I managed to finish off the last dozen or so chapters of Order of the Phoenix early this morning around about 1:15 AM. All told I probably devoted around 15 or so hours to reading the whole book. So why’d it take so long to finish it? I think it’s partially due to being ADD. I don’t tend to read books every single day even when they’re really good. I get distracted by other things such as a video game or something I thought of in terms of web design that I want to test or whatever and I don’t think to pick the book back up for several days. We went out to rent videos last night, but there wasn’t anything that we really wanted to see so we came home thinking we’d go to a movie. By then it was after 8PM and everything we wanted to see didn’t have another showing until around 10PM so that canceled those plans. There wasn’t anything on TV I wanted to watch so I picked the book back up around page 523 and finished it off.
It’s not my favorite out of all the books so far, but not because it’s isn’t a great story. When you get done with it you’re left with a very melancholy feeling whereas most of the previous books left you feeling pretty upbeat. Given how the story unfolds that’s as it should be as Harry has probably his worst year ever at Hogwarts. Every time you think things couldn’t possibly get any worse, they do. The book does a great job of fleshing out a lot of the characters and the history of the series and Rowling does an amazing job of bringing it all to life. Characters that at one point in time where little more than comic relief, such as Neville, grow and take on new dimensions that make them indispensable to the story.
I want to compare it favorably with The Empire Strikes Back from the original Star Wars trilogy in that it wasn’t my favorite of the first three films, but was probably the best of the three in terms of story and character development. The ending of that movie also left you with a somewhat melancholy feeling. I can’t even begin to imagine how they could hope to turn book 5 into a movie that would do the book justice, but by then the film franchise may have run out of steam so I won’t worry about it for the moment. If you loved the first four books then you’ve probably already picked this one up. If you still haven’t looked in on Harry’s world, though, then this is just one more good reason to get started.