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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Children's Edition - J.K. Rowling
Member Name: dawnymarie
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Children's Edition - J.K. Rowling
Date: 17/01/13, updated on 17/01/13 (138 review reads)
Advantages: Breathtaking journey
Why read this book?
I have already enjoyed the previous five novels in this epic tale of witchcraft and wizardry. I was eager to continue on the journey with Harry and his friends. The cover depicts flames and this grabbed my attention, whilst the blurb on the back cover intrigued me. I had no intentions of missing this one and looked forward to a good comfort read.
Harry Potter is a very special person. Already famous in the magical world, he now holds the title of the Chosen One. The sixth year at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft is different again for Harry and his close friends. He has enemies on the dark side and there is evidence of sinister happenings both in the school and in the normal world. Lord Voldemort grows stronger and his followers increase - indeed one cannot be certain who are on the side of good anymore. Darkness and danger increase tenfold this year ... can the Chosen One handle it?
Half Blood Prince step forward please...
An intriguing concept forms the title of this tale ... who indeed is The Half Blood Prince? My attention and interest is roused before I even open up the book! What has Rowling got in store during this sixth year with our Hero, Harry Potter?
After a tense beginning and with much less input from my favourite family, the Dursley's, the prose begins in earnest. Dumbledore now working in alliance with Potter makes this volume seem much more grown up. It is great to see Harry given more respect and less wrapping up in cotton wool. This boy has been hit by grief, after the loss of his godfather Sirius Black, and faced the Dark Lord on numerous occasions so I am glad to see that he is now being taken a bit more seriously.
This one had a bit more detective work in it than others and though it still retains its familiar and comforting charm it has become serious, urgent and darker still. How much darker can you get than knowing that a powerful dark wizard will destroy you if you don't destroy him first? Mayhem is being created in the muggle (non magical) world in order to grab the good guys attention and let them know that they are coming. Even so, I still believe that the book sits well within the age range that it was aimed at - the younger readers. Having said that I am an adult and thoroughly enjoying the read.
I like the inclusion of a new character - Professor Slughorn. It will become clear why his presence is relevant as the prose marches on but besides that I rather enjoyed his company. Larger than life and colourful in character, Rowling's development of him throughout the prose was impressive. I had good insight into what made this man tick and whether he was tempted by the dark side or not.
It was really nice to see Dumbledore feature more in this one, up to now he has always had a presence and there has been no doubt of his inclines to sides - good through and through - but I didn't feel like I knew much about him. I became fonder of him as the tale developed which was nice.
As usual there are devious goings on which spark Harry's interest and it is no surprise that Draco Malfoy is heading up the mischief making, though he is doing it mysteriously this time rather than in the spotlight that he normally enjoys. This boy is nasty and hateful and Rowling has always got me to dislike him - so I consider it an achievement for her now, at this late stage, to have me feeling sorry for him and even a slight bit concerned about him! She does this with ease as she allows you to see his insecurities and fear develop.
Snape is also in on the dark and nasty action. Rowling is doing an exceptional job with this character. Her description of him and development over the last books has built a marvellous picture of this greasy little man. Acting as double agent for Dumbledore, or is he? I can't work him out and I dislike him, mostly for his horrible nature towards Harry and his friends. But, I cannot help but like him too? I cannot stop myself hoping that he is on the side of good and that in the final book he will reveal his true incline. In the meantime he is in collusion with Malfoy and being spiteful to Harry.
There is some romance and humour to go with it in this one. I don't really like romantic elements to take over the prose in action genres and was waiting to see how Rowling did on this score. To my delight she did really well - not a surprise. The action is still going on all the while and the romance stuff sits in nicely with it rather than the other way around. I was delighted to see Ron, always the loser in life, snare himself a girl. Rowling has created an amazing character in Ron. He is moody and quick tempered, thoughtless and clumsy but he has a heart and is very likeable. Harry unites with a girl too - eventually - and that allowed Rowling to show us his sensitive side. Harry can still be hot headed and moody, impulsive and immature but he too is a very likeable character, which is a good job as he is the main protagonist and hero. Over the years, that have been very challenging for Harry, there is one thing that stands out. One thing that is a great weapon against his enemy, Lord Voldemort, and he will eventually realise just how that power works within him and how powerful it is. This concept spoke loud and clear to me and I thought it was inspired.
Hagrid is one of my favourite characters, I feel like I know him very well now. He fills the pages with his warmth and massive heart, though if he is angry the page doesn't feel big enough to contain him. Great character development and some very touching scenes. I need a large spotty hanky too.
I have not forgotten Hermione. This young lady is an exceptional character and one that I like very much. She is female but not one bit reliant on anyone but herself. She is independent and not afraid to speak her mind. I would not like to cross her as she is a very capable spell caster too, as a poor young man will discover during the prose. Her hard and fast nature of sticking to the rules has eased now and if something is for the greater good she will turn a blind eye. She has very good intuition and dislikes Harry's use of a potions book that once belonged to the intriguing Half Blood Prince. Harry disagrees and enjoys success in the said class for once, but was this Prince of the dark or good side? And who the heck is he?
I am wondering, like Harry, all through the prose who the Prince could be. I thought Voldemort but then it would be too obvious, wouldn't it? A reason to keep those pages turning is to find out but not the only reason by a long way as other side plots stroll along with me.
I found the detective work and memory musings most interesting, as Harry assisted Dumbledore in solving the mystery that is Voldemort. Working out a way to rid the world of this very powerful, dark wizard is of great importance to them both - Harry also wants revenge for his parents deaths. To discover the secrets and find a way to end Voldermort's life is revealed to be perilous and life threatening. The pace speeds up during the last chapters as the pair team up to undertake a dangerous task.
The end stages of the prose are very dark, brutal and cruel, though not graphic so still suitable for the intended audience. My mind raced along with the pages during the mayhem that ensued. I was surprised by the outcome of this one, very surprised indeed. Though I found the conclusion of this prose satisfying and look forward to the next.
The stage is set. The final instalment is an exciting prospect. But I fear for Harry Potter.
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If you have read the previous books in this epic Rowling series then you will want to read this one. Intriguing from the off as we wonder who the Half Blood Prince will turn out to be and if he is good or bad. The pace is steady with sections which heat up and others that are to be savoured and read slowly. Fun in the form of Ron and his dalliance with romance is a nice inclusion and lightens the read which is now becoming ever darker. Voldemort grows in strength and his presence felt strongly as he instructs others to do his dirty work for him. Snape and Malfoy are a good double act, unintentionally, and those bad guy characters are now wonderfully developed. Harry has lots going on in this one and can be challenged by his temper and mood at times - though he needs to keep his cool when the going gets tough. The outcome surprised me and I had to stop reading to take it in. A satisfying ending and sterling work by Rowling.
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Summary: Would the real Half Blood Prince step forward please