Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)

ISBN: 0439785960
ISBN 13: 9780439785969
By: J.K. Rowling Mary GrandPré

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About this book

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even the 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 with all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate—and lose a few eyebrows in the process. 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. 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.

Reader's Thoughts


"I enjoyed the meeting too," said Luna serenely. "It was like having friends."And that, my friends, is why I love Luna Lovegood.But, on a serious note, this book blew me away. Even though I read it over a month ago the feelings of yes yes this is why everyone loves this series so much thank you yes still reverberate throughout my being when I think about it. This sixth installment incorporated a perfect mixture of action, romance, mystery, and wizardly happenings. All of the overarching plot lines: the romances between Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione, the disappearance of Dumbledore, the continuing evolution of the prophecy, etc. came together to create a captivating story full of twists and fresh, likeable characters. While this one and the seventh book are tied in terms of being my favorite, if I had to choose one book that really captured the essence of Harry Potter, I'd probably pick this one.My favorite moments revolved around Ron and Hermione. I loved their mutual jealousy and affection and how neither of them succumbed to insta-love. Overall I would recommend this to any fans who enjoyed books 1-4; the quality of this installment makes the hot mess that was the fifth book a distant memory.


The first time I read it at camp, I was bored and taken aback by what I saw as worthless and superfluous backstory. I openly mocked the counselors and campers who cried as a result of the famous murder.I reread it this past week in anticipation of the final chapter and am embarassed to say that I came close to spilling tears on the Metro as I finished it. This book is better than I remembered, and the history IS significant. It sets up the seventh perfectly and escalates the war and plot in ways no one could have guessed.The character development is astounding, and truly makes you take notice of how little you knew until this book. Dumbledore and Voldemort are fleshed out to an extent we hadn't seen before, and if possible, makes Dumbledore even more likable. He represents all that is good and loving and warm in the world, and Tom Riddle is his total opposite in every way. Voldemort is pure evil, but he never crosses the line of becoming a caricature of the villain. His torture of small children, his charm of the teachers, his murder of his own family, his desperation to achieve immortality at the expense of innocent lives, it almost overwhelms the reader to see such a character thrive in the wizarding world. Furthermore, Slughorn was one of the best additions to the books and his likable smarm added humor and warmth to an occasionally chilling book. He wasn't loathsome like Umbridge, annoying like Lockhart, conflicted like Lupin. He knew exactly what he wanted and had no qualms using the kids to do it, and for some reason, it was highly enjoyable to watch his antics unfold.And, of course, more Ginny means more joy. She's by far one of the best characters in the entire series. Ginny represents strength and bravery arguably more than any other character in the series, and constantly looks after those that are bullied and belittled. In short, she's perfect.


I wanted to like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Really, I did. After the huge disappointment of The Order of the Phoenix, I was ready to have fun again. But the same problems that plagued the fifth book are here in the sixth; this novel is more of a chore to get through than anything else, and long passages go by in which absolutely no action takes place. In fact, the whole book is inactivity; the plot consists of - get this - Harry learning about Voldemort's past. This is nothing that couldn't have been treated in other books with several asides, or even with Voldemort's own book. But no, Rowling felt that this needed to be spread incredibly thin over hundreds and hundreds of pages. She's still not a very good writer, and she badly needs a good editor. There's no reason for one, though; at this point, Rowling could sell the phone book under the title Harry Potter and the Unlisted Number and it would probably sell millions. As for The Half-Blood Prince, 300 pages could easily be removed from its text without anybody - the author included - noticing.

