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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Arthur A Levine Books (An imprint of Scholastic)    Date: 2000

The artistry of the dust jacket is clearly the work of the same artist of previous jackets. Unlike the jacket for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, this jacket has more figures featured. It presents Harry as a central figure on the front with three other characters behind him. These characters, it is revealed, are pivitol to the development of the story. Also there is a reference to one of the major challenges of the story that stretches from the front to the back of the dust jacket. A secondary character that is present from the previous two books is also depicted on the front cover, suggesting that they also have a cruicial role in the development of the story.  There is a contrast between Harry and the other figures putting him in high relief compared to the others, drawing the eye back to the center of the image.

The cover is a burnt orange color with a harlequin pattern impressed into it. The harlequin pattern appears to be a unifying theme between the books of this series along with the use of the same font for the title on the spine. The spine of the book is covered with black fabric. It is printed with copper colored ink with the title and volume number of the book. The inside covers of the book are a royal purple. It has the same hand as the pages of the text proper. It is a smooth page that appears to be of standard quality. The text of the title page and the chapter headings is the same as in the other books. Also, the artwork depicted at the head of each chapter continues to present some element of the chapter's focus. It is clearly depicted by the same artist who has been producing the covers and the sketches in the other books.

The story opens with a significant bit of action. While it is a bit of a departure from the other books, it is handled well and gives the reader the feeling of the excitement of the characters. As the first signs of the larger conflict of the series becoming more threatening are presented, the excitement turns to unease. This then returns to excitement as the true conflict of the book is revealed. The development of the themes of struggle and Harry facing odds that are against him are presented from the outset of the book rather than a few chapters in. This shows that Rowling expects her readers to have a familiarity with Harry and the wizarding world.

At the same time, this expectation of familiarity does not exclude those who may be coming to the series for the first time with this book. The characters are presented in an efficent fashion that highlights their strengths and role within the story. The use of the specialized language that Rowling has developed for her world is something that can be understood through inference. When it is not something that the reader can determine through context, Rowling presents a brief explanation of the term in a fashion that is seamless and coherent with respect to the storyline. Her development of the mechanics of her world are logical and do not feel contrived.

The storyline is presented boldly. While there are elements that seem to take the reader on tangents, these departures have a logical place within the larger story arc of the series. She gives the reader an immersive experience and uses language that can be readily understood by her readers. The complexity is a bit more increased compared to the first three books but it is still well within the young adult range.

Rowling's ability to paint a detailed world and people it with three dimensional characters really begins to shine in this book as the larger story arc of the series begins to become more complex and have a greater influence over the storyline of the individual books. She balances the needs of the two storylines well and manages not to leave the reader in a place of confusion as to how they fit together. This is a sign of an author who has done a great deal of work plotting out her books and careful attention to that plan in their construction. From a technical standpoint, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is clearly the work of a mature artist within their element.

Rating:  8 / 10