Published September 1st 2014 by Bloomsbury (first published July 8th 1999)
Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: Fantasy, fiction, YA/Children’s
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.”
“Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transportation for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go.”
When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves… But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss…
There are so many amazing things in this book that I don’t know where to begin. What I do know is that it’s my favourite book of the series so far (which I had a feeling it would be).
I feel the need to digest everything in it: all the spells, books, characters, and history of the wizarding world. There’s so much to be curious about, and it’s managed to invoke in me the seeds of a Potterhead.
The plot is a fun read, but in the backgrounds there’s that darkness lurking. The news that mass-murderer Sirius Black is on the loose, escaped from Azkaban is enough for anyone to keep their wits about them. I think Harry did a pretty good job, but I wish he’d open up more to Ron and Hermione. I mean, he’s silently focused on The Grim: seeing the black dog after leaving the Dursley’s, seeing the book of death omens, having his tea leaves read to reveal The Grim…he’s carrying this quite terrifying burden. I hope there’s a point in the series where he realises that telling people important things is worth doing. If I was in a world of magic and wizarding, I wouldn’t want to keep many of my fears a secret…at least not from my friends, or figures like Dumbledore.
Also, the dementors are super scary. Just the existence of them creeps me out. But what I love about this book is the exploration of fear, and how each of us have different kinds of fear, despite it being a universally experienced emotion or state. I guess it’s also about how fear weakens us: Harry becomes scared of the dementors, and to start with it weakens him, he passes out from any encounter with them. But they also hold a direct key to his parents, and the moment before they were killed. So fear now becomes slightly sought after, albeit with added pain.
“You think the dead we have loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?”
I love the Boggart. I love the idea of it: that it becomes what you most fear, and that there’s a spell to make it funny, and therefore less scary. My favourite was Neville Longbottom’s Boggart, Professor Snape. Teachers and tutor’s can be really scary, so for Neville to overcome a bit of that was great to see. He’s still one of my favourite characters. And speaking of the Boggart, I love Professor Lupin too. Of the teachers at Hogwarts, he’s the top one for me. If I was a witch or wizard, I’d want him as my teacher.
Other highlights of this book in brief: BUCKBEAK, QUIDDITCH, HOGSMEAD, MARAUDER’S MAP, PATRONUS, TIME-TURNER, SIRIUS.
The ending few chapters are some of the best chapters in a book I’ve ever read. I loved it, it’s a reading experience that I’ll not be forgetting in a hurry. I wanted to cry at the end, of happiness for Harry. But I still have questions, and I hope they’ll be cleared up in the next book.
That’s it, I could go on forever, but one day I’m sure I will re-read this, or at least attempt to. It was brilliant, now I’m fully into the series and the story, and am becoming the Potterhead I never thought I’d be.
Also, if you can guess what my Hogwarts house is, then 10 points to Hufflepuff! Oh, oops.
Link to the book on Goodreads: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban