Last week, when I was spending inordinate amounts of time in bed or on the couch, thanks to my back problems, I was able to finish reading book four in the Harry Potter series: The Order of the Pheonix. Thanks to my friend Helene, who has the complete set, I've been able to progress through these books at a leisurely pace, whenever I feel like a light read, without ever having to buy my own copies. (She also has them in Spanish, but I'm neither that skilled nor that adventurous!)
I have really enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books. The character development is excellent. The story telling is superb. The drama is high. I often find myself staying up too late and reading for two long as the book approaches its climax. I am also often disappointed when I watch the movies because they fall so far short of the books, necessarily leaving out so much good material.
Sometimes, the plot has gaping holes or illogical progressions, but these are mostly excusable because of the overall story telling which is undyingly creative and interesting (if not spell-binding, ha ha).
I really enjoyed The Order of the Pheonix. The climax was a bit forced, but this book is a great addition to the series because of the overall contribution to the plot development. Dumbledore has successfully assembled a counterforce to Voldemort's evil clan. We, the readers, gain a deeper insight in to Harry's complexity and history. As Harry becomes more deeply acquainted with his parents' friends, he learns more of his own history. Harry is also beginning to come into his own - becoming a teacher of his peers - and differentiating himself (even if painfully) from his own father. We also learn why Snape hates Potter so deeply. The drama in the Weasley family increases and becomes its own very interesting subplot. Harry and Hermione develop their own separate love interests. Harry is becoming a man and becoming himself. We also learn Harry's necessary connection to his unfriendly relatives. The Malfoy family finally gets some its just deserts, and Harry suffers another terrible loss.
This book is setting the stage for the great showdown which must come. It does so by giving us necessary background knowledge and by developing the characters and systems of characters which will (I expect) take the lead roles in the drama to come.
Standing alone, this book is just so-so, but within the context of the series this book is very good. I give it a rating of 4 j's. After I've read a few more serious books, I'll raid Helene's shelves again for book 6.