Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry is furious that he has been abandoned at the Dursleys' house for the summer, for he suspects that Voldemort is gathering an army, that he himself could be attacked, and that his so-called friends are keeping him in the dark. Finally being rescued by wizard bodyguards, he discovers that Dumbledore is regrouping the Order of the Phoenix - a secret society first formed years ago to fight Voldemort. But the Ministry of Magic is against the Order, lies are being spread by the wizards' tabloid, the Daily Prophet, and Harry fears that he may have to take on this epic battle against evil alone.
Reviewed on 25th March 2016
The time has come in my latest Harry Potter re-read to revisit my favourite of the series (and I know that's an unpopular opinion). I started this read through trying to be in sync with Pottermore releasing bonus material for each book, but since I read Goblet of Fire last the format of the website has completely changed and so I just took the opportunity to read the story again and prepare myself mentally for the appearance of a new story (in script and stage form) this summer.
Why do I like this book over the others? For many reasons. This is a tale of the Harry at a key age - he's still a child, but now he is becoming an adult. It's the point at which he turns from being a child drawn into unusual situations into a young man taking control of his life and the direction it takes. He becomes stronger and starts forming new relationships - and the secondary cast start to become more prominent. Yet it remains a story about school life, before the story is absorbed into the epic events of the last two books of Harry's story, and so still has that touch of the original structure.
One of the criticisms that this book often draws is about Harry's moodiness and how he's become a stroppy teen. I don't see this as anything as a mis-reading of the story, instead (and I'll avoid spoilers) stemming from an important plot point that is integral to not only the story of this novel but also the rest of the series.
On this reading, I really enjoyed a couple of moments which I hadn't noticed before, both early on, that seem like throwaway comments, but which with the knowledge I now have from later turn into interesting hints of foreshadowing. It's also the point in the series from which I feel slightly less familiar with the text (having naturally read the earlier books more frequently - at least once each time a new on was published) and so I enjoyed rediscovering some of the story.
Still my favourite of the books, and one that I am sure I will revisit again and again and again.