Review: Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of AzkabanTitle: Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Published: July 1998 (June 1999 in USA)
Author’s Website: http://www.jkrowling.com/
Genre: Fantasy, YA, teen

Review:  Sirius Black has escaped from the wizard prison Azkaban and the Ministry of Magic is convinced he’s going to coming after Harry Potter –so worried that they forgive his (unintentional) use of magic, underage and in front of muggles, send the Knight Bus to pick him up, and put him up in the Leaky Cauldron for the end of the summer.

Harry, Hermione, and Ron meet the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin, on the Hogwarts Express and learn first hand what dementors, the guardians of Azkaban, look like when one decides to try to join them in their train compartment.  It turns out the dementors have been set to guarding the perimeter of Hogwarts in hope of recapturing Sirius Black.

Their third year at school comes with new courses, a lot of new courses for Hermione.  She’s taking so many that Ron and Harry can’t understand how she can possibly be doing it.  One new course they all share is Divination with Professor Sybill Trelawny, a kooky, crazy-looking woman who has a habit of predicting dire situations and death in just about every class.

Professor McGonnegal’s response to the trio’s reaction to  their first divination class was my only Teaser Tuesday from The Prisoner of Azkaban:

“There is no need to say any more, Miss Granger. Tell me, which of you will be dying this year?”

As the year progresses, the hunt for Sirius Black continues while the students enjoy their best Defense Against the Dark Arts classes so far with Professor Lupin, which includes the creepy, shape-changing Boggart.  While the students very much enjoy classes with Professor Lupin, when he experiences health issues, they aren’t as thrilled with the substitute, Professor Snape.

When Harry isn’t allowed to go to Hogsmeade, a little town near Hogwarts where students get weekend passes to visit, the Weasley twins, Ron’s older brothers, provide Harry a great tool to sneak around and find secret passages out of the castle:  the Marauder’s Map, which he puts to great use over the next few years.

As it turns out, Hermione’s trick for taking so many classes also comes in handy saving the day.

Bottom Line:
With this third story, Ms. Rowling has created a trend in this series of each book being slightly darker than the previous books.  Not only do we have Dementors attempting to suck the joy and life out of people, but we also have rumors of wizards blowing up crowds of muggles.  It appears sometimes during this book that there are too many sub-plots to follow, but they are all pulled together in the end.  Another great story that I highly recommend.

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