Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third novel in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. In this book, the saga continues as Harry is faced with Dementors, soul sucking, bony creatures that bring icy depression into the wizarding world. Harry is introduced to Sirius Black, the most wanted wizard of the age; he befriends a hippogriff, a huge winged lion; he learns deep secrets hidden inside the minds of the people close to him which leads him to the truth.
The novel was published on July 8, 1999, in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury. Scholastic Inc. published it in the United States on September 8, 1999, just two months after the release in the UK. In the UK, it sold 68,000 copies in the first three days of release and since has sold over three million copies in the country. The first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, took five years to complete writing, while the second, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, took two years for Rowling. But she said this book, the Prisoner of Azkaban, was quite easy to write, taking only a year to finish. Rowling added that this book was "the best writing experience I ever had… I was in a very comfortable place writing [number] three. Immediate financial worries were over, and press attention wasn't yet by any means excessive". It won several awards, which includes the 1999 Whitbread Children's Book Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
The critical response had positive and negative reviews like any other book, but it usually seemed that the positive outruled the negative. In a newspaper review in The New York Times, it said that "'The Prisoner of Azkaban' may be the best 'Harry Potter' book yet". Others praised Rowling’s wit and charm in the story, while others thought the plot was predictable and “the suspense minimal”. But though the book faced some negative reviews, just as any other book does, it was still rapidly gaining fans around the world, and was eventually made into a very popular film in 2004, ranking number one in the box office for its first two weeks out. Many different editions were printed, including hardcovers, adult editions with a different cover than the original, and Bloomsbury released a Celebratory Edition, with a blue and purple border around the book. The book is a beloved treasure for many people and has found it’s way into many other people’s hearts and is still being read over and over again to this day.