Jul 9, 2009

Book Review: 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'

You might be asking why I'm reviewing the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, years behind its publication date and mere days away from the release of the sixth movie. It has directly to do with my pursuit of blowing through the first six books in preparation for the release of 'Half-Blood Prince' and indirectly to do with my growing admiration for the series. I wasn't very impressed with the first two books, I have to be honest. They were fairly good, though in and of themselves, I didn't think they necessitated five more books, of increasing length no less. But my opinion changed with the third - and subsequently the fourth - book.

I have to give it to J.K. Rowling: she managed to fool me again. Shame on me. I just put 'Goblet of Fire' down, and I have to say that I was very nearly disappointed until the last fifty pages or so (I won't give anything away, or at least I'll try). Needless to say, at its length, it has quite the labyrinthine plot, and in parts it became tedious to get through the characters' Bond-Villain-Like proclamations of guilt and motivation, but in the end I enjoyed it. There is one part (which I won't mention) where I thought the book - and perhaps the series - had jumped the shark, so I teetered over into territory where I thought I might actually come away actively disliking the book. I continued to read, skeptical of the outcome, but Rowling actually pulled it all together fairly well, aside from the problem I mentioned above.

'Goblet of Fire' is stronger than the third book, 'Prisoner of Azkaban', but only slightly. Though the plot threads do get tied up in the end, it seemed to have taken quite the effort to get them in position for the denouement, considering how much dialogue it took for everything to make sense. I am amazed at how many details become cogs in a fairly complicated plot machine. One thing I admire about the series is that it really does pay off for the reader to pay attention to even the minutest details, because they may get pulled into the story's climax. That, I believe, is a testament to J.K. Rowling's process of revision, which seems to be astoundingly in-depth. I'm looking forward to finishing books five and six within the next week.

No comments:

Post a Comment