on 17 July 2005
It was always going to be hard for JK Rowling to live up to all the hype surrounding the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but I think that she has managed it. Darker than the earlier episodes, the sixth book nevertheless has many humorous moments and plenty of Rowling's brilliant one-liners.
Many of the problems suffered by book five were avoided here. The pacing is much better, without any sense of dragging or redundancy. If anything, the detail is a little sparse, rather than overdone. The plot is also kept in sight at all times, with Harry receiving instruction from Dumbledore as the major plotline, and shifty behaviour from his old enemy Draco Malfoy as the secondary line.
As with Order of the Phoenix, there is a strong ending, including a couple of blinding plot twists that have left fans astounded. While the major character death isn't a complete surprise, the circumstances surrounding it and the consequences are - not to mention the identity of the Half-Blood Prince!
Some characters introduced in earlier books here are rather neglected, probably felt most accutely as this story is plot-driven while the previous installment was much more character-driven. There are a few new characters, including a new teacher who is one of Rowling's most interesting creations.
Maybe the best thing about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for me is the number of answers given to some of the series' most puzzling mysteries. While Order of the Phoenix promised answers but didn't deliver, this story is much more satisfying, whilst still leaving plenty to puzzle over before the next book.
While there is plenty of humour in this story - the Quidditch commentary by dreamy Luna Lovegood being a particular highlight - there are also references to much darker happenings, including several deaths and injuries. The final climax has a high emotional impact and hankies may well be needed!
Inevitably, some critics will knock the book, and some fans will be disappointed by some plot developments not panning out as they expected. But this stands out to me as one of the best installments in the Harry Potter series, and I would highly recommend it to readers of all ages from ten upwards.
on 3 August 2005
People have been let down by this book, but they don't take this book for granted. Firstly I believe JK Rowling is building the setting for finale of the series. People have been waiting for this book for 2 years now and some aren't thankful, but I was so gripped throughout the book, I could not put in down, also, I believed that book was in a much happier tone, compared to the 4th and 5th one as Harry only seemed to shout at Ron and Hermione, like all the time. But I think the book is soooo much more gripping, and more Heart rendering than all the other previous books put together.
Don't be let down by this book, after all it is one of the best books in the world,
on 22 February 2006
Now is the time for all the doubters to lay down their swords and admit defeat, because J K Rowling has done it again - and better. The books in this phenomenal series have been getting not only darker and more complex, but also more challenging, more exciting, more ambiguous and more dense with allusion - which explains the great level of adult and academic interest they have attracted. It's hard to summarise the book in one sentence, so let me pose some questions instead: why is Malfoy looking so pale and ill? Why is Harry having such intense dreams? Can Dumbledore's wisdom or Snape's integrity be trusted? And what about all those hormones? Is the magical world really any better than the real world, or do the inhabitants of Privet Drive have it better? Rowling has achieved a Shakespeare-like enmeshing of all life's grandest themes - love, death, honour, justice, valour, betrayal, family, prophecy, grief, superstition - and it's time we read her from first to last. warning: this book will have you racing back to the previous five to geta s many clues as you can.
on 19 July 2005
The 6th installment of Harry Potter has recaptured the wit and magic that slightly lacked in the moodier OOTP. The tone throughout is much lighter, with hilarious banter between Ron and Hermione, as well as plenty of clues and curiosities dotted throughout the chapters to keep you wondering and guessing until the very end!
The humour is sharp and well placed. It always amazes me how Rowling manages to do this, spreading out the comical charm and wit for maximam affect!
The story was both delightfully clever and intriguing throughout, and we learn slightly more about what the prophecy means to Harry, and how he will be able to cope with his destiny.
As usual, the pace of the book is quick, but the climax appears too suddenly and is hard to digest.
I can't help thinking that the ending, although expected could have turned out differently, leaving you slightly shocked, aghast and cheated, with more questions unanswered than ever before!
All in all though, an amazing book! You must read it, and judge for you're selves!
on 13 March 2006
I've read a few of the reviews for the book and decided to offer my own 2 cents just because I feel the book deserves it. I ordered the book so I would get it the day it was released and read it through in one sitting. People who were expecting big and brash would have been let down, but I didnt expect that. The book focused on Harry and Company and really pushed them to the forefront. By the end of this book the 3 main characters needed to be united, needed to have matured and needed to be ready for what was waiting for them in book 7. In a way, this book is here to set everything up for book 7 and in that instance is successes brilliantly.
