Books: More Fun - and more frights...

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The Independent Culture
HAVING READ the first two Harry Potter books, I was only too pleased when I got my hands on the third. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Bloomsbury, pounds 10.99) tells the tale of how Harry escapes the horrible temper of the evil wizard Sirius Black and his unknown helper.

Harry heard that his own father - who is now dead - had been friends with Sirius at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Harry is now a pupil. And that after they both left school, Sirius had betrayed Harry's wizard father and mother to the dark Lord Voldemort - but ended up in the wizard prison, Azkaban. But Sirius Black has now escaped, and he is after Harry Potter.

Having discovered this, Harry does daring deeds and hatches dangerous plans to avenge his parents' death.

But to complicate matters, Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione are not sure if they should be avoiding Sirius Black or looking for him. Finally, having overcome all the odds, Harry gets a nasty surprise...

Harry's challenge involves detective work and sneaking out of bed at the dead of night. The book is different from the previous two, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by having a scarier plot, and scarier characters, like the prison guards, the Dementors of Azkaban, who suck out people's souls by using their most deadly weapon, the Dementors' Kiss.

It's funny as well. The horrible Dudley Dursley, a Muggle (non-wizard folk) brat who very unfortunately is Harry's cousin, complains about "the long walk between the fridge and the television in the living-room". I find this character very believable.

Frightening as well as panicky, the Harry Potter series are the best books I've read in ten years, and after all I guess I am only ten. This enthralling story will make you bubble with excitement, shiver at the thought of having a dagger at your throat and the scare of being pulled into secret passageways that you didn't even know about.

J K Rowling hasn't forgotten anything - the story, the dialogue and the descriptions are all absolutely scrumptious. She's done everything to give you a gripping read.

This fast-paced book is very funny and has a very complicated plot, but being so well written it works perfectly and I just devoured it. This writer has so far never let me down, and I'm betting she never will.