Reviews for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 September 1999
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 4^-8. Rowling follows basically the same formula in each Harry Potter book, all the while maintaining the same high levels of freshness and quality. Here Harry, along with his sidekicks Ron and Hermione, once again faces great danger. It's become known that the infamous murderer Sirus Black has broken out of the supposedly escape-proof Azkaban fortress and is after Harry. Hence, Harry finds himself restricted to the Hogwarts campus, where everyone can keep an eye on him. Not one to let things like this stand in his way, Harry, with the help of his Invisibility Cape, manages to get into town and into trouble. Harry also finds himself beset by his usual school nemeses, Malfoy and his cronies, as well as Professor Snape, who seems to hate Harry even more than before. Rowling stirs all this together and leavens it with the now-expected generous helping of humor. Add to this the dementors, who "are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth," draining peace, hope, and happiness out of humans; a werewolf, who teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts; a magical map; and a bit of time travel. What results once again is a good story well told, one that is not only a cut above most fantasies for the age group but is also attractive to readers from beyond both ends of the spectrum. The Harry Potter books have the same sense of continuity found in Brian Jacques' popular Redwall saga--with villains, heroes, schemers, and innocents all firmly in their places, the seemingly impossible solved, and good triumphing over evil. And we wait impatiently for the next episode. ((Reviewed September 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Spring
In this third installment in Harry's saga, all the elements that make the formula work are heightened. The characters are particularly interesting, including Harry himself, who in facing the reality of his parents' violent deaths becomes a stronger person and a more complex hero. The Quidditch action is the best yet, the Hogwarts classes are inventive and entertaining, and there's a nifty bit of time manipulation in the exciting climax.Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1999 #6
All current reviews of Harry Potter books should probably be addressed to some future audience for whom Harry is book rather than pheno-menon; at the moment, reviews seem superfluous. For the record, then, O future reader, this latest installment in Harry's saga is quite a good book. The basics remain the same: it's another year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (where there's perforce a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher); it's still Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Gryffindor House, and the headmaster versus Professor Snape, Draco Malfoy and his Slytherin goons, Lord Voldemort, and various other forces of darkness. But all the elements that make the formula work are heightened here. The characters are particularly interesting, especially the aforementioned new teacher, Professor Lupin, a man with a howling secret; Sirius Black, a feared, possibly mad, escaped prisoner who is believed to have betrayed Harry's parents and is now said to be after Harry; and Harry himself, who in facing the reality of his parents' violent deaths becomes a stronger person-and a more complex hero. The Quidditch action is the best yet; the Hogwarts classes (Care of Magical Creatures, Divination, and Potions) are inventive and entertaining; and Rowling pulls off a nifty bit of time manipulation in the book's exciting climax. There's hope, too, for a lessening in the power Harry's Muggle relatives seem to have over him-and so a probability that we won't have to endure quite so much of these tiresomely one-dimensional characters in the future. Speaking of which...have a hot butterbeer, future reader, and enjoy. m.v.p. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1999 September #2
The Harry Potter epic (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, p. 888, etc.) continues to gather speed as Harry enters his third year at the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry and does battle with the traitor behind his parents' deaths. Besides coping with the usual adversaries sneering classmate Draco Malfoy, evocatively-named Potions Master Snape the young wizard-in-training has a new worry with the escape of Sirius Black, murderous minion of archenemy Lord Voldemort, from the magicians' prison of Azkaban. Folding in subplots and vividly conceived magical creatures Azkaban's guards, known as dementors, are the very last brutes readers would want to meet in a dark alley with characteristic abandon, Rowling creates a busy backdrop for Harry as she pushes him through a series of terrifying encounters and hard-fought games of Quidditch, on the way to a properly pulse-pounding climax strewn with mistaken identities and revelations about his dead father. The main characters and the continuing story both come along so smartly (and Harry at last shows a glimmer of interest in the opposite sex, a sure sign that the tides of adolescence are lapping at his toes) that the book seems shorter than its page count: have readers clear their calendars if they are fans, or get out of the way if they are not. (Fiction. 10-13) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1999 July #3
Rowling proves that she has plenty of tricks left up her sleeve in this third Harry Potter adventure, set once again at the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Right before the start of term, a supremely dangerous criminal breaks out of a supposedly impregnable wizards' prison; it will come as no surprise to Potter fans that the villain, a henchman of Harry's old enemy Lord Voldemort, appears to have targeted Harry. In many ways this installment seems to serve a transitional role in the seven-volume series: while many of the adventures are breathlessly relayed, they appear to be laying groundwork for even more exciting adventures to come. The beauty here lies in the genius of Rowling's plotting. Seemingly minor details established in books one and two unfold to take on unforeseen significance, and the finale, while not airtight in its internal logic, is utterly thrilling. Rowling's wit never flags, whether constructing the workings of the wizard world (Just how would a magician be made to stay behind bars?) or tossing off quick jokes (a grandmother wears a hat decorated with a stuffed vulture; the divination classroom looks like a tawdry tea shop). The Potter spell is holding strong. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 October
Gr 4-8-Isn't it reassuring that some things just get better and better? Harry is back and in fine form in the third installment of his adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His summer with the hideous Dursley family is cut short when, during a fit of quite understandable rage, he turns his Aunt Marge into an enormous balloon and then runs away. Soon, it becomes quite apparent that someone is trying to kill him; even after Harry is ensconed in the safety of fall term at Hogwarts, the attacks continue. Myriad subplots involving a new teacher with a secret, Hermione's strangely heavy class schedule, and enmity between Ron's old rat, Scabbers, and Hermione's new cat, Crookshanks, all mesh to create a stunning climax. The pace is nonstop, with thrilling games of Quidditch, terrifying Omens of Death, some skillful time travel, and lots of slimy Slytherins sneaking about causing trouble. This is a fabulously entertaining read that will have Harry Potter fans cheering for more.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 1999 December
Harry Potter is back-sooner than expected. He faces great personal danger when Sirius Black, the man accused of betraying Harry's parents to Voldemort, escapes from the fortress of Azkaban. The authorities in the magic world fear that Black plans tokill Harry. Harry, on the other hand, is concerned because he faints every time he is near one of the Dementors, the guards sent to protect him. As in the previous books, the battle between good and evil is interspersed by battles on the Quidditchfield. Favorite characters return; Ron helps Harry sneak to Hogsmeade, a magic village, and studious Hermoine has to be in three places at once-literally-in order to attend all of her classes. Hagrid's new position as teacher of "Care of MagicalCreatures" leads to problems. New characters include Lupin, a teacher who is also a werewolf, and Sibyll Trelawney, the divination teacher who predicts Harry's death. By the end of the school year, Harry has saved Sirius, who turns out to be hisgodfather, and learns who really betrayed his parents. This series entry is in many ways the best yet. In addition to the humor and adventure of the first two books, character development is stronger here. Harry faces both fear and grief over his parents' deaths. In the end, when Sirius, though proveninnocent, is still forced into hiding, readers will care more than ever about what happens to Harry and his friends. Due to the enormous popularity of the first two books, Scholastic advanced the publication date of Rowling's third book by a year.Readers will join me in counting the days until the publication of the next book in the series.-Libby Bergstrom. Copyright 1999 Voya Reviews

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