Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

ISBN: 9780545582995
Source: Purchased
Series: Harry Potter #6
Release Date: July 16, 2005
Find it on Goodreads
See my reviews of other books in this series


The war against Voldemort is not going well; even the 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 with all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate—and lose a few eyebrows in the process. 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.

*(If you have not read the previous books, please be advised that there may be spoilers for all previous books in this series)*
I think we can all agree that the basics are all the same in this series. You can't arrive at your review of the sixth book and pretend that you'll be saying anything new about the writing, world building, characters and development, plot progression and execution, etc. As always, all of these elements are impeccable in this sixth and second-to-last installment.

I enjoyed it a bit more than the last one because our teenagers are feeling a little less angsty and are just about on the brink of adulthood. Well, Hermione and Ron, by wizarding standards, have or will have come of age during or shortly after this book, having turned 17. Harry will follow, of course, in July of the seventh book, which is usually where our books pick up. We have some added romance by way of Ron and Lavender... uh.. and Hermione, and Harry and Ginny. I don't particularly think romance is a strong suit for Rowling - she really is a genius by way of mystery and fantasy, but I didn't completely buy the Harry-Ginny thing. I've always felt a bit like that and I really made an effort to connect with them a bit more this time to see if I was maybe missing something, but I feel like I only made a small bit of progress. I like the idea of it, of favorite characters in a favorite series being together. I just didn't like the execution and didn't really feel much of the chemistry with them.

I've never really felt that way about Hermione and Ron because their feelings for eachother are hinted at earlier on in the series and its easy to accept what you've been hoping for all that time. However, I did realize that I didn't feel much in the way of chemistry on that front either, but like I said, it just is... meant to be... so it didn't really bug me.

The ending of this book still shocks me to the core no matter how many times I've read it or watched it play out on the big screen. I just hate it, though I know it serves a much bigger purpose. I tried hard to study Snape and his actions and dialogue, because really, we all know what happens, but I'd just like to understand it better. Something I've never understood, even from book one, was Snape's rage and hatred toward Harry... or well, anyone who isn't like Snape himself, I guess. I get the whole thing with his dad and the friends, but come on. Aren't we all grown ups here? Well, again, I know it all serves a higher purpose, but its something I could never quite come to terms with. I can understand being cold and detached, but there were times throughout the series that Snape was downright cruel and even in this book, knowing what we know about book 7... I guess I won't go getting all spoilery for the random person living under a rock who hasn't read the book.

There isn't much else to say about this book other than how much I loved it and truly enjoyed it deep down in my bones. I've only read the last two books once before so I loved going through it all again, being able to study the parts that once confused me and really see deeper into the books. Though it was heartwrenching, it was enchanting and wonderfully done and I think it did the series justice.

     RATING: ★★★★★
Its still going to take some time for me to figure out how I feel about it in reference to the other books. Definitely more toward the top of the list and there are only 7, so its not like they can all be my favorite.

Silly question, but have you read book 6 in the Harry Potter series yet? If so, have you read it recently? Do you agree or disagree with the points I've made about the story? Did you love it just as much as I did a? Love talking HP, so lets hear it!


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