Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
It is the summer holidays again and Harry Potter is once more with his Muggle aunt, uncle, and cousin. His third year at Hogwarts is approaching. One of the perks third year students are allowed is to leave campus and visit the nearby wizard's village of Hogsmead. Harry wangles a method to have his Uncle Dursley sign the permission slip to leave campus. But something with his deal goes wrong and he runs away, hoping the Ministry of Magic won't expel him from Hogwarts.
He is able to get to the wizards in London and is inexplicably forgiven. There he meets Ron and Hermione and all are ready for their third year of wizard's school. They also learn that an escaped convict the Muggles are seeking is actually one of their own who escaped from the most feared magician's prison, Azkaban. Harry overhears Ron's parents talking about him. The convict is seeking Harry. Sirius Black was involved in the death of Harry's parents. Now he is out for revenge for his master, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Even if Harry had obtained permission, the instructors and staff at Hogwarts would not let him off school grounds. They feel that is the only place he will be safe. The strange guards from Azkaban are on guard outside the school. Harry, Hermione, and Ron all get on with their studies. Hermione acts oddly with her classes and over her new familiar, a cat. Soon Ron and Hermione are enemies because the cat keeps attacking his familiar, a rat. Between classes, Ron and Hermione, Hagrid, the guards, special studies with the Dark Arts teacher, and the Quidditch games, Harry is kept very busy. Yet Black is trying to get into the school and to Harry.
This is the third of the Harry Potter series. It is written for older children (9 and up, I believe) yet can be enjoyed by adults as well. Rowlings adds more strange and frightening creatures, the worst being the guards, or Dementors. They rule by sucking the happiness out of humans. This tends to make humans go mad under their care. They frighten Harry more than the thought of Black does. They are eerie. This is another fun bit of fantasy, and these should best be read in order, starting with Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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