lamarcus brown

ok, I admit it. I'm a grown man (debatable) and I like Harry potter. However, I was like any other 'Mr. Macho' in the beginning thinking Harry potter Books are for children and maybe women. It started off innocently enough, my wife and daughter were reading the books, they really enjoyed them so I bought the first movie for my daughter when it came out... then the second, third, and fourth movies. And I enjoyed them, but I still hadn't plunged to the humiliating level of actually reading the books. Until that day, the day my daughter wanted to go swimming and I didn't. Feeling mightily compassionate and a little self sacrificing I grabbed the only book lying around at the time and sat at the side of the pool reading while my little princess played 'Dolphin'.All that is unrelated to the Book of course, but it's the best I could do to express how good this book was. You see I avoided Harry potter, avoided the books, wrote the subject off as below me. Maybe it was fate or perhaps just a little luck, whatever the case may be I picked up a book I wasn't interested in and instead of a distraction while waiting for my daughter to become one with the dolphins I was sucked in, like spilled ink into Hermione’s wand, and engrossed with a wonderful story written by a brilliant author.I’ve since read book 6 and started on 7; this series is good and it doesn’t matter if you’re too cool for magic or too manly for stories about children, you WILL enjoy this book. Don’t believe me? Pick one up and read 4 chapters and then see if you can put it down and forget about it.Go ahead fellas, flame away… flame away.


In the summer of 2003, the Arizona Diamondbacks went on a crazy intense winning streak, due mostly to the fact that they had something like eleven to thirteen rookies playing at any given time, all of whom were unknown quantities (and thus harder to beat). They were calling them the "Baby Backs" (future Cy Young winner Brandon Webb among them). As of June 30, 2003, the team had won eleven consecutive games, one away from beating their record. My sister, Melissa, likes baseball in an unnatural obsessive fashion (much the way I like TV) and got us tickets to the game. Naturally this concerned me due to the midnight release part of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I was supposed to be attending that night. (Bear with me, this story does eventually relate to Half-Blood Prince.)So it's like the bottom of the 8th inning and we're losing and I'm really worried at this point that we're going to be late so I make my entire family get up and leave. My sister put up a little bit of a fight, but as we were losing by at least three runs, she eventually shut up and we left. But as we were walking back to the car, the stadium EXPLODED. And kept exploding. Fireworks went off (not a euphemism). And my sister turned to me and knifed my bowels into ribbons with just the power of her angry eyes. I tried to explain to her that you don't fuck around with Harry Potter, but not five minutes later when we'd reached the car and turned on the radio and she learned that we'd won that 12th consecutive game and that we'd been there and left, I really thought she might murder me. She hadn't read Harry Potter yet, you see. She didn't understand.Fast forward two years. She was right there with me at the midnight release of Half-Blood Prince, dressed as Draco Malfoy. We raced home together and read the book late into the night, waking up early to finish. I finished first and she was mad when I started crying and she had to wait to find out why. And of course, later in the shower, when I remembered what happened and started crying AGAIN (is there anything more pathetic than crying in the shower over a dead fictional character?), after I got out she couldn't resist making fun of me. Apparently I'd been crying so loud that she'd heard the sobs through the walls and over the sound of the running water. But FUCK, man! That shit is sad! Served her right ten minutes later when it was her turn to cry.But anyway, the point is that none of you should be in doubt: Harry Potter is way more important than baseball. And football. And soccer. And Hockey. And that is a lesson everybody should learn.

