Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "The fourth Harry Potter adventure, centering on an inter-school competition, boasts details that are as ingenious and original as ever. A spectacular climax will leave readers breathless." Ages 8-12. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4 Up-Harry Potter is back in J.K. Rowling's fourth installment of his adventures (Scholastic, 2000). He is 14 years old and in his fourth year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the traditional Inter-House Quidditch Cup has been temporarily suspended so that the Triwizard Tournament can be held. Only three students, one from each of the biggest schools of wizardry, may compete, but the Goblet of Fire that chooses the champions from each school mysteriously produces a fourth nameDHarry Potter. As the school readies for the tournament, it becomes obvious to Harry's allies that Voldemort is plotting something dastardlyDbut only at the very end does he show his hand, springing a trap that Harry only narrowly escapes. Jim Dale, who has narrated the previous Harry Potter audiobooks, succeeds marvelously at the Herculean effort of voicing about 125 characters. By now, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid are so well known to him that his renditions of their voices are practiced and flawless. He also invests new characters such as Mad-Eye Moody and Winky with voices that enhance their already vivid personalities. Dale intones magical commands with such great authority that one would almost think he was a wizard himself. Twenty hours is a long time to listen to a book, but the combination of Rowling's enthralling adventure and Dale's limber narration will easily see kids through to the very last sentence.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 4 and up. Was it worth the long, agonizing wait and all the hype and hoopla? You bet! Harry's fourth challenging experience will more than live up to his myriad fans' expectations--though the 734 pages divided into 37 chapters may be a bit daunting to younger readers. The very length, however, allows an even richer tapestry of magical events and humorous escapades, even as the tale takes the long-predicted darker turn. The first chilling chapter introduces Voldemort's plans to regain the power lost in his ill-fated attempt to kill Harry: "Come, Wormtail, one more death and our path to Harry Potter is clear." Harry, now 14, has a crush on a classmate at Hogwarts, but his interactions with his friends Ron and Hermione take up far more of the story. The theme of prejudice is raised--Hermoines tries to raise awareness that the house elves are virtual slaves. But the big excitement comes from the news that the intramural quidditch matches are to give way to the first Triwizard Tournament in years, a series of three ordeals undertaken by students from three rival schools of magic, who are to be selected by a goblet of fire. Although not old enough to be a candidate, Harry is named a participant by the goblet. Someone must have entered his name--but who? The first ordeal involves dragons, the second water, and the third a maze, which is rigged to send Harry into the hands of his sworn enemy, Voldemort. Any inclination towards disbelief on the part of readers is swept away by the very brilliance of the writing. The carefully created world of magic becomes more embellished and layered, while the amazing plotting ties up loose ends, even as it sets in motion more entanglements. The long climax races relentlessly to a stunning denouement that leaves the way open for the next episode. Let the anticipation begin. --Sally Estes
Horn Book Review
(Intermediate) The fourth book in the Harry Potter phenomenon, at 734 pages, is what you call a wallow-one that some will find wide-ranging, compellingly written, and absorbing; others, long, rambling, and tortuously fraught with adverbs (""'What sort of objects are Portkeys?' said Harry curiously""). Year Four at Hogwarts finds Harry enjoined as the surprising fourth contestant in the Triwizard Tournament-""a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry""-during which he bests a dragon, rescues Ron from merpeople, and finds his way through a maze that, unbeknownst to Dumbledore and the powers of good, leads to the dark wizard Voldemort and to the death of one of the other contestants. Before and in between the book's major action (the tournament is not announced until page 186, and Harry's involvement not until page 271), Rowling explores her major theme of good vs. evil and her minor themes of the value of loyalty and moral courage and the evils of yellow journalism, oppression, and bigotry. We find out, for instance, that Hagrid is not just oversized but part-giant, which is considered a shameful heritage; we see Hermione being taunted as a ""mudblood"" for her mixed Muggle-wizard parentage. Rowling's emphasis here is much less on school life (not a single inter-house Quidditch match!) and much more on the wider wizard world and, simultaneously, on Harry's more narrow, personal world, as he has his first fight with Ron and asks a girl to his first dance. But on the whole the emotional impact is disappointingly slight. The death of the Hogwarts student causes nary a lift of the reader's eyebrow; the complicated explanation for Voldemort's infiltration of Hogwarts is fairly preposterous and impossible to work out from the clues given. The characterization, as well, seems to be getting thinner, with Dumbledore in particular reduced to a caricature of geniality. As a transitional book, however, Goblet of Fire does its job-thoroughly if facilely-and raises some tantalizing questions: Will Snape really turn out to be one of the good guys? What's the connection between Harry's and Voldemort's wands, between Harry and Voldemort himself? When Harry tells his tale of Voldemort's return, what does the fleeting gleam of triumph in Dumbledore's eyes signify? Stay tuned, Pottermaniacs, for Year Five. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
As the bells and whistles of the greatest prepublication hoopla in childrens book history fade, whats left in the clearing smoke is unsurprisingly, considering Rowlings track record another grand tale of magic and mystery, of wheels within wheels oiled in equal measure by terror and comedy, featuring an engaging young hero-in-training whos not above the occasional snit, and clicking along so smoothly that it seems shorter than it is. Good thing, too, with this page count. Thats not to say that the pace doesnt lag occasionally particularly near the end when not one but two bad guys halt the action for extended accounts of their misdeeds and motives or that the story lacks troubling aspects. As Harry wends his way through a fourth year of pranks, schemes, intrigue, danger and triumph at Hogwarts, the racial and class prejudice of many wizards moves to the forefront, with hooded wizards gathering to terrorize an isolated Muggle family in one scene while authorities do little more than wring their hands. Theres also the later introduction of Hogwarts house elves as a clan of happy slaves speaking nonstandard English. These issues may be resolved in sequels, but in the meantime, they are likely to leave many readers, particularly American ones, uncomfortable. Still, opening with a thrilling quidditch match, and closing with another wizardly competition that is also exciting, for very different reasons, this sits at the center of Rowlings projected seven volume saga and makes a sturdy, heartstopping (doorstopping) fulcrum for it. (Fiction. All ages)