Marshmallow has been reviewing the illustrated editions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series for the book bunnies blog. In the past few years she has read and reviewed the first four books, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, all written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay. This week, when the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, finally appeared in the illustrated version, Marshmallow was able to get her paws on a copy and reread it once more. Below is her review of this book.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about magic and friendship, or if you have enjoyed the previous Harry Potter books, then this might be the book for you. (If you have not read any of the first four books yet, you might be better off starting from the beginning.)
Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Harry Potter is a teenage boy who discovered on his eleventh birthday that he was a wizard (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). Since then his life has been transformed as he attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Not to mention that he is extremely famous as the boy who survived when Lord Voldemort, the Wizarding World’s most infamous villain, tried to kill him. When Voldemort failed to kill him, it was believed that the curse he released on Harry rebounded and killed Voldemort instead. However, in the four years Harry has attended Hogwarts, Voldemort has made several attempts to return. His first few attempts, chronicled in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, were eventually foiled, but unfortunately, last year, in the climax of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he succeeded. So at the beginning of this book, Lord Voldemort is back.
The bad part, besides the whole “worst wizard in the world has returned” part, is that the Wizarding World refuses to believe Harry when he tries to convince them that Voldemort is back, since he was the only witness to Voldemort’s return who is not working for Voldemort, and as expected, none of the others are talking. The entire Wizarding World believes now that Harry is no longer the miraculous boy who lived, but instead he is a nutjob conspiracist. Dumbledore, Hogwart’s headmaster, supported Harry’s claim and is now being demoted, with people insisting that he must be going senile.
Since Harry only attends Hogwarts during the school year, he must spend most of the summer at the house of his aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon (with his obnoxious, bullying cousin Dudley). Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon despise magic as they are Muggles, or un-magical people, like the rest of us. (Harry’s parents were both wizards, but they were killed the night that Harry survived Voldemort’s curse.) Whenever Harry stays at his aunt and uncle’s, he is cut off entirely from the world of magic. Generally, his best friends, Ron and Hermione, send letters, but this summer, Harry only receives cryptic messages from them, saying that they are not allowed to tell him too much about what they are doing.
Harry is thus feeling rather lonely and unhappy, when his predicament is much worsened by a sudden dementor attack. Dementors are foul creatures that feed on the despair of humans and can suck souls. Harry must use a spell to stop them from doing just that to his cousin Dudley (despite the fact that he hates him). However, underage wizards (like Harry) are forbidden from using magic in front of Muggles. As a result, Harry receives messages that inform him that he is to be tried for his behavior. So far it seems that everything is against him, and it is about to get a whole lot worse.
Marshmallow’s Review: I have loved all of the Harry Potter books I have read (as well as pretty much every book written about this Wizarding World). The author has created a magical but realistic world with unique characters and undetectable plots. This fifth book is no exception.
As Harry is getting older, his world is becoming more and more dangerous, and the story is getting a lot scarier. Though I enjoyed this book immensely, and I watched the movie version with much excitement, I’d definitely urge caution for younger bunnies who might not yet be ready for this much tension.
The original version of the book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was already amazing, but this illustrated version is even more special. It is beautifully drawn by Jim Kay together with Neil Packer, filled with images and drawings relating to the story. The characters and events are portrayed in large, detailed drawings, each page is different, and I enjoyed diving into the images when I took my eyes away from the words.
The Order of the Phoenix is the longest of the seven Harry Potter books, so this illustrated version is a really big book, almost like an encyclopedia volume. But it is beautiful to behold. I very much enjoyed returning once more to Harry’s world in this illustrated edition.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.