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 multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Harry struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry’s life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes.
With Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort, and thereby attempts to find what may be his only vulnerability.
Probably the darkest entry in the series, Half-Blood Prince is a gritty look into the darkest times of the Wizarding world. With Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters finally out and wreaking havoc again in this edition, the now sixteen year old Harry struggles with balancing post-OWLs schooling with Quiddich, friends, extra lessons and his own blossoming internal feelings. The description of the “monster” within Harry in terms of his feeling for Ginny is accurate.
This book will pull at your heartstrings, as it caused me to tear up at the very end, even after having read this book at least once or twice. That’s how you know that a book is good. It gets deep inside of your soul, and never lets go. Rowling is a masterful storyteller, and while there are some moments that will irritate you, it works to get you invested in the story.
If you haven’t gotten into this series by now, this would be a BAD book to jump into. Go read the others first before coming back to this one. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
For those of you who haven’t read this yet, than this ENTIRE review series has been a spoiler, and with that, I’m sorry. That being said, the actual death of Dumbledore didn’t move me to tear up. What did was Fawkes’ lament afterwards. The sorrowful song that I imagined in my head would have probably caused me to cry if I would have heard it in person.
Also, the end of this book sets the stage for the final book. Throughout the entire thing, we keep getting mentions that Harry is the ‘Chosen One’ to take down Voldemort, once and for all, or fail trying. We also get an incredible amount of backstory through moments in the Pensieve along with corresponding tales from Dumbledore. It makes the inhuman monster human, almost.
Harry continues to frustrate me with his single-track mind once he finally sets his mind to it. This time, it’s trying to catch Malfoy in the act of doing something…Dark. Yes, I did just use the term “dark” in that way. ‘Cause that’s what Harry keeps going on and on about. That Malfoy is up to no good and Harry REALLY wants to catch Malfoy in the act, to prove himself right to others for a change.
However, the other major story here is love, and how it does take awhile to blossom. In this case, it’s both Ron and Hermione going on their separate journeys in possibly finding love. While it’s clear to the reader that Hermione does like Ron in more than just a friend way, Ron’s a bit more thick-headed about it. Then again, when hasn’t he been thick headed about Hermione? Then, there’s Harry and Ginny finally getting together. While Ginny has always been infatuated with Harry, Harry has only now found feelings for Ginny. As I said in my Goodreads review, the description of Harry’s monster within is surprisingly accurate. Love feels that way sometimes.
I hope that you have continued to enjoy these books well after you have read them the first time. I’m loving the dive back into the series, and I’m anxiously awaiting diving into Deathly Hallows. If you’re reading through the series folks, and are starting this book, then you might want some tissues…you’re gonna need them.