Book review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Continuing my Harry Potter reread and review sees me next reviewing The Prisoner of Azkaban. This is the third book in the series and sees our three heroes return back to Hogwarts ready for another year not knowing the massive discoveries they’re going to uncover and the new friends they’re going to make over the coming year. Is the Prisoner of Azkaban the first where things really start to get good?

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban book review
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third instalment in the wildly successful Harry Potter series (if there ever was an understatement). This book sees the series take a slightly more dangerous and darker turn, introducing some incredibly important characters from Harry’s past that shows us a peek into where the rest of the series is going to take us.

The Prisoner of Azkaban plot – 4.5/5

I know a lot of people that would state Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as having their favourite plot from the series. It features some really big and important moments for the future of the series and introduces us to some characters who will have a real impact on Harry and those around him.

In a similar vein to Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban starts off with Harry having a slightly less than usual end to his summer. The book starts off with Harry accidentally inflating his Aunt after she insults his parents and so Harry takes off and runs away. After an enjoyable ride on the magical Night Bus, Harry finds out that a dark and dangerous wizard, Sirius Black, has escaped from Azkaban, the most secure wizarding prison there is. The images make him out to be very powerful with the rumours being that he wants to find and kill Harry. It all starts off quite dark but eventually things lighten up as Harry reunites with Ron and Hermione and they return to Hogwarts. However, as with all previous years, things start to take a turn for the worse when Harry arrives to see Dementors patrolling the grounds. Without spoiling too much more, there are a lot more big introductions in this novel that, if you’ve read the later books, you’ll notice stick around.

I would have to say this is one of the smarter Harry Potter books. It’s not filled with quite as much action as the other two previous editions but it certainly has an ending that will shock and surprise many who’ve not read it before. As I stated before, it is certainly the book in the series that takes things down a slightly darker route. Things start to become far more serious and the real danger the threesome could be in has now ramped up. Rowling does a brilliant job in this third instalment without having to jump on the same tropes she has in the previous two books.

The Prisoner of Azkaban characters – 4.5/5

As I stated with the previous books, one of the best things about these books is the characters. The comradery seen between Ron, Harry and Hermione is like nothing we’ve rarely seen in fiction since. The friendship they have and the utmost respect they have for one another is simply unparalleled.

To add to their great chemistry, some big names are introduced in this book – including Professor Remus Lupin, a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and of course Sirius Black. Both of them will have huge roles to play in the future. You instantly fall in love with Lupin as he’s one of the first and few teachers who appear to be on Harry’s side and want him to succeed.

The Prisoner of Azkaban summary – 4/5

Now, there may be some controversy in my final decision here, but hear me out: yes, Prisoner of Azkaban is a great addition to the Harry Potter universe, one that I myself have described as “one of the smarter Harry Potter books”. But there’s a real lack of anything really happening in the middle of the book. Yes, the introduction to some great new characters and the great ending make for a really satisfying end to the book but there is definitely a lack of real depth in the middle.

This is a great Harry Potter book but, as a story in itself, it’s not something I would deem five stars. However, don’t let this dissuade you from carrying on. It’s not a bump on the road, it’s merely a little crack and an important one at that.

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