Another winner by J. K. Rowling. This book again was very in-depth and strongly emotional. It seamlessly continues the story of Harry Potter as he ends the summer and begins his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
At the end of the summer, Harry is invited to the Weasleys’ house to attend the Quidditch World Cup being held in England for the first time in a number of years. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are impressed by the game and are eager to talk about it afterwards. However, terror reigns in the camps around the arena as Death Eaters enter and begin to torture muggles. The Dark Mark appears in the sky and everyone scatters. No one knows what to make of it and people leave the game feeling very uneasy.
At school, they announce the Triwizard Tournament will be held at Hogwarts, inviting two other schools to join them on the Hogwarts campus. The tournament is known for its deadly tasks, and there is an age limit for those who can sign up to enter. Somehow, Harry’s name is entered and selected, making him the second champion from Hogwarts which has never happened before. Throughout the school year, the champions participate in three deadly tasks to show their skills and bring glory to their school. The champions are Fleur Delacoure, Viktor Krum, Harry, and Cedric Diggory. There is a lot of division within Hogwarts about who to support – Cedric or Harry. There is also a lot of strain placed on the friendships that are present throughout the book. A journalist is constantly digging up gossip on the people at Hogwarts causing additional problems, as well as strange goings on at the Ministry of Magic. In the end, Harry finally comes face to face with Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and the truth about the past and who he is meant to be.
You can see the students growing into teenagers. There are several themes present that were there before. Lust, attraction, jealousy, poverty, and mistrust begin to develop in this book. The characters are rounding out well and you are really getting to know what they are truly like deep down. You learn who supports Voldemort and who doesn’t. You get a lot of the backstory of what happened as the reign of Voldemort ended and how it is impacting the things going on in the book. Everything is starting to get tied together. Sirius Black begins to get woven in to the story and you learn more about Severus Snape. Dumbledore as well begins to show some of his history and power. It is quite a heartwrenching book. The emotions run so strongly throughout you are constantly being pulled in different directions on who to side with. I actually would have loved to see part of this book told from Hermione’s point of view. She is becoming quite an interesting character. As a woman, I would be interested to see how she viewed everything and what she was feeling and going through at different points in this book. I understand why the book has to be told from Harry’s point of view, but it would be interesting to see.
I would not recommend this book to anyone under seventh grade. The themes, the characters, and the darkness of the story line are too advanced for someone of younger years. However, as an adult reader I felt I could much more easily relate to this book as the characters are starting to grow up and see the world through the eyes of an adult. I had trouble deciding whether to rate this book with a 4 or a 5. I went with a four only because I am hoping the next books are even better.