In order to properly describe my reading experience with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I'd like to talk briefly about another, unrelated book.
The seventh and final book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, entitled The Last Battle, is perhaps one of the most frustrating books I've ever read. Strangely enough, it's also the most gratifying of the series. For what must be easily three quarters of the book, the reader is forced through one bad event after another. No hope ever presents itself and all seems lost. At one point, I seriously considered putting the book down for good. Thankfully, I didn't do so. The final quarter of the book makes the difficulty of the first three quarters worthwhile.
The Order of the Phoenix has a similar resonance with me. Much darker than the previous volumes, the fifth installment of the Harry Potter series is a frustrating read at first. Bad fortune seems to follow Harry around, affecting everyone around him. This makes the reader's job an unpleasant one. Thankfully, about two-thirds of the way through the book, things begin to turn around. As with the previous installment of the series (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), this book ends on a rather melancholy note. This makes me a little anxious about what's to come in the final two volumes, especially the final one.
All in all, I'm really enjoying the series; much more than I thought I would originally. These books have rekindled my interest in reading, which I'm excited about. I used to read all the time when I was younger, but my efforts have been focused elsewhere for the past several years. Thankfully, that spark has been ignited again. I'm already thinking about what to read after I conclude the Potter series. Maybe I'll take a stab at the Lord of the Rings books...