Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover, 607 pages, 2005

Rating: 10/10

Reason for Reading: C’mon, the real wonder is how I managed to wait a whole month for it to come in at the library.

Synopsis: The evil Lord Voldemort is growing stronger by the day, causing harm in the world of wizardry through his followers, the Death Eaters. Harry Potter’s school, Hogwarts, is supposed to be one of the best-protected places there is because of the powerful headmaster, Dumbledore, as well as a series of spells and charms placed on the school grounds to prevent trouble from getting in…But what if Harry’s suspicions are right and someone is working their evil from inside the grounds?

Why you should read this book: This might be the best book yet in the series – it’s full of action, great characters, suspense, mystery, and a struggle of good against an uncompromising evil force. And thank goodness, Rowling is finally catching on that ‘showing’ is better than ‘telling’ and letting the plot actively happen rather than resorting to rambling 20-page explanations of what’s been going on in the story out of Harry’s view. If you found the first few books in the series too ‘kiddie’ for your tastes and you stopped reading them, watch the movies and then read the later books, because they grow more complex and sophisticated as the characters age. And now, the cruel wait for the final book…Yep, this is the point where I almost wish I hadn’t heard of the books (ha!) until a month before book seven was about to be published.

Why you should avoid this book: Rowling’s writing still can be a bit clunky, but it’s hard to care when you’re zooming through the book to find out what happens. As for parents with young children hooked on the series, you might want to read through the book yourself to see if they’re ready for Harry’s teenage angst/love interests.

Opening paragraph:

It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind. He was waiting for a call from the president of a far-distant country, and between wondering when the wretched man would telephone, and trying to suppress unpleasant memories of what had been a very long, tiring and difficult week, there was not much space in his head for anything else. The more he attempted to focus on the print on the page before him, the more clearly the Prime Minister could see the gloating face of one of his political opponents. This particular opponent had appeared on the news that very day, not only to enumerate all the terrible things that had happened in the last week (as though anyone needed reminding) but also to explain why each and every one of them was the government’s fault.

Fabulous quotes:

Slughorn gazed into space for a moment or two: he seemed to be thinking over Harry’s words.
‘Well, yes, it is true that He Who Must Not Be Named has never sought a fight with Dumbledore,’ he muttered grudgingly. ‘And I suppose one could argue that as I have not joined the Death Eaters, He Who Must Not Be Named can hardly count me a friend…in which case, I might well be safer a little closer to Albus…I cannot pretend that Amelia Bones’s death did not shake me…if she, with all her Ministry contacts and protection…’
Dumbledore re-entered the room and Slughorn jumped as though he had forgotten he was in the house.
‘Oh, there you are, Albus,’ he said. ‘You’ve been a very long time. Upset stomach?’
‘No, I was merely reading the Muggle magazines,’ said Dumbledore. ‘I do love knitting patterns. Well, Harry, we have trespassed upon Horace’s hospitality quite long enough; I think it is time for us to leave.’
Not at all reluctant to obey, Harry jumped to his feet. Slughorn seemed taken aback.
‘You’re leaving?’

His Shield Charm was so strong Snape was knocked off-balance and hit a desk. The whole class had looked round and now watched as Snape righted himself, scowling.
‘Do you remember me telling you we are practicing non-verbal spells, Potter?’
‘Yes,’ said Harry stiffly.
‘Yes sir.’
‘There’s no need to call me “sir,” Professor.’
The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying. Several people gasped, including Hermione. Behind Snape, however, Ron, Dean and Seamus grinned appreciatively.
‘Detention, Saturday night, my office.’ said Snape. ‘I do not take cheek from anyone, Potter…not even the Chosen One.’

Also recommended: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman; The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman; The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman; Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie.

Also by this author: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Quidditch Through the Ages; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Author’s website: jkrowling.com

Fun tidbit: Katie Leung had to beat over 3,000 other girls to win the role of Cho Chang for the next Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Would I read more by this author? What, you think I’d read the first six books but not the final Potter book?

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2005

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