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THE BOOK -Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban
by J.K. Rowling
Bk. #3 of Harry Potter
First published in 1999 by Bloomsbury
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED -Paperback, 435 pages
Published in 2013 by Scholastic
My Rating: 5/5 stars
THE PLOT -For twelve long years, the dreaded fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be a dedicated follower of the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he's escaped. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts... he's at Hogwarts." Is he coming for Harry?
Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may be a traitor in their midst.
Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban is definitely my favourite installment in the Harry Potter series. With the introduction of a couple new characters, as well as new dangers lurking around every corner, Harry, Ron, and Hermione's third year at Hogwarts proves to be just as much of a whirlwind as the previous two. Emotions run high as stubbornness overtakes logic, and the rollercoaster that Rowling takes her characters on this time around is bordering on cruel. This novel is, in a lot of ways, darker than the previous installments, and it's from here that the series starts encroaching onto YA territory, rather than being middle grade fiction.
The characters themselves go through another astonishing transformation in this novel. Despite having always acted older than their age accounts for, Harry, Ron, and Hermione have grown up even more this year. Despite knowing that Sirius Black wants to kill him, Harry doesn't panic. He always manages to keep a cool head, even in the most terrifying situations, and it's impossible not to love him. His age puts him at a disadvantage in a lot of ways, but his attitude and relentlessness always finds a way around the most obstructive of obstacles.
The introduction of Professor Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, was a fantastic move by J.K. Rowling. Lupin is difficult to dislike. He treats all of his students like adults when it comes to his classes, and he always has everyone's best interests at heart. The surprising twist we discover towards the end of the novel didn't change my opinion about him - if anything, it made me like him even more.
This novel reminds us that Hogwarts is, in fact, a school, and not just a place where danger can jump out at any given moment. We see a lot more of the lessons, and we get more in-depth details about the Quidditch matches, too. I adore this sport played on broomsticks, so experiencing the exhilaration through Rowling's writing always makes me smile. We also learn a little more about Harry's parents and their past, and it definitely added a little more depth to a few of the characters in this novel. Witht he introduction of Hogsmeade - an all-wizarding village close to Hogwarts - we also spend a little time outside of the school. Exploring new areas is always fun, and Rowling has a way with descriptions that never fails to make you feel as though you're actually there.
Overall, Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban is an absolutely stellar novel. Though it's a little darker in places than the previous installments, the intensity of the situation makes for a fantastic read. If you haven't started this series, what are you waiting for?