The first Harry Potter book was less than fantastic and the second only a little better. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I opened the pages to Prisoner of Azkaban. Non-readers asked me why I was torturing myself, reading books I didn’t enjoy. Avid readers encouraged me to keep going, adamant that I’d see how great the series was. I’m not trying to purposefully agitate all the Potterheads out there, but I must admit Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was exactly what I expected.
I may have never have picked up the Harry Potter series if not for the Vampire Academy series. This series continues to be my favorite in the YA genre. Last year, I decided to re-read the whole series and what was released of the spin-off series, Bloodlines, before the release of The Fiery Heart. It was then I discovered a terrible truth. The first two books of Vampire Academy were…. lackluster. What had enthralled me at 17 was still exciting, but not nearly as much as I had thought it was. Then, it dawned on me. This is the way of the YA genre. The first few books are always lackluster, despite all the potential the story has. They have to lure in young adults who may not be used to reading large, complicated books. Then, once they have their attention, they can take them along for a greater ride than they ever thought books could give. So was Vampire Academy written and so I expected Harry Potter was written.
So I suffered, giving the first two books poor reviews because they were poor. Still, I saw the potential and continued on. The Prisoner of Azkaban started slowly. I not impressed until about half way through the book. Then the mystery started to pick up and I started to wonder exactly what was going on. Having finished the book, I still wonder. This has grown beyond foolish child-play. Dear Harry is only 13-years-old and he seems to have far more enemies than Voldemort. This book reminds me very much of Shadow Kiss, the third book of the Vampire Academy series. All of a sudden, all of these innocent, childish ideas are taking on a far more serious tone. Thing that used to be little more than pranks are now taking a darkly sinister turn. I dare say, I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
While I still feel J.K. Rowling missed many opportunities to bring more interest to the book through better descriptions, I no longer think this is my largest problem with the series. I don’t think the third person resonates with me. I can’t connect with characters; I can’t lose myself in the book. It’s just personal taste. That said, this book rose beyond that. I can’t call it a favorite of mine, but it was quite the read!
While I lack the connections I feel to characters in my favorites books, I admit I felt for Hermione in the Prisoner of Azkaban. I could devote a whole post to this, but I’ll save that for another day. For now, I will just say that her way of taking on more than she can chew, of trying to learn and absorb everything she has a chance of getting her hands on, is very much like myself. So I was at 13 and so I am now.
I could devote a whole other post to Snape, who seems to be a textbook case of a bitter victim of bullying transformed into a bully himself. I know some secrets about Snape from watching the movies that I can’t forget. Even without those movies, though, I don’t think I’d see Snape as evil. He’s just bitter. It’s unfortunate and I don’t feel like I can say more about why he is quite so bitter until I learn more about him.
In the end, I am left with more questions than answers. Is seems like little Harry Potter is playing a part in some master plan. I hate to point the finger at Albus Dumbledore, but he seems to be the one most frequently pushing Harry towards these great dangers. He also seems to know Harry has the power to overcome them. Still, I can’t help but feel that everything that has occurred up to this point has been a part of some master plan. Whether it is a part of Dumbledore’s plan or a plan Dumbledore is fighting against I have yet to know. All I can say for now is, unlike the first and the second book, I finished, this the third book of the Harry Potter series, excited to read the next.