We made it to Book Two, everyone!
I know a lot of readers have been looking forward to this one; it seems to be a favourite of the series for many. I can certainly see why – this book’s villain is easily the best by about a million miles, poses an actual threat, is actually scary and causes actual harm. There’s a genuine air of fear at the height of things. That’s all great, but for me personally I think this book still isn’t going to hold up. Before we even start I can think of two or three serious plot holes that make it impossible for all those lovely praiseworthy parts to ever happen in a coherent story, which is a shame.
[Mitchell adds: I’m also really curious to see how this one plays out. When I was young this was my least favourite book of the series, though some of the reasons I disliked it are strengths in retrospect: for instance, I think I didn’t like the tone, and the tension and fear that characters could come to actual harm. So looking back I think it has a lot to recommend it that I missed, and it could surprise me in a good way… but at the same time, there are also a lot of deeply problematic and stupid things that happen in this book, and most of the individual scenes I remember are infuriatingly bad.]
That said, it’s still almost certainly going to be the high point of the series [we decided in discussion we think either this book or Order of the Phoenix is the strongest, not that that’s necessarily saying much] and is probably the least awful of the seven, so let’s take a look at the two editions your writing team here are using for this, under the cut. Read the rest of this entry »