This is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series. It sat by my bedside for months. My friend Cheryl had loan me book three and four and after I got through book three, I just couldn't bring myself to read book four. It's a tome at over 700 pages. I wasn't sure if I was _that_ interested in Harry Potter's fourth year at Hogwarts.
It's not that I don't like the series, I do. I just don't LOVE it. They're great reads but slow for me since I'm not as gung-ho about getting to the next chapter as others might be. I love books that just capture me and have me thinking about what's coming next that I can't wait to read the next page, the next chapter.
To top it off, this one was on the heels of American Gods, another big MFer dealing with science fiction, my least favorite genre. I posted the AG review on May 15th, which would have been the day I started on HP. That's a long time, for me, to be reading one book.
So a brief description of the book, which is so funny for me to do since everyone in the world has read HP over and over and I'm the newbie.
The book begins with the story of how the Riddle family were found dead in their home. There was no sign of any murder: poisoning, stabbing, etc. Just a look of terror frozen forever on their faces.
We then enter Harry Potter's dreams, where he dreams that Voldemort has an aide, Wormtail, who is trying to resurrect his master with plans to take vengeance on Harry Potter.
Harry awakens, with excruciating pain upon his lighting bolt scar. This becomes the sign that Voldemort is either nearby, or has done something evil. In this case, he kills his groundsman, who is caught eavesdropping on Voldemart and Wormtail.
Before starting the fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry is able to stay with the Weasleys. A trip to the Quidditch World Cup is planned, one of the biggest events for wizards and witches. During the match, we are introduced to Viktor Krum, a talented Bulgarian Seeker that Ron and Harry become big fans of. But chaos ensues after the match, and the Death Eaters - followers of Voldemort who escaped punishment for supporting him - torture muggles and the "good" wizards/witches fight to save them.
During this chaos, a Death Mark - the sign of Voldemort - is presented and haunts the rest of the book. Who sent the Death Mark? And who threw Harry Potter's name into the Triwizard Tournament, a tournament that is supposed to be for three people from each of the wizardry schools?
That's right, Harry Potter becomes a fourth participant in the Triwizardy Tournament, not only one more than the required contender-ship but also under-aged. He, along with Cedric Diggory, Fleur Delacour and the Bulgarian Seeker, Viktor Krum.
The rest of the book outlines the three tasks that the competitors must do, as well as the strange occurrences that continue to add suspicion to the fact that someone is working for Voldemort to kill Harry Potter.
Harry remains unscathed throughout until the final moment of the third task, when Cedric and Harry reach for the tournament cup at the same time. This becomes a trap, as the cup is a portkey, an object that is a portal to a different place, and Cedric and Harry end up in Voldemort and Wormtail's vicinity. Cedric is killed immediately and Harry is left to watch (and contribute his blood) to the resurrection of Voldemort into a being. A duel between Voldemort and Harry takes place and amazingly, Harry is able to "conquer" by grabbing the portkey (along with Cedric's dead body) back to Hogwarts.
The moment is revealed that Voldemort is rising again, which is both frightening to most and disbelieving to others.
It was at those last several chapters that I was truly enrapt in the story. I guess my affinity for dark story plots is what makes me tick so, as sad as it was (and shocking to me!) to lose Cedric, it was a great, dark twist to what has been, so far, pretty light storytelling.
I was ready to start the fifth book, but alas, I do not have it. That's OK as I do have another book ready to read but I will need that fifth one very very very soon.