Marshmallow has been slowly going through the Harry Potter books, rereading the illustrated versions and reviewing them for the book bunnies blog. See for example her reviews of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the first two books in the series. Today she wanted to write about the third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about magic and school, and especially if you enjoyed the previous Harry Potter books, or any of the movies from the series, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Harry Potter, a thirteen-year-old wizard, has been attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for two years and is going to be starting his third year soon. At Hogwarts, third-years are allowed to go to Hogsmeade, a wizard town, but students must have permission from their guardians. Unfortunately, Harry’s guardians, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, don’t like anything to do with magic. They like to think of themselves as ordinary and hate anything that is not. Harry and Uncle Vernon strike a deal. If Harry behaves around Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge, who is coming to visit for a week, Uncle Vernon will sign the permission slip. Aunt Marge hates Harry and treats him terribly, like everyone else, but Harry agrees to try to behave himself, meaning no “funny stuff”. By “funny stuff”, Uncle Vernon means that Harry won’t use magic. Aunt Marge does not know that Harry is a wizard and believes that he attends St. Brutus’s Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys.
Until the last day, Harry behaves. Marge loves to criticize him for anything, but Harry endures it, until she starts insulting Harry’s parents. She says that his father was “a no-account, good-for-nothing, lazy scrounger”. Harry says that that is wrong, and Uncle Vernon tries to change the subject and tells Harry to go to his room. However Marge wants to hear what he said. They start arguing and Marge starts swelling. She inflates like a balloon, and starts rising. Harry runs away, but little does he know that he is in great danger, being alone. Even the Muggles know that there is a dangerous criminal at large, but they don’t know that he is a violent criminal who has escaped from the inescapable wizard prison of Azkaban. What’s more, he is after Harry.
Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is one of the best Harry Potter books. I like The Prisoner of Azkaban’s plot, because it explains a lot about Harry’s past, and the event that made him famous in the wizarding world. There are some twists in the plot, like who the main bad guy is, but I won’t spoil any more.
I think that the characters are also well written: they are realistic and relatable. My favorite character is Hermione Granger, one of Harry’s best friends at Hogwarts. Hermione is really hard-working and smart. All of J. K. Rowling’s characters have unique and distinct personalities.
I read the illustrated edition this time, and it has not only beautiful drawings, but also other interesting pages. Some of the pages are full with information about animals mentioned in the book. These pages also have detailed drawings of the creature being described. And on pages without illustrations, the background is a related pattern, or, on one page, the wrapper of a chocolate bar.
This book has been made into a movie which I have watched several times and I still enjoy. The trailer is below:
One of the special things about J. K. Rowling’s books is that she takes care of all of the details, which helps to create a completely believable world for Harry. Also, the details sometimes tie into the main plot, and very neatly too. All of the books in the Harry Potter series are amazing, and The Prisoner of Azkaban is no exception.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.