5 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Snape kills Dumbledore,
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (Hardcover)
This is an absolutely awesome book, and fully deserves to be in a league of its own. It is on the verge of replacing Prisoner of Azkaban as my favourite tome in the series. As with its predecessors, I was hooked from the first page, but I rather feel that stylistically, this is a more refined work.
Rowling creates an action-packed story, pulsing with energy; the plot is carefully interwoven with the rest of the story. Whereas Order of the Phoenix tended to drag in places, there is never a boring moment with Half-Blood Prince - each chapter is used wisely. Along with the usual mysteries and dark undertones, the book also has a humorous edge to it, and I was surprised to find that, given the gravity of the situation currently facing the wizarding world (they are on the brink of all-out war), Rowling still manages to create pure laugh-out loud moments. Watch out for the mishaps and mayhem created by Felix Felicis -surely the coolest potion to date. There is a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and we eventually learn why the position is jinxed. We see the return of many other characters we might have missed - Fred and George (the best), Lupin, Tonks, Bill... (and Fleur Delacour!), for what might be the last time.
Moreover, what made this book so intriguing was the fact that we are finally getting some answers. We learn about Voldemort's past in detail, as well as the secret to his "immortality". Harry is no longer angry at not being privy to information; rather, he is overwhelmed by the amount of information he is receiving. He has matured considerably since his 5th year, and is much better at keeping his emotions in check. He is now a hero in the wizarding world once again, as the truth about Voldemort's return has been discovered, and has to cope with a plethora of female fans at Hogwarts. In fact, the whole series is, I suppose, being targeted at a more grown-up audience now; the characters are very hormonal in this book, and if I have one criticism, it might be that Rowling overdoes this slightly. The love potion imbroglio is, however, hilarious.
Actually, I think I have more than one criticism: this book should have seen Harry growing more powerful as a wizard. We knew from HP5 that he is ultimately going to come face to face with Voldy- but how on Earth will he survive?! Let's face it, he is a pretty average wizard as far as abilities go. He has plenty of courage and love, but he has no defences. I am interested to see how the story will progress in the seventh book, as the nature of HBP is such that there are certain things Harry must do in the seventh book if he is to have any hope whatsoever of finishing off Voldemort. To do these "things" (cough *find horcruxes* cough) he will need immense knowledge and skill. Which he does not have at the moment. Hmmm
The death of Dumbledore and its aftermath (Oh, come on....you must have heard by now, so there's no point keeping it a secret) is one of the most moving moments in the series. Harry slowly comes to the realisation that those who care about him, and try to protect him, inevitably end up dying. It is time for him to seek out his "destiny" (if you can call it that -there is an element of confusion here - you'll find out if you read the book) on his own; nobody else is going to fight his battles for him (very "Spiderman" but it breeds dramatic irony). The pace is increasing, and the excitement is mounting - all preparing for what I hope will be a brilliant culmination in book seven.
So, in conclusion, I would say that if you are a normal person, and not too highly strung, and not determined to compare every page with Lord of the Rings (the two series are too different to compare.....get a grip), this book will definitely not disappoint. Expect a book seven à la Da Vinci Code (and that's all I'll give away, I promise.....apart from the fact that RA.B. = Regulus Black. Hahaha. Yes, I know. I am a schadenfreude.)