Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second time I've read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but the first since finishing Deathly Hallows and first time reading it critically. I've tailored this review in the following in mind: the intended audience for the book (much younger than myself) and it's place in the series.
"Goblet of Fire" is nearly double the length of it's immediate predecessor and the first book in which Rowlings expounded upon numerous details. Given the advancing plot and more mature content than previous volumes, Rowlings still retained her brilliant wording even while giving up brevity and slowing the book's pace so that various details could be given their due. The immediate history of the Wizarding World, particularly in the direct aftermath of Voldemort's fall is a central theme that Rowlings emphasizes especially as Voldemort returns to power. Beyond covering Harry participating in the Triwizard Tournament and Voldemort's return, Rowlings develops character relationships and character development that both add to and (unfortunately) take away from the whole narrative.
"Goblet of Fire" returns to the overall story's primary theme of the first two books, Voldemort plotting to return but this time succeeding setting up the overall story's next phases. Since this book is the middle of the series, it is full of transitions that Harry encounters both magical and not. Time devoted to Harry's time in Muggle world continues to be lessen and his time in the Wizarding World before returning to Hogwarts, and he discovers that his new World is more than Britain as he attends the Quiddich World Cup and then interacts with international students at Hogwarts. Important characters, important magical objects, and other important facts are sprinkled into the narrative even before Harry's return to Hogwarts but the astute reader will notice their importance as events unfold. The deepening plot and maturing content in addition to the evil rising ending of the book finally sweeps away the "innocence" vibe earlier books had. "Goblet of Fire" is where darkness creeps into Harry's story and it'll only get darker.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the hinge book of the series, the overall story will never be as "light" as the earlier books and is about to get "dark" as the series continues. Rowlings expands her descriptions and adds new story lines for characters adding to the book's length while still keeping a good pace throughout. However the additions, while overall good, do not mesh well in Rowlings first attempt and as a result the book suffers a tad. But no matter the little flaws, this fourth installment of the Harry Potter series is still a good read.
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