Picks and Pans Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

UPDATED 07/24/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/24/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

by J.K. Rowling

If you haven't been snoozing for the past few years, you may have heard about this boy wizard, Harry Potter, whose tales fascinate children and grown-ups alike. The first three of Rowling's magical Potter books have already sold some 21 million copies, creating such a hunger for Book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, that it sold nearly 4 million copies before the book's July 8 pub date. Is it up to snuff? The answer is a resounding yes.

In Goblet, 14-year-old Harry faces his greatest challenges so far, battling the evil Lord Voldemort and taking on a daring series of Herculean tasks to assure the triumph of friendship and trust over discord and enmity. And this time, Rowling forgoes the tedious exposition that stalled Books 2 and 3: The fuse is lit from the first paragraph, and nonstop action follows for the next 734 pages.

The climactic struggle begins when Harry returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the terrifying Triwizard Tournament and his name is plucked from the goblet of fire. He must prove his ingenuity and valor in a daunting series of trials. But it's not all doom and gloom. Rowling squeezes in more than a few good laughs as she moves toward the electrifying final confrontation.

Bottom Line: Absolutely enchanting—the best of the series

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