Please keep in mind that due to the crazy popularity of the HP books and movies, I’m not going to be too cautious about spoilers here…
This has to be my favorite of the whole series. I’m going to try to go through the reasons coherently…
First, I love the huge plot of this book. THIS is really where the books start to be aimed at teenagers and not children. First off, there are a lot of new people introduced – Mad-Eye Moody, Crouch, Bagman, the foreign students and their respective headmasters, etc… The Tri-Wizard Tournament is a refreshingly new obstacle for Harry to face instead of the usual Quidditch games all year. And *here’s the big one* Voldemort’s intricate plan to come back. And come back he does. The big bad plan, which involved a Death Eater long-thought dead, is a really good plan and I remember being absolutely shocked the first time I read this book. Voldemort, in the end, is re-born and Harry narrowly escapes again. This book also features the first real death in the series (so definitely not light reading material for the youngest readers out there). There’s so much mystery and intrigue in this book, I love that.
Secondly, I love that the characters all feel so ALIVE in this one. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have never seemed so real, and I think it’s because they’re so emotional – they’re full-fledged teenagers now, and the extra drama is actually enjoyable. Hermione develops her passion for house-elves, Ron struggles with his possible crush on Hermione and with being poorer than his friends, and Harry (on top of everything else) also starts developing his crush for Cho. The drama and embarassment of trying to find dates for the Yule Ball was right-on. We get to see more of Sirius, and his obvious care for Harry. And Dumbledore is amazing here – smart, quirky, but ready to stand in a blaze of glory and fight for what he believes is right.
Third, I love the underlying themes in this one. We once again have the tension between the magical races – we find out that house elves are treated horribly all over, that giants are hated and feared, and of course there’s the pure-blood versus Muggle-blood prejudices. All portrayed very well, and we get to see a very strong speech from Hagrid about the importance of being happy with yourself and never mind what other people say. We see Hermione battling with Rita Skeeter over her malicious and false reports. Harry and Cedric are constantly trying to remain courteous and helpful to each other throughout the entire Tri-Wizard Tournament. There’s just so much more happening, and all the personal dramas and conversations between characters are so worth the time and book-length.
And of course, even though it doesn’t necessarily end happy, it ends with the feeling of getting ready for a big fight, which means you can’t wait to go on to book #5. I know I can’t :o)
Sarah Says: 5 stars!