Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pub Date: July 2005, Scholastic, Inc.
Hardcover, 652 pages
The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate -- and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So it's the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort -- and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.My Thoughts (WARNING: Spoilers ahead)
When I started this blog, I never really thought that I would ever review any of the Harry Potter books. I've read and re-read them so many times and I know that many of you have read them as well, so I rather thought there wouldn't be much of a point in reviewing any I happened to read. As it so happens, I like to re-read a Harry Potter book when its movie is coming out, and because I am in the habit of reviewing everything I read these days, I figured I couldn't very well leave this one out.
I have to say that I truly think Rowling's entire series is a masterpiece that is already a classic in its own time. Vividly written, though not necessarily perfectly written, the tales of Harry Potter never seem to disappoint (yes, some are better than others), and the Half-Blood Prince is no exception. I have to say that I was glad that this book did not have the angst-ridden quality that The Order of the Phoenix did--that was probably my least favorite of these books. Of course, the story continues to get darker, as we come closer to understanding more about Voldemort (or should I say, You-Know-Who?) and what it will take to defeat him. In my opinion, Rowling is an expert at keeping a reader on his or her toes and turning pages to discover the unfolding events. Even though I have read this book at least once or twice, I still found my heart pounding during some of the more suspenseful moments, and it is always emotional to read about the death of everyone's beloved Dumbledore. And of course, there's Severus Snape--he's got to be one of the best characters ever composed on paper. Never have I read about someone and waffled back and forth constantly on whether or not to trust him (or her), and even still you cannot be 100% certain of the truth after reading this book.
One of the things that shines through in this book is the strong friendship between our main trio: Harry, Ron and Hermione. Through all the books and adventures, Ron and Hermione have stood by Harry, though that does not mean they have always agreed with him. And at the end of this book, when we know that Harry can't possibly return to Hogwarts for his seventh year, we can rely on Ron and Hermione helping him on the next and final stage of this incredible journey.
Reading this book has made me long to pick up The Deathly Hallows--the only Harry Potter book that I have not read at least twice (well, I did listen to part of it a second time on a car trip). Whenever I sit down to read one of these books again, I'm amazed that I could have forgotten the incredible world that Rowling has created and so brilliantly painted on these pages. Even before the movies were born I could imagine the scenes and the events that took place. I personally did not start reading these books until well after The Goblet of Fire had been released, but it did not take me long to realize that I was reading a series that could very well become my all-time favorite. And The Half-Blood Prince could very well be considered the most important book of the series, though my own favorite is probably The Deathly Hallows... In my opinion, any flaws that can be found with Rowling's writing pale when you realize the incredible story she has told in these seven books.
Other reviews of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the book):