Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  - Mary GrandPré, J.K. Rowling
I enjoyed this one far more than the first two because I think it had a much better balance.
Prisoner of Azkaban still had all the fun of the first two books in the series, but it also had a heavier, darker tone as well.
The threat of Voldemort returning gets more serious with each book it seems, and that holds true for this one as well.
Once again, I am in awe of the genius known as Hermione. I don't understand why she isn't in Ravenclaw. I can't imagine taking all those extra classes.
I wish we could have seen more of Hagrid as a teacher. Too bad Malfoy had to ruin it for him so early on. I was very interested in seeing what other creatures he could come up with for the class. He'd played such a big role in the first two books, that I expected, as a teacher, he would be more present. Still, I'm glad Buckbeak made a get-away with Sirius.
There is another character I'm grateful for the introduction of. I think it's wonderful that Harry has a parental figure in his life, even one that's on the run from the Ministry for murder and whatnot. It's great that he finally has someone who is interested in his well-being. I want to know more about his life at the school with James and Lupin.
I feel so bad for poor Ron, losing Scabbers like that. I mean, it wasn't his fault, but I would feel responsible having Peter under my nose like that all that time and never thinking anything of it. It reminds me of book 1 where he tried to turn him yellow. I can only imagine what would have went through Peter's mind while Ron was trying to experiment on him.
I think we get to know Snape better here too, and his motivations for always trying to help Harry into trouble. While I think he's being childish and simply holding a grudge against the wrong person, I understand it.
Once again, I want Malfoy to get it. He simply isn't happy unless he is hurting someone else. It makes me wonder what he would do if there were no other Muggles at the school or in the wizarding world. Would he turn on other purebloods?
I really wish we could have seen more actual magic here. I mean, we get to see plenty of magic, but I'd like to see them do spells, just simple ones in class.
I think the map is brilliant and hope that Harry and friends find ways to use it in the future. I'm sure they will. I think his father would be proud of all the mischief he's been getting into. :)
I think it's dumb that Lupin is leaving the school. It seems stupid that parents of wizards would be so concerned about their child being taught by a werewolf. He has it under control and he didn't hurt anyone.
Looking forward to the next book. The tension is growing and I'm eager to see where it leads.