Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry. He is desperate to get back to school and find out why his friends Ron and Hermione have been so secretive all summer. However, what Harry is about to discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his whole world upside down. But before he even gets to school, Harry has an unexpected and frightening encounter with two Dementors, has to face a court hearing at the Ministry of Magic and has been escorted on a night-time broomstick ride to the secret headquarters of a mysterious group called 'The Order of the Phoenix'. And that is just the start.
I always hope my feelings for Order of the Phoenix will change with a re-read. It is my least favourite of the seven, and I can never quite put my finger on a specific reason as to why this might be. I have a few theories, however.
The suspense of the first four novels isn't as apparent here. There is not so much incentive to read on, the mysteries involved aren't as tantalising, and there isn't as many new spells, objects or people to meet and discover as in the previous installments. These small nuances are quite important to me.
Rowling's character development is quite bland. We don't learn a great deal about her characters which we didn't already know, and only the slightest of things seem to develop, such as the way Ron and Hermione act around each other. These things can only be noticed if you are already aware of what happens later in the saga, however.
Harry is absolutely deplorable throughout the entire novel. I often wonder if Order of the Phoenix is my least favourite installment due to my intense dislike for his attitude in it. Rowling is trying to bring across his teenage angst and temperament, but he just comes across as completely abhorrent. I do not deny that being the Chosen One must be a bit on the stressful side, but all he did was piss and moan for 700-odd pages. He is nothing but rude and disrespectful to Ron and Hermione, who have with nothing but the best intentions. I felt so sorry for them. Not only this, but Harry's attitude towards Dumbledore in the penultimate chapter was nothing but foul. He is, quite simply, a horrible person in this novel.
It's an enjoyable book, just not as much as the others. And at 700 or so pages, it's full of inconsequential nonsense which is quite entertaining, but which is completely irrelevant and could probably have been left out entirely.
At least I know Half-Blood Prince will remedy all of this.
27 / 72 books. 38% done!