Customer Review

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How does she keep doing it?, 3 Aug 2005
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children's Edition (Harry Potter 6) (Hardcover)
Well I finished the Half Blood Prince last night and was again blown away by both the imagination and the quality of JK Rowling's writing, it was truly fantastic. I have been a huge fan of the series ever since I first picked up the Philosophers Stone, completely drawn into this fantastical world that she had created. I felt empathy with the characters, the environment, their strives and their joys. A story that is set in mythical place but with real feelings and real problems. Well maybe metaphors for real problems...
The Half Blood Price picks up directly where the Order of the Phoenix picks up and now, more than ever, feels like a piece of a bigger story rather than a stand-alone tale. The first 4 Harry Potter books did provide some direction as to where the overall story was going but were far more self contained. OOTP really stepped away from this and was much more in the style of a Lord of the Rings book, definitely a part of a whole. This is why I believe it was not as well received but will only be truly be judged when all 7 books have been completed. HBP is very much in the same vein but really points you more clearly than ever to the tasks that Harry most overcome to finally rid himself of the loathsome burdens that he must bear.
For the first time I felt I picked up upon a major twist in the story, after about 250 - 300 pages I had figured out who the Half Blood Prince was, although I didn't really believe it until it was written. This I feel I was deliberately allowed to figure out as once I began thinking this way I was really thrown off the scent of what was actually going to happen at the climax of the book, a really skilful piece of writing.
Speaking of the quality of the writing I do read of a lot of people detracting from it, saying it will never be a literary classic, or that it lacks the quality to ever really go down in history. What rubbish. The books people often benchmark this against (Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia) where written for the time period they served, just as HP is now written for people (not just children) of our time. History will make this a classic, too many people love it not to be.
I digress...
The story is definitely a slow burner, leading the reader to the inevitable finale but really taking its time getting there. This is no bad thing and I feel really adds weight to the book. I do believe JK Rowling is now struggling with the number of characters she has introduced and the many complex relationships that they undertake but I feel the saving grace here is the time we have had with each of them before. This allows us to create our own background and our own ideas on how they will act, with gentle nudging in the right direction...
The book is a real success, lengthy but not unnecessarily so. Be warned, the end is by no means expected and will catch you off guard. Those of nervous disposition be ready for some water works! Read this book in the context it was written and you will truly have finished what is one of the best books of its age.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Jul 2010 02:54:45 BDT
didi says:

Posted on 4 Sep 2010 20:03:52 BDT
Sarah says:
What an excellent review.....of what is in my estimation an excellent book!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Sep 2010 20:34:40 BDT
Chris Chalk says:
Why thank you very much! Couldn't agree more though, the book is fantastic!!

Posted on 1 Jan 2014 07:56:56 GMT
John Davison says:
I think the detractors have a point. I didn't really enjoy reading the series until I decided to get them all in French translation, thus polishing up my French while reading the books in a more graceful style - the French translation is more elegant than Ms Rowling's sometimes clunky prose. This is not to deny her amazing qualities as a writer, above all her genius for plot.
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