Most helpful positive review
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An absolutely riveting, unparalleled success
on June 21, 2006
It is quite hard to believe just how good Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is; the first three books, all of which impressed me deeply, seem almost forgettable compared to this intense fourth entry in the series. This is as rich a reading experience as you will find, no matter what your age. The storyline as it exists at the end of this mammoth epic has more of a hold on me now, as an adult, than the Star Wars saga had on me as a kid, which is saying a great deal, I assure you. One barely knows where to start one's praises of this book; yes, it does have both dark overtones and undertones to it, yet it also boasts some of the funniest moments of the series. We learn a great deal more about the major characters and turn our attention to new attractions such as the unique new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Mad-Eye Moody. Events in magical circles outside of Hogwarts increase the landscape of Rowling's magical world many times over as we are given insight into the workings of the Ministry of Magic, are treated to the best seat in the house at the Quidditch World Cup championship, and are introduced to two wholly new magical schools in foreign locations. The pattern one might have come to expect of Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts is thrown immediately out of the window; there are no school Quidditch matches this year, nor is there even an inter-house cup competition. Instead, Professor Dumbledore makes the extraordinary announcement that the Triwizard Tournament has not only been reinstituted after many years, it will take place at Hogwarts. Only sixth- and seventh-year students are eligible to compete, seeming to leave Harry Potter quite out of the mix, which is fine by him. A Goblet of Fire decides which of the volunteers from each school will compete as its Champion, but this quite impartial judge surprises everyone by selecting a certain familiar, fourth year student for the competition. What follows is a roller coaster ride of a year, with Harry enduring more trials and troubles than ever before: his friendship with Ron threatens to end forever, he faces incredibly difficult tasks that may or may not serve as a means by which someone can kill him, a thoroughly sleazy tabloid reporter makes his and his friends' lives all but unbearable on a number of occasions, and he faces perhaps his biggest challenge of all: having to ask a girl to accompany him to the Yule Ball. Oh, a certain arch enemy also rears his ugly head once again.
This is a large book, obviously; it gets off to something of a slow start, taking 171 pages just to get Harry to Hogwarts to start the new year. Have no fear, though, because the novel then sucks you in so deeply that you may be unable to get out of it, should you even want to. The length of the book quickly becomes a comfort to you, as you will not want this book to ever end. End it shall, however, with an incredibly intense final 125 pages that will leave you gasping for breath, roiling in shock, and surging with adrenaline. Anyone unable to understand why untold millions of addicted fans have been climbing the walls for three years waiting for Book 5 have simply not read this book. Events of quite drastic proportions have been set in motion now, and the end of Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts holds little resolution to it. There are dark days ahead and a significant number of plot points appear on the horizon. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are growing up, with normal teenaged issues already beginning to manifest themselves, Hogwarts is in something of a tizzy over the culminating events of the completed school year, and the whole world of magic shows every sign of being in utter disarray. The world of Harry Potter has never been more intense, exciting, and portentous as it is at the end of this unbelievably good book.