Back of the Book:
There is a door at the end of a silent corridor, and it’s haunting Harry Potter’s dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?
Here are just a few of the things on Harry’s mind:
• 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
• The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams
. . . and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
In the richest installment yet of J.K. Rowling’s seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with 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), he 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.
From School Library Journal:
Harry has just returned to Hogwarts after a lonely summer. Dumbledore is uncommunicative and most of the students seem to think Harry is either conceited or crazy for insisting that Voldemort is back and as evil as ever. Angry, scared, and unable to confide in his godfather, Sirius, the teen wizard lashes out at his friends and enemies alike. The head of the Ministry of Magic is determined to discredit Dumbledore and undermine his leadership of Hogwarts, and he appoints nasty, pink-cardigan-clad Professor Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and High Inquisitor of the school, bringing misery upon staff and students alike. This bureaucratic nightmare, added to Harry’s certain knowledge that Voldemort is becoming more powerful, creates a desperate, Kafkaesque feeling during Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts. The adults all seem evil, misguided, or simply powerless, so the students must take matters into their own hands. Harry’s confusion about his godfather and father, and his apparent rejection by Dumbledore make him question his own motives and the condition of his soul. Also, Harry is now 15, and the hormones are beginning to kick in. There are a lot of secret doings, a little romance, and very little Quidditch or Hagrid (more reasons for Harry’s gloom), but the power of this book comes from the young magician’s struggles with his emotions and identity. Particularly moving is the unveiling, after a final devastating tragedy, of Dumbledore’s very strong feelings of attachment and responsibility toward Harry. Children will enjoy the magic and the Hogwarts mystique, and young adult readers will find a rich and compelling coming-of-age story as well.
Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Format Read: real book
The very worst thing about this book is Sirius’ death. I cried like a baby when I first realized he wouldn’t be coming back – not even as a ghost.
The very best thing about this book is Umbridge. Wait. WHAT! Yes, Dolores Umbridge is the best thing about this book. She plays her part perfectly. She’s evil and horrible and awful and she’s convinced that she’s working for the good. At least, that’s what she tried to convince us. ;-) Honestly, I think she’s my favorite lesser, bad character. Did that make sense?