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            Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
            By: J.K. Rowling
            Children's - Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
            Review posted by: Melanie Nilsen (Earthangel9)
            Review posted: 7/23/03

            If I’m here to be perfectly honest, I must admit that there is a part of me that doesn’t want to like the Harry Potter series. I think this has something to do with the photos they plaster in magazines. I’m sure you’ve seen them. People in line in the bookstore dressed up as their favorite characters. Children wearing their big black Harry Potter glasses. Adults wearing large pointy hats. I don’t know what bothers me so much about it. Perhaps it’s just something rather reminiscent of a Star Trek convention for book lovers. With publicity like this, it’s rather hard for people to think you’re cool for reading a Harry Potter book. Unfortunately, something prevents me from slamming Rowling’s latest release and hence forward joining the ranks at the “cool table.” I read it.

            Rowling’s rich imagination lured me into yet another of her dynamic storylines- this one centering around Harry’s discovery of a secret society uniting against Voldemort, The Order of the Phoenix. Sadly, Harry also seems to have been left out of the loop not only in terms of the society, but …well...nobody seems to be telling him much of anything.

            Much of the book, then, becomes a quest to find out just what Voldemort is really doing. What is up with the visions and that strange burning sensation on Harry’s forehead? Just why did the dementors attack him in Little Whinging? And what’s more, why is Cornelius Fudge being such a senseless little prat!!!!? All of this confusion and then some causes Harry considerable grief for his fifth year, and wouldn’t you know it? He’s angry too.

            Having reached adolescence, and further having recently witnessed the death of Cedric Diggory, the return of Lord Voldemort, not to mention the fact that Harry’s character is being torn apart in the wizarding newspaper, it isn’t hard to understand where some of this anger is coming from. It seems rather hard to believe that Harry has kept his cool as long as he has.

            Continuing in the precedent set by Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, the mood is tense. The sense that an epic battle between good and evil will soon take place is ever present. Lines are being drawn, and figuring out who can be trusted and who cannot becomes a question of terrible significance. An introduction of a new character into the ranks at Hogwarts continues to increase these tensions. A character I literally want to reach in and strangle!? That IS some fine writing. Even further reminiscent of The Goblet of Fire, yes….another character dies.

            This tension, far from making The Order of the Phoenix unbearably somber, amazingly maintains itself through a surprisingly light world of charm and magic. Moments of love, laughter and the occasional prank still abound. And when Harry takes charge? Well, you can’t help but be proud. Read this book and you’ll find that the elements that made the first books so endearing remain.

            So I admit it. I love Harry Potter. Don’t agree? Well…..see you at the cool table. I’ll be the one in the corner reading.