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

19 Jul

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By now, everyone knows the story of Harry Potter, the orphaned boy sent to live with his horrible aunt and uncle. When he finds out that he is a wizard on his eleventh birthday, his world changes forever, and not necessarily for the better.

While at first Harry is able to get away from the horrible existence he has with the Dursleys, the wizarding world has its own dark secrets underneath the surface that soon come to light.

Each book in the series has grown in size and in darkness, depth of story and character detail. Harry’s sixth year at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is no exception. In fact, this may be his darkest year yet.

At the end of Harry’s fourth year, detailed in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” Lord Voldemort had returned to life, regaining power and strength once more. At the end of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the second war had begun and no Witch or Wizard was safe.

At the beginning of “Half-Blood Prince,” two weeks after the ending of “Order of the Phoenix,” Harry is waiting for Albus Dumbledore to collect him at the Dursleys. While Harry is keen to leave, there is something inside him that doesn’t believe he will be able to escape the prison of the Dursleys after only two weeks. Harry is wrong, however, and is soon leaving number four Privet Drive after his shortest stay yet.

After helping Dumbledore bring a new teacher on staff, Horace Slughorn, Dumbledore takes Harry to the Burrow where he is to live out the rest of his summer with the Weasleys. Before entering the Burrow, however, Dumbledore informs Harry that he would like to have private lessons with him this year. When Harry presses Dumbledore on what he is going to be learning this year, Dumbledore is vague, but Harry suspects it has to do with the prophecy he heard the year before: “Neither can live while the other survives…”

With Dumbledore’s private lessons on the horizon, two new staff appointments and Lord Voldemort alive and wreaking havoc on the Muggle and Wizarding world alike, it looks as if Harry’s sixth year will be his most exciting – and dangerous – yet…

Of course, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the plot of this book. To go into further detail would ruin the book for the one or two people in the world who still haven’t read “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” For those people, I say only this: What are you waiting for?

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” actually topped my previous favorite book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and that’s saying something. While I found “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” to lag in places and a bit too long, I found “The Half-Blood Prince” to zoom along at lightning quick pace. I was finished the book before I knew it and wondered, vaguely, where the rest of it was. Surely, the book couldn’t just end like that, could it?

“Half-Blood Prince” is the best book in the series so far. It’s got action, danger, laughs, love, a painful death; all the things that make fiction great. As well, character development is at an all time high. Gone is surly, angry Harry. The Harry we know and love is back. All the characters are growing up; they are now sixteen years of age.

Though some reviewers didn’t care for the kissing scenes, I felt that they lent a realism to the character development. Rowling is letting her characters grow up along with the readers, instead of having them remain static. This should be heralded instead of looked down upon.

I read the book three times in a row before I felt sated enough to put it down. I figured I had waited two years for this book and I was going to read it as many times as I wanted, thank you very much. Now, with another two year wait for the conclusion to what are the best books I have ever read, I can only wonder this: What will happen next? Only time will tell…

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