Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
(Book 3)

77%

29 Critic Reviews

The main characters and the continuing story both come along so smartly...that the book seems shorter than its page count: have readers clear their calendars if they are fans, or get out of the way if they are not.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort, and might even have assisted in the deaths of James and Lily Potter—Harry Potter’s parents.

Now Black has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard him muttering in his sleep, "He’s at Hogwarts... he’s at Hogwarts."

Of course, Harry already had plenty to worry about. After inflating his nasty aunt and running away on the magical Knight Bus, he finds he’s being pursued by death omens at every turn. He receives two wonderful gifts: a top-of-the-line Firebolt broomstick, and the Marauder’s Map, a magical diagram of Hogwarts made by the mysterious “Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs.” Hermione disappears frequently, burdened down by a seemingly impossible course schedule. And the soulless Dementors have come to guard Hogwarts—supposedly to protect Harry from Sirius Black, but they terrify Harry more than the fugitive ever could.

To strengthen himself against them, Harry reaches out to Remus Lupin, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who was once a friend of his father’s. Lupin teaches Harry about the Patronus Charm, a defensive measure well above the level of magic generally mastered by wizards Harry’s age. But even with his broom, his map, his magic, and his loyal friends, Harry isn't safe.

Because on top of everything else, there’s a traitor hidden at Hogwarts...
 

About J. K. Rowling

See more books from this Author
J. K. (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling was born in Gloucestershire, U. K. on July 31, 1965. Rowling attended Tutshill Primary and then went on to Wyedean Comprehensive where she was made Head Girl in her final year. She received a degree in French from Exeter University. She later took some teaching classes at Moray House Teacher Training College and a teacher-training course in Manchester, England. This extensive education created a perfect foundation to spark the Harry Potter series that Rowling is renowned for. After college, Rowling moved to London to work for Amnesty International, where she researched human rights abuses in Francophone Africa, and worked as a bilingual secretary. In 1992, Rowling quit office work to move to Portugal and teach English as a Second Language. There she met and married her husband, a Portuguese TV journalist. But the marriage dissolved soon after the birth of their daughter. It was after her stint teaching in Portugal that Rowling began to write the premise for Harry Potter. She returned to Britain and settled in Edinburgh to be near her sister, and attempted to at least finish her book, before looking for another teaching job. Rowling was working as a French teacher when her book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published in June of 1997 and was an overnight sensation. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone won the British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year, was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award, and received a Commended citation in the Carnegie Medal awards. She also received 8,000 pounds from the Scottish Arts Council, which contributed to the finishing touches on The Chamber of Secrets. Rowling continued on to win the Smarties Book Prize three years in a row, the only author ever to do so. At the Bologna Book Fair, Arthur Levine from Scholastic Books, bought the American rights to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the unprecedented amount of $105,000.00. The book was retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for it's American release, and proceeded to top the Best Seller's lists for children's and adult books. The American edition won Best of the Year in the School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Parenting Magazine and the Cooperative Children's Book Center. It was also noted as an ALA Notable Children's Book as well as Number One on the Top Ten of ALA's Best Books for Young Adults. The Harry Potter Series consists of seven books, one for each year of the main character's attendance at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. All of the books in the series have been made into successful movies. She has also written Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Rowling's first novel for an adult audience,The Casual Vacancy, was published by Little Brown in September 2012.
 
Published January 1, 2000 by Bloomsbury Pub Ltd. 320 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure. Fiction
Bookmark Counts:
1
Want to Read
2
Have Read
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Critic reviews for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
All: 29 | Positive: 24 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

The main characters and the continuing story both come along so smartly...that the book seems shorter than its page count: have readers clear their calendars if they are fans, or get out of the way if they are not.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Feb 06 2015

In many ways this installment seems to serve a transitional role in the seven-volume series: while many of the adventures are breathlessly relayed, they appear to be laying groundwork for even more exciting adventures to come. The beauty here lies in the genius of Rowling's plotting.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Feb 06 2015

In this third installment in the projected seven-volume series, Sirius Black, imprisoned for killing 13 people with one curse, escapes from Azkaban. As he heads for Hogwarts, the chilling Dementors who trail him quickly descend upon the school.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Gregory Maguire on Sep 05 1999

Now this is good boyish thinking, putting first things first, and may be the secret to the success of the books: J. K. Rowling's fantasies celebrate a boy's relish in physical prowess as well as the more bookish values of moral and intellectual accomplishment...

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by imaginaryunicorn on Jan 23 2015

The Harry Potter series are described as 'children books', however, in my opinion, whether you're twelve or twenty two, I highly recommend them...The characters begin to get more developed and more complex, and an awful lot more interesting. I must warn you though, that once you begin, you'll find it almost impossible to stop!

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Honeypotterjc on Nov 15 2014

I loved it how it had family, reality elements and extremely dangerous, adventure parts - it made a great twist!!

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Sylvanians on Sep 24 2014

I enjoyed this book lots and lots as unexpected things happened, and I really wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I would recommend this book to people who like adventure, comedy and who believe in magic.

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Yvonne Zipp on Mar 28 2010

As Harry and his comrades Ron and Hermione grow up, so do their adventures. The third delves deeper into Harry's father's past and the nature of justice, while providing plenty of momentum for the next book.