JK has stated that this is basically the end of the series, one book choped in half (think Matrix 2 and 3 or LOTRs) with both written together and then divided up. This does everything it should do. It answers some questions, throws up even more questions and sets all the events in line for the final show down leaving the reader eager to get to the final piece. JK is following the classic mythological route of any type of story (think Star Wars) We know people are going to die. We know eventually the hero must face the evil lord alone and this goes some way to putting this in motion.
I'm not going to rally huge spoilers because then theres no fun in reading the book and if youve been reading through all the reviews you probably know what happenes anyway. I'm not going to analyse Harry as a dog or anything else. Harry is simply a young man who has had to grow up incredibly fast. This was shown in Potter 5 and while we dont have the anger filled Harry anymore we have a grieving Harry who for once, mainly thanks to being made Captain and having the Minestry on his side for the first time, finds himself actually popular and lusted after. He is loyal to his true friends, something that is shows in his distain for people making fun of Nevile and Luna. He wears his heart on his sleeve and thus, thinks emotionally instead of practically. This is a flaw and Harry is a flawed human. Every character has good points and bad points. This is what makes them seem real and thus, makes people identify with them. Ron is loyal but a little dence. Hermione is clever but can be irrating. These are little bits of their characters. If they were clear cut smart, annoying, whatever they wouldnt be very interesting.
That is what makes JKs writing so good. Every character, as in real life, has good points and bad points. No ones is perfect and as her we've grown up her characters have grown up too. People have complained about the book not having their favourite characters getting together or someone doing something they dont agree with. Get over it. Its a story that was conceived and planned long ago and JK is writing the way she wants too. The book focuses on the passage to adult hood. On couples and the embarressement haveing a friend with a girlfeiend can cause. JK captures it perfectly in the way one couple are constantly all over eachother, how jelously and ideas in someones head can play out. JK really does capture that feeling off having a crush and questioning what to do about it. Anyone in high school who saw couples making out during breaks only to break up and hate eachother the next day will totally understand what is going on and that makes it all the more humourus.
The books is a great read and for a minor spoiler the last 3 chapters are possibly the best and most beautiful pieces of writing JK has ever put together.
Read this book, be aware of what its intent is and enjoy it.
on 22 August 2005
This must have been a difficult book to write. There was obviously a certain amount that JKR had to get down on paper just to set up the final book. A lot of it was fascinating, particularly the background to Tom Riddle/ Voldermort's character. The drawback was that some of the rest of the book seemed a little rushed. Harry and Dumbledore's 'quest' towards the end seems to take about ten minutes and one gets the impression that any moderately talented wizard accompanied by a house-elf could have accomplished it. To me it felt that there were at least three books of story left to tell but JKR was eager to bring everything to a close in two.
But as usual there are several fabulously subtle undercurrents to the story, my favourite of which is the theme of judgement and misjudgement. JKR elegantly introduces this theme in the cosy setting of the Weasley's home, where Mrs W and the rest of the household are indulging their mutual distaste for Fleur, the beautiful but irritating wife-to-be of Bill Weasley. Their misjudgement is proved towards the end in a fairly comical but quite moving scene, which adds just the right touch of light relief, mingled with pathos, in an otherwise dark moment.
Questions over character and character judgement run all through this book. In an age of pop psychology where personalities are so often neatly pigeonholed, JKR's premise that we are all complicated, and capable of misjudging and being misjudged, is a worthwhile message and a breath of fresh air.
on 17 July 2005
This book was not what I expected it to be like, I felt it was different from all the others, but ... from start to finish, I was hooked! Jk really is an amazing writer, HBP made me laugh, it made me cry, and when I got to the end of it, it made me wish I had a time machine, so I could go into the future and get the next one! Although I had been spending countless hours making up theories about it, the plot continued to twist, turn and shock me. There is a very dark ending to the book and I sense this is how book 7 will be too. I feel the HBP is aimed at an older age group compared to the others, but this is very fitting because as Harry is growing so are the readers. The fans, without doubt, will have expected a lot from this book, and I for one was not disappointed. A superb read!
on 28 July 2005
So you read books 1 to 4 and loved them?
You didn't enjoy Book 5 and are unsure whether or not the series is going to fizzle out as a damp squib (pardon the pun)?
You don't want to find out the plot but want help making a decision? Then read on without fear...
