characters once again in plenty of adventures while moving them a step closer to maturity. And it's still impossible to predict how it's all going to turn out. (Fiction. 12-15)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books September 2003
Harry Potter's latest adventure reveals an admirable hero somewhat the worse for wear: his grief at the death of Cedric, his fear of (and connection to) the evil Lord Voldemort, and his emotional distance from Professor Dumbledore combine to make Harry a bit short-tempered, a bit short-sighted, and a bit more recognizably human. Rowling eases readers back into Harry's world-and-Harry's precarious existence-with nary a ripple: the suburban peace of the Dursleys' manicured lives is shattered by the intrusion of dementors, sent by a rogue in the Ministry of Magic and seeking to do Harry serious injury. A wizard rescue party retrieves Harry from the world of Muggles and sets him down amidst the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society that plots Voldemort's final downfall. With an escalating love life, academic complications at school, and a Ministry of Magic determined to ignore the obvious, Harry is in an adolescent uproar. Revelations about Sirius Black, Professor Snape, and Harry's late father cause the boy to question all he holds true, and his confusion clouds his judgment. A roaring set of practical jokes by Fred and George Weasley against a politically appointed, obnoxious new professor at Hogwarts lightens the tone just in time for the Order's tragic confrontation with Voldemort and his malevolent minions. Rowling cheerfully turns her own conventions on th@ir cars, and the result is a surprising and enjoyable ride. While Harry's much-touted love interest fizzles before it fires, familiar characters achieve a bit more depth. Ginny Weasley starts to come into her own, Hermione employs a dryly wicked wit, and Dumbledore reveals, if not feet, at least a little toe of clay. It's no longer quite clear that all will work out in the end; the lines are being drawn, but, as exemplified by Percy Weasley, not everyone is on the right side. Rowling has managed to make Harry and his fate a bit less predictable, which, in the fifth of a seven-volume series, is a very good thing. JMD
Horn Book Magazine
(September 1, 2003; 0-439-35806-X)
(Intermediate, Middle School) This review is much like the proverbial tree falling in an uninhabited forest: unlikely to make a sound. But for the record, HP5 is the best in the series since Azkaban, and far superior to the turgid HP4. With Rowling once again f
As Harry enters his fifth year at wizard school, it seems the bonds of friendship and trust have never been more sorely tested. Lord Voldemort's rise has opened a rift in the wizarding world between those who believe the truth about his return, and those who prefer to believe it's all madness and lies just more trouble from Harry Potter.
In the richest installment yet of J. K. Rowling's seven-part story, Harry Potter confronts the unreliability of the very government of the magical world, and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts. Despite this (or perhaps because of it) Harry finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty and unbearable sacrifice. Though thick runs the plot (as well as the spine), readers will race through these pages, and leave Hogwarts, like Harry, wishing only for the next train back.
We could tell you, but then we'd have to Obliviate your memory.
The next volume in the thrilling, moving, bestselling Harry Potter series will reach readers June 21, 2003 -- and it's been worth the wait!
We could tell you, but then we'd have to Obliviate your memory.
About the Author
Like that of her own character, Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling's life has the luster of a fairy tale. Divorced, living on public assistance in a tiny Edinburgh flat with her infant daughter, Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
at a table in a café during her daughter's naps and it was Harry Potter that rescued her. First, the Scottish Arts Council gave her a grant to finish the book. After its sale to Bloomsbury (UK) and Scholastic Books, the accolades began to pile up. Harry Potter
won The British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year, and the Smarties Prize, and rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Book rights have been sold to England, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Greece, Finland, Denmark, Spain and Sweden.
A graduate of Exeter University, a teacher, and then an unemployed single parent, Rowling wrote Harry Potter when "I was very low, and I had to achieve something. Without the challenge, I would have gone stark raving mad." But Rowling has always written; her first book was called Rabbit. "I was about six, and I haven't stopped scribbling since."
Review A Day
"If [Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
] was the work of a born storyteller still sorting out her technique, Phoenix
is the smooth product of a natural at the top of her game. Phoenix
is even longer than Goblet
, but it never idles or slackens. There's less reliance on startling tricks and reversals and more attention to the underlying organic structures of art. Rowling's hold on the steering wheel doesn't wobble, either. You can feel that she knows just what she's doing, weaving in the threads of the series' larger themes as they grow deeper and richer....With the aptly-named [Dolores] Umbridge...Rowling has created her best bad guy yet....Rowling steps briefly out of the conventions of the genre to send a shiver of reality through her imaginary world. It's a sign that wherever she takes us next, we can't expect the old rules to apply anymore. But that, after all, is what growing up is all about." Laura Miller, Salon.com
(read the entire Salon review