I’m very annoyed with myself because I bought the new Harry Potter book yesterday. The fourth book may have won the Hugo award for best novel, but I found it disappointing. It stomped over the same ground as the first three books, and it didn’t deliver any significant growth in the characters. Magic, Quidditch, Voldemort. Wooo, scary. Like there was ever any whiff of danger involved, or the possibility of Harry not winning through in the end.
Oh, and the book was way too long. You don’t need 600 pages to tell that story. But what can you say to the goose that lays the golden eggs? “Get an editor with some fucking backbone?” I think not.
I’m really not looking forward to The Order of the Phoenix. It’s over 800 pages long. I’m dreading the thought of another year going by at Hogwarts without the characters evolving in some way. Sure, the books are classed as “children’s” fiction, and she may be writing for a young audience, but the fact is that a large proportion of Rowling’s readership are grown-ups, and grown-ups have different expectations of a book than children do. Her publisher recognizes this reality. Does J.K.?
So why did I buy it? A certain completist tendency, I suppose. And the hope that not all of the 800 pages will be wasted by fluff about talking statues and spooky hallways. The book is going to have to work really hard to please me. I’m disappointed in myself because I don’t usually even start a book unless I think I’m going to like it. But there just isn’t much hope there.