JK starts the book at a cracking pace with characters new and old. Watch out for Chapter 2 - now who do we believe? The pace is maintained throughout with twists and turns aplenty. Additionally, links are made to events in all previous books - she is a very clever writer. I couldn't put it down; a welcome return to form after the relative letdown of book 5. Also, a truly amazing ending. You simply have to read this book.
Whatever J.K.Rowling had written in this book would have been greeted with adoration: Harry Potter has ceased to be a character and has become a phenomenon, an experience and a multi-million pound industry. Such is the hype that it took a good 7 hours of solid reading on the morning of the release of the Half-Blood Prince to remind me why Rowling has attained such celebrity: after the sometimes flabby and loosely plotted Order of the Phoenix, this is Harry Potter at its best. An enveloping read for all ages, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sustains its sharpness, pace and vividness through to the end.
Harry, Hermione and Ron are at Hogwarts, and Voldemort is back. With the end of the Order of the Phoenix ringing in our ears, it is unsurprising that book 6 takes on a much darker colour than any of its predecessors. Harry and friends are growing up, which means not only the obligatory adolescent romantic sparring but also a move towards greater emotional maturity. Hagrid and Fred and George, relied upon for comic relief, have become increasingly background characters: there are fewer laugh-out-loud moments, and less Quidditch. There is a sense that the students are turning into adults, with the consequent decisions to make: particularly, Draco Malfoy's role as petty menace and bully is becoming altogether more sinister. The Inferi (no spoilers!) have filled the chilling niche left by the Dementors. There has been a new injection of horror and suspense, and there is the feeling throughout that a happy ending may not be forthcoming.
This is Rowling writing at her best. There is the characteristically uncluttered but enormously effective description, the beautifully imagined magical universe and the uniquely natural dialogue. We get more complex picutres of the adult personalities involved, and an answer to several vital questions. (Why didn't Voldemort die when his curse backfired on trying to kill Harry?, for example.) And then there is the new mystery: the identity of the Half-Blood Prince. In a way, he (or she??) seems to play a relatively small part in the book, until the identity is revealed and then it becomes clear that all the books have owed a lot to this person and their decisions.
Overall, as the plot thunders towards a death (which is less publicised but far more significant than those that have ended the last two books), you get the sense that everything is coming together: rigorous plotting and a great deal of fictional history are beginning to unravel themselves into a climax. This, the penultimate book, finishes with few definitive answers but a direction is established; and as with the other books (Sirius Black crops up from Book 1, for example), the way is littered with clues. This is a supremely confident offerring, which leaves us in no doubt that there is a destination to which we are drawing nearer.
But what has made the Harry Potter books such an enormous success is their sheer readability. I read this book in a morning without putting it down, and it still holds the same power to engage as the Philosopher's Stone did when I was eight. Inevitably Potter-mania has hyped up these books more than they can ever deliver: but nevertheless, the Half-Blood Prince kept me engrossed for a very enjoyable morning. For children and adults alike, that's the real magic.
on 5 June 2014
I am reviewing the teen fantasy Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire by JK Rowling which is one of the best children's novels I have ever read which I bought from a car boot sale. At the time this book was published the fact it was around 620 pages was controversial as people thought it was far too long for children. At that time I think if JK Rowling had published her laundry list it would have topped the best seller list as she was hugely popular. Another unusual feature was a minor character died near the end which is normally a definite no-no in young adult fiction. JK obviously felt she could play with the rules of the genre and the book was hugely popular, the best book of the series at that point and a real game changer in children's fiction as a whole. This book is of course part of the Harry Potter series about a boy with magic powers going to wizard school at Hogwarts. He is destined to kill the evil Voldemort and in this book Harry has a nightmare about him and we see him cross into our dimension. Harry goes to the Quidditch World Cup with his friends the Weasleys and his adopted parents are only too glad to get rid of him. His natural parents were killed by Voldemort a long time ago. There is a competition where they have to complete several challenges and the winner can drink from the Goblet Of Fire. Strangely Harry is entered into the competition and senses something isn't quite right about that. One of the other competitors is Krum from the Quidditch World Cup and Harry feels out of his depth faced with such competition. This was made into a film starring Daniel Ratchiffe as was the whole series. I think the books in general are better than the films as they tell the story in more detail and JK has a fantastic sense of humor that comes out in her books. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it along time ago as I did with the whole series but wanted to re-read and do a review on it.