'Phoenix' a 'rollicking good tale'

  August 24, 2003 at 12:57 PM ET
  James     Wizard News (via Pacific Islander)

Colford recollects the venomous reviewopens in new window A S Byatt shook the HP fandom with, and the generally shining reviewopens in new window that Stephen King bestowed upon the novel. She finds that she most agreesopens in new window with the review of the 'horrormeister' King.

The dueling reviews recall Lord Voldemort and Albus Dumbledore, the yin and yang of Phoenix. In Rowling's darkest and most complex effort yet, the deliciously malevolent Professor Umbridge aids Voldemort's return with her insufferable bureaucratic meddling. Harry suffers a full-blown case of adolescence, with raging hormones and just plain rage battling for supremacy, but he's still basically a good-hearted soul, despite what Hermione terms a "saving-people thing." It's his empathy and sense of responsibility that gets him into trouble here, but ultimately his loving nature proves to be his most valuable asset.

Harry must deal with his first close death in Phoenix, and Rowling portrays his grief accurately and poignantly. In the end, our hero learns more about his parents and his own unique relationship with the villain Voldemort, laying the groundwork for the final two volumes of the story.


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