J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
by J.K. Rowling
narrated by Jim Dale
(YA, fantasy)

I have read HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN so many times… and yet I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed it. (I think the only one I’ve reviewed is the final book… that’s the only review a quick search turned up, anyway.) So, it’s about time I reviewed my favorite of the Potter books. (Side note: It is NOT my favorite of the Potter movies. They totally screwed it up, in my opinion, except for the casting. But that’s the subject of another blog.)

So. HP:POA is one of the two Potter books I have both in Hardcover and Audiobook. (When I worked at the library, I sometimes would tag donations that came in for the Friends of the Library BookSale, and then buy them at whatever price the volunteers set before the sale officially started. Both of my Harry Potter Audiobooks were these kinds of purchases.) This particular time I read it, I both listened to it, and read it, depending on whether I was driving or not. I liked having the ability to switch between the two formats, and since I’d listened to my audio copy enough times to be very familiar with the reader, I usually still heard Jim Dale narrating when I was reading the paper version. I do like his version of the narration. I believe there’s another narrator out there for the Potter books too, but I’ve never heard that one, so I can’t compare.

I find it hard to believe at this point that anyone reading this blog who plans to read Harry Potter hasn’t already done so, and as such I’m not at all worried about spoilers. If you are the rare person who wants to read the Harry Potter series, hasn’t, and is browsing book reviews about said series, you’ve been warned.

Why do I like this book the best of the series? Well, I think it’s perfectly situated between the more light-hearted tone of the first two and the darker aspects of the later books. Harry is still young enough that the angst isn’t too present (*cough*Book5*cough*), nor is the questionable romance. There’s plenty of pranks by the Weasley twins, and Remus Lupin and Sirius Black are great characters. I love that scene in the Shrieking Shack. (My favorite part of these stories is the action, comedy, and imagination. Can you tell? 🙂 )

Another thing I like about this book is watching the teachers seem more real. More human. They have more depth than I remember in books 1 & 2.

Yet another thing I like about this book is its length. It’s long enough that I feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth, but no so long that it hurts my back to carry it downstairs from the bookshelf on which it lives. I feel that, while the stories of books 4 on are still enjoyable, Rowling could have been better served by her editors. The books are too long, and could have stood having more of the unneeded bits removed to tighten up the stories and make them more enjoyable.

Anyway, I do love these books. And I also find it hard to read just one, so there may be more Potter book reviews in the future…


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