Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by R.G. Trepanier
December 3, 2005
As you recall, Book 5 (The Order of the Phoenix) ended with a battle between the Order of the Phoenix and the Death-Eaters in the Ministry of Magic building, and finally convinced the wizarding world at large that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was really alive and returned to power. After the battle, many of the Death-Eaters (Lucius Malfoy among them) were sent to Azkaban prison as punishment.
The Half-Blood Prince opens in the office of the English Prime Minister. There have been many disasters and events happening that could not be explained rationally. The Prime Minister is beside himself. The people want answers - want to know why these things are happening, He wants to know the answers also. The answers given to the press are not really accepted by the people.
The tension increases when the Prime Minister learns that Cornelius Fudge, of the Ministry of Magic, is about to visit. Although he has only seen Fudge a few times, the times Fudge had appeared served only to bring bad news. This time would be no different. Fudge explains that the disasters and sense of sadness and loss were not "natural", but that "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" had returned and his Death-Eaters had come out of hiding. They were now joined by the Dementors-the jailors of Azkaban.
This sets the scene as Harry begins his sixth year at Hogwarts. The year begins, as the other 5 have, with a few changes. Besides a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, there is a new potions professor. Harry, who wasn't going to take potions because of his hatred of Professor Snape, finds himself enrolled in the class along with Ron and Hermione. Not having a textbook, he is given a used one from the closet in the classroom. Scribbled in this book are notes, shortcuts and unexplained spells for potions and other things which enable Harry to surpass even Hermione, who doesn't like his cheating, even though the results are fantastic. The notes were written by someone who calls him/her self the "Half-Blood Prince."
This was also a year of love and lovers' quarrels, and the results will surprise you.
Draco Malfoy becomes more secretive and cunning, but the trio's surveillances yield nothing and Harry is accused of crying "wolf" with no proof of anything.
Professor Dumbledore has been secretly leaving Hogwarts, sometimes for weeks at a time, with no explanation about his travels. Harry is permitted finally, to accompany him, and he begins to learn about the eary personal history of Tom Malvolo Riddle. They come back from the trip to find the sign of the mask floating in the air above Hogwarts castle. - Someone has died? Who? - And is that the sound of battle? At Hogwarts?
Trying to capsulate 652 pages into a few paragraphs is like putting the Sears Tower into a shoebox. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (though it got tedious for me at times), carries on the quality and the continuity set in the earlier volumes. Although, as Sherlock puts it "The plot thickens.", I was captivated and finished the whole book in about 10 hours. I laughed, I cried (really!), I yelled at Voldemort, and Malfoy, and Snape. I applauded Harry, Hermione, and Ron and Dumbledore. I was appalled and wanted to rip the book to shreds (I didn't. It was a library book).
If you are a Harry Potter fan, I recommend it; you won't be disappointed. If you're a new-comer to the Harry Potter scene, this book would stand by itself; but to understand the intensity of the rivalries, it would be good to start with the first volume. I rate it 5 stars and 5 kleenexes.
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