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Friday, July 25, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince...Review

About the book:
The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses. And yet...

As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate -- and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it's the home front that takes center stage in the multi-layered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort -- and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.

Terrific, amazing. Need I say more? I love the opening scene with the Muggle Prime Minister and the Minister of Magic. It's terrific and really brings a new perspective to the story: the magic world does affect the muggle world, even if the muggles aren't aware of it. We also get a new glimpse of Severus Snape, as he promises Narcissa Malfoy that he will protect her son Draco. He even makes the Unbreakable Vow. Has he really repented and turned spy, as Dumbledore insists? Or is he once and forever a loyal Death Eater? Who knows...

I laughed when Molly asks Arthur his dearest ambition (to check that he is Arthur and not someone impersonating him) and Arthur says "to see how airplanes stay up." I also loved the scene in Fred and George's store. The twins are making their joke shop a success with things like U-No-Poo and love potions that will wreak havoc later on in the book. It's these little tidbits that make the story so much richer.

Harry returns to school and learns about the life of Tom Riddle and his fascinating transformation into Lord Voldemort. Through memories obtained by Dumbledore, we learn about Riddle and his quest to make Horcruxes and the desire is planted within Harry to find and destroy them all.

Professor Snape has finally achieved his coveted Defense Against the Dark Arts post, and the new Potions teacher is Horace Slughorn. Harry's used potions book was previously owned by someone calling himself "The Half-Blood Prince" and the notes permit Harry to excel, for the first time ever, in his Potions class, much to Hermione's dismay. However, because of the Prince's book, Harry wins the potion, Felix Felicis, which will help in out in the future. The Prince also created his own spells, which serve Harry well in some cases and create terror and near tragedy in others.

16-year old Harry also realizes in this book that he likes Ginny Weasley. Ginny's character is one of my favorites, and I think she and Harry are perfect for each other.

This is definitely the darkest yet of the series. Harry and his friends have come to learn that there is true evil in the world and Harry knows that he will be the one who needs to kill Voldemort.

I found some of the bits with Draco a little far-fetched: I don't think he would have been able to put Rosemerta under the Imperius curse so easily.

Was it a surprise to find out who the Half-Blood Prince was? The first time I read the book, yes, it was. The death at the end of the book is tragic, but ultimately necessary. There are so many questions that need to be answered, and the build-up to book 7 is terrific.

I am so stoked for the movie!

I read my personal copy, but you can purchase your own copy here.

Last read 7/08

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

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