When J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out, everyone said it was lame and tedious and angsty, plus it was obviously hugely bloated at 800+ pages, so I figured the series had begin the descent into sucking that afflicts all long-form fantasies, and wrote it off. Well, then J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out, and everyone said it was all awesome and interesting, plus it was somewhat shorter, so I reluctantly set forth to slog through the sucky book so I could get to the good one.
Only it turns out I didn’t have to, because Phoenix is one of the better Potter books, certainly far better than the first three. Best of all, it finally
retcons explains some of the stupider genre-convention background bits, and explicitly does away with the last remnants of the kidbook trappings. Frustrating at times, but worth it.
As for Prince, well, as I read it, it really felt just like a natural and smooth continuation of Phoenix, so I don’t have much to say about it separately. (I could launch into theories about the plot events, but I think it’s fairly clear to everyone that the obvious interpretation of events is thoroughly wrong, and there’s no point going on about obvious things, so I’ll skip it.)
In all, good stuff. This is still not the best fantasy of all time or anything, but since the fourth book, the Potter series has consistently been non-trashy fluff, and that’s good enough for me.