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Pajiba

Above average
Reviewed by Rusty on Jul 01 2010

Overall, Prisoner of Azkaban works to set up a lot of the necessary relationships, backstory, and tension that will be needed later in the series. And begins to set up some of the personality flaws that will plague Harry for the rest of the series. Looking back on this whole series,

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About.com

Good
on Feb 08 2015

The story that J.K. Rowling presents to her readers in this third volume is brilliant...The characters are well developed, the mystery is hard to guess, and the themes are honest. An excellent book with a page-turning plot,

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Common Sense Media

Above average
on May 09 2014

Parents need to know that J.K. Rowling continues her great plotting and pacing, but this book's edgier themes will appeal more to older kids.

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KidsReads

Good
Reviewed by Shannon Maughan on Sep 11 2001

Come along as Harry not only faces off with Sirius Black, but finds out more about his family history --- and the fascinating history of Hogwarts. This crisply-paced fantasy will leave you hungry for the four additional Harry books that J.K. Rowling is working on.

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Fantasy Book Review

Good
Reviewed by Amanda White on May 16 2014

This book is another must read and Rowling continues to go from strength to strength. She has managed to write a series that has postmen living in fear of her next publication, such is the excitement and demand created as this remarkable series blooms.

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Story Snoops

Good
Reviewed by Jen on May 16 2014

This one was my favorite book in the Harry Potter series so far, because i have only read four books, i don't know about some stuff, so don't tell me. but i love Sirius Black. he is my favorite...

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The Literary Omnivore

Below average
Reviewed by The Literary Omnivore on Dec 14 2011

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the closest thing to a normal school year Harry’s had so far; this means that the plot feels like it’s just plodding along until Sirius Black shows up at the end.

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http://bestfantasybooks.com

Above average
Reviewed by AlyseG on Sep 24 2013

This book is when the Harry Potter books begin to get grown up, not only does Harry find himself faced with true deceit and terror, in a way that he never really has been before, he also begins to develop into a young man, finding his feet socially and even starting to find girls attractive.

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SF Book Reviews

Below average
Reviewed by TC on Mar 07 2002

I was expecting a bit of a love-thing between two of the characters (which aren’t Ron and Harry), I mean, they are teenagers in this book and a bit of awkward kissing under the invisibility cloak, would have been expected. Or maybe it’s just me, who’s an old pig and forgetting that he isn’t the intended audience for this book.

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Book Addiction

Good
Reviewed by Heather on Jan 25 2009

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite of the first three books in the series, not my favorite overall but my favorite of the first three.

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Fantasy Book Critic

Excellent
Reviewed by Achala Upendran on Mar 26 2014

Prisoner of Azkaban is, in my considered opinion, the most well-constructed of the Potter books. Rowling spins a very tightly woven story, each incident, comment, piece of information carefully placed and leading up to a truly spectacular, cathartic conclusion.

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Once Upon A Chapter

Good
Reviewed by Stephanie on May 29 2013

Of course at the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling twists the story and leaves us wanting to know so much more than she tells us

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Books: A True Story

Excellent
Reviewed by Jessica on Nov 25 2013

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was so fun to re-read because she does an excellent job of foreshadowing...I also noticed how good J.K. Rowling was at recapping the first two books very quickly and yet covered all the major things you needed to know.

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Reading to Know

Above average
Reviewed by Carrie on Mar 20 2014

It was, by far, the most entertaining title yet, and equally the most disturbing. I am very curious to see how this series plays out (careful not to spoil it for me, please!) but at the same time, I'm baffled as to how this series became so popular. I both know and don't know how this came to be.

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Once Upon A Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by Jo on Aug 01 2011

They're also gold. I am unable to put into words what I mean by gold, but Rowling's novels are just warmth and gold, and reading them feels like coming home.

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Murphy's Library

Above average
Reviewed by Maeva on Apr 30 2011

...I laughed a lot with Trelawney and her crazy talks. And I liked the fact that this book shows that not all the bad guys are Slytherins—something that people usually don’t remember whenever I say that I’d totally be a Slytherin if my owl hadn’t gotten lost on my 11th birthday!

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The Bawdy Book Blog

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer on Aug 27 2013

...Sirius Black…I never saw it coming, and I really enjoyed the twist that Rowling gave us, giving Harry a connection to his past, as well as setting him up for the future.

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Lucybird's Book Blog

Above average
on Aug 31 2011

...although interesting is not something I feel the need to explore, I would much rather read about Voldemort’s school days. I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t like Prisoner of Azkaban so much, it’s very light on Voldemort. Despite that I do think it’s important in Voldemort’s gradual rise to power

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http://www.feoamante.com

Above average
Reviewed by Shirley Muramoto on May 16 2014

...Rowling's message is not the primary focus of the book - Harry's story is. Her touch is not so heavy as to smother you with moral lessons. She keeps her focus on the tale.

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The Oaken Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by ANGELYA on May 17 2013

...Rowling is really coming into her own as a storyteller here and this is one of the most complex but enjoyable stories so far.

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Whimpulsive

Excellent
Reviewed by Suzi on Apr 06 2010

There is a tremendous amount of information, storylines and characters introduced in this book that become only more important later on. Even though Voldemort doesn’t make any direct appearance in this one, his history and Harry’s history are developed quite a bit.

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Reader Rating for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
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