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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

The sixth book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

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Good for kids and adults who still recall being kids

  • Aug 2, 2005
I feel strange reviewing this book since I never read any of the ones that came before. In fact, though I tried two or three times with some of the earlier books in the series (my wife and kids adore them so we have them all), I was never able to get into them. Their world and situations just seemed uninteresting to me, though they are obviously utterly fascinating to millions around the world (including my immediate family). So I picked this one up when my family members were done with it, hoping to see what the fuss is all about.

This time the book held my attention (whether because I was finally more prepared to attend to it or because it just seemed more mature or more interesting to me, or what not, I don't know). Suffice it to say that while I never found myself thinking about the story or characters afterwards, or rushing to get back to reading the book after I'd put it down, it clearly kept pulling me along whenever I picked it up.

Some of the elements were a bit tiresome (e.g., the quidditch games and their "importance" to students and faculty) and some elements rather peculiar (like the notion that, even though a vast life and death struggle between good and evil for the future of the so-called wizarding world was underway, the students still had to go off to classes, do their homework, take their exams, play quidditch, etc.). But perhaps that's all part of the book's attraction, this odd juxtaposition of the ordinary with the fantastic and dangerous. On balance, the story elements were handled quite nicely and most of the book was a remarkably easy and pleasant read, a little tiresome in the middle, unless you're keen on quiddtich and teen crushes and infatuations, but fast moving and well-paced at the end.

And, though the tale's just a bit too long and episodic for my tastes, the blending of mystery with adventure that Ms. Rowling pulls off keeps things popping. A clear resonance with the current terrorism now besetting the real world was also evident.

On the other hand, some of the sorcery motifs, including a Dumbledore who reminds one of a kind of folksy Gandalf from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, are a bit old hat too. But Rowling redeems even these with her insightful blending of the modern fantasy genre, her tongue-in-cheek nomenclature and a kid's eye view of the world (as seen through the lense of a secondary school experience).

While I'm not likely to run out and read the earlier books, and I'm not sure I'll bother with the final installment yet to come, I'll readily admit this book was enjoyable to read. I found myself admiring the way Ms. Rowling has tapped into the global zeitgeist and how she continues to tell her story with professional panache.


author of The King of Vinland's Saga

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More Harry Potter And The Half-Bloo... reviews
review by . February 05, 2010
Writing a fictional character from childhood to adulthood, as J. K. Rowling is doing in this series, is not easy; following a character from uncertainty to heroism, as Harry Potter has progressed in Half Blood Prince, is fraught with danger for the writer who attempts it.    And again, Rowling attempts all and succeeds. With one year to go, Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for Year 6, but not before dealing with lingering complications from the taut climax of Harry Potter and …
review by . July 02, 2010
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was released during a tragic period of my life, just when I thought that I had grown out of the series I'd loved as a child. I was entering my junior year in high school when my parents decided to move our family from the big city of Los Angeles, California to the small town of the Middle of Nowhere, Georgia. As an act of reconciliation, my brother in law purchased the book about 300 miles out of California. I was so depressed about my loss of friends …
review by . June 09, 2010
What was your emotional reaction as you read? Why?      I was excited to finally get the next Harry Potter book out and learn more abou tthe plot and discover the mysteries.        Who would you recommend this reading to and why?      Anyone who likes young adult and fantasy books. And if you like a book with a good mystery.        Consider the setting.      Its set in a mystical …
Quick Tip by . October 15, 2010
I was totally "blah" about this novel. It is purely a setup novel--creating the necessary ingredients for the finale. Its very much like laying out all the ingredients to make your own creme brulee. Gathering the ingredients is necessary to making the final product, but ... it isn't exactly all that fun. I didn't feel cheated by the novel, just not even remotely sated.
Quick Tip by . October 14, 2010
This is my favorite book in the series. It's the one that ends on the biggest cliffhanger. Appearances can be deceiving.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
The entire series are worth reading. They are full of imagination.
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
Pivotal, but not as strong as other books in the series. A great many hints are dropped that are not necessarily "canon" (e.g., Dumbledore is gay?), and much background is filled in. Good, just a bit longer than I'd have liked (with apologies to the author!). Not the ending you'd expect.
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
the half blood prince was a very good book. i liked it a lot. they certainly switched things around by making snape defense against the dark arts teacher in this book. and the horcruxes made voldemort just seem that much more evil. not like he was an angel but the things he did to become immortal are frightening, and very extreme. im going to get the griffindor house crest tattooed on my forearm because i like this series so much.
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
harry learns the secret that will unlock his past and his future...a very thrilling and exciting read.
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
Great book! The story is a bit scary :)
About the reviewer
Stuart W. Mirsky ()
I'm a retired bureaucrat (having served, most recently, as an Assistant Commissioner in amunicipal agency in a major Northeastern American city). In 2002 I took an early retirement to pursue a lifelong … more
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The long-awaited, eagerly anticipated, arguably over-hyped Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has arrived, and the question on the minds of kids, adults, fans, and skeptics alike is, "Is it worth the hype?" The answer, luckily, is simple: yep. A magnificent spectacle more than worth the price of admission, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will blow you away. However, given that so much has gone into protecting the secrets of the book (including armored trucks and injunctions), don't expect any spoilers in this review. It's much more fun not knowing what's coming--and in the case of Rowling's delicious sixth book, you don't want to know. Just sit tight, despite the earth-shattering revelations that will have your head in your hands as you hope the words will rearrange themselves into a different story. But take one warning to heart: do not open Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince until you have first found a secluded spot, safe from curious eyes, where you can tuck in for a good long read. Because once you start, you won't stop until you reach the very last page.

A darker book than any in the series thus far with a level of sophistication belying its genre, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince moves the series into murkier waters and marks the arrival of Rowling onto the adult literary scene. While she has long been praised for her cleverness and wit, the strength of Book 6 lies in her subtle development of key ...

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ISBN-13: 978-0439791328
Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: Education, Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Arthur a Levine, Scholastic
Date Published: July 16, 2005
Format: Novel
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