Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the Book, Not the Movie)

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
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.

And yet...

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.

My rating: 5 stars

Other reviews of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the book):

Book Nut ~ Bookish ~ Word Lily ~ In The Shadow of Mt. TBR
In Bed With Books

Reviewed this book (not the movie, please) and don't see your site listed above? Please leave a comment with the link to your review and I'll be happy to include it!


  1. Oh, how I love Harry Potter. Time to reread.

  2. I agree that any flaws in the writing are well made up for by the story. This and #3 are my favorite books, this one perhaps a tad more than #3. It's just so well done!!

  3. All this talk of Harry Potter is making me itch to read them again!

  4. I have to come back and read these as I am on book four but I know that you plan to enjoy the movie sometime today so I hope you have fun.

    Also, some rude lady at the pool during swim lessons blew the ending of the movie while chatting on her phone! I stared daggers at her but it didn't seem to occur to her what she had done. UGH!

  5. Oh I love Harry Potter. Each time I reread one of the books, I'm always astounded but how amazing they are. I've heard people complain about the writing, but the wizarding world is rich and fascinating! Great review. :)

    - Alex

  6. I agree that Rowling's writing of Snape is brilliant. What was really interesting to me in this book was Dumbledore. I think Rowling really shows his humanness in this book, not just for the obvious reasons. One of my favorite scenes is when he and Harry are in the cave and Harry must do whatever Dumbledore tells him to do. It was so difficult to see Dumbledore in such pain, but it almost made his character that much more real to me.

    It's interesting to see what everyone's favorite book is. Mine is actually five--probably because of how dark it is. I'm pretty sure I sobbed at the end of the novel...(and this one and 7).

  7. I've only read till Bk 3! But with HP Reading Challenge coming up in Aug, I hope I'll be able to catch up with the rest of the series (I'd probably re-read Bk 1-3). :P

  8. I also decided to re-read Half Blood Prince before the movie, then went ahead and just finished re-reading Deathly Hallows. I agree that Rowling really created an incredible world with this series, one that I think will become a classic.
    I was surprised how much I got from re-reading the books, things I had missed by devouring the books on their release. My favorite will still be the first book though, the introduction of the story of Harry Potter and the magical world of Hogwarts.

  9. I have an award for you


  10. At some point I hope to review them all too.... I think it will be easier now that I joined the Harry Potter challenge.

    I love them all and think as you do that JK Rowling is brilliant! I cant imagine what it must have felt like to watch her first book that she wrote out primarily in a coffee shop (because she couldn't afford hear in her apartment) and on napkins (because she couldn't afford paper).

    You are right - these are classics and how lucky for us to be part of the first readers!

  11. I honestly love The Half Blood Prince. It is my favorite book , Deathly Hollows is my second.
    I think the maturity the characters have reach to this book, their friendships as well. I agree about Severus Snape, the whole time 1-5 I was debating wether to trust him or not. Another character I love becuase of how insanely wicked she is is Bellatrix, I just love to hate her.
    Great review


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