Jonathan Janz

Here's the thing about the Harry Potter books...They're awesome.Deep, huh? Well, deep or shallow, it's the truth. I waited a long time to read the Harry Potter books because I wanted to experience them with my own children. My son (8) and I just finished the sixth book, my first daughter (6) and I are working on the first, and my youngest child (3) is content to commandeer her siblings' wands and run around shrieking, "I have a Harry Potter stick!"In other words, we all enjoy it.I could write a great deal about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but it's a tough book to write about without giving things away. And though I loved this novel for many reasons, I find it quite difficult to separate it from the other tales. This, I think, speaks to J.K. Rowling's ability to connect the stories in a such a way that they each have their own identity while still continuing to trace a gigantic glowing arc through the sky along which the reader is able to ride from the first book to the seventh.So before I tell you a few things I loved about the novel, please know that there might be spoilers below. Not huge spoilers, mind you, but I'm always afraid of letting something slip. So...be forewarned. Don't read on if you haven't read this book yet. And if you haven't read the book, why are you reading a review of it by a writer whose skills don't yet approach J.K. Rowling's? Seriously. Get off the danged Internet and read this amazing series!Some delights and terrors and sorrows...1. Fenrir Greyback: Bet that surprised you a little. I know that this character played a relatively minor role, but on the page he was a scene-stealer, a flesh-chewer, and a perfect foil for one of my favorite character, Remus Lupin.An aside: About a year before I began reading the series, my Creative Writing class was discussing characterization. The kids began talking about the Harry Potter books. One remarked that the supporting characters were as interesting as the leads, which led another student to bring up Remus Lupin. She was halfway through her cataloging of his merits as a character when she stopped and looked up at me, as if seeing me anew. She then said, "Mr. (Insert real name here). You sort of remind me of Lupin." When I later found out he was a werewolf, I was a little bit shocked (and secretly pleased). But when I really got to know the character, I found the remark incredibly gratifying.Back to Fenrir Greyback (with whom I hope I have nothing in common)...What made Greyback so incredibly interesting to me was not only the sheer ferocity of his behavior, but the diabolical simplicity of his motives. If the Harry Potter books were likened to Lord of the Flies and Voldemort's ambition were compared with Jack's (the leader of the hunters), then Greyback would be Roger, the sadist. This powderkeg of a character lives only to rend flesh and to guzzle the steaming lifeblood of his victims. Greyback doesn't want to rule the world; he simply wants to terrorize it. I don't know what kind of a role he plays in the seventh book (if any), but his unreasoning brutality added just the right note of menace to a book that largely---and sensitively---focused on the romantic relationships of its teenagers.2. Fleur's Surprising Reaction: I admit to falling prey to a stupid prejudice here, and I feel awful about it. But I wrongly assumed Fleur Delacour was a pretty face without a soul. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire she was the object of many male desires (Ron's particularly), and though she was skilled at wizardry, she wasn't an especially affecting character. She did seem affected, however, and when she showed up again in Book Six, I, like Mrs. Weasley, rolled my eyes and dismissed her as a fluttery, vapid future supermodel.How wrong I was.One mark of a great writer, I think, is the ability to surprise the reader without cheating. That's J.K. Rowling. When something terrible befell Fleur's fiance, I was all set to mentally berate her for her superficiality. But rather than making a caricature out of Fleur---as I fear I unknowingly did---Rowling transformed her and made her deeply endearing with a couple elegant lines of dialogue.And I loved that. So here's to continual reminders to not judge people by appearances or even their seeming personalities. People can still surprise us, and we need to give them the opportunity to do so.*takes a deep breath*And lastly...3. Dumbledore: If you've read this far, you've only been assailed by minor spoilers. I don't want to spoil this plot twist, but I don't know how to talk about it without spoiling it. And the fact is, I don't want to talk about it.Rarely has a fictional character so resonated with me the way Albus Dumbledore has. In the first book he was wise, eccentric, and a constant source of comfort. As the series has developed, he has persisted in exhibiting those traits, but he has also grown more than most might think. He has revealed a penchant for trusting others too much. He has admitted how fallible he is, how prone to mistakes. He has been injured, accused of wrongdoing, and generally fed through a physical and emotional woodchipper.And he has come through it all with an open, caring heart and an enormous capacity for love. One passage in particular, I think, summarizes this amazing character for me. In a scene that chronicles how Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore attempts to gird Harry's resolve and confidence in the inevitable battle with his nemesis:"Yes, you have," said Dumbledore firmly. "You have a power that Voldemort has never had. You can---""I know!" said Harry impatiently. "I can love!" It was only with difficult that he stopped himself adding, "Big deal!""Yes, Harry, you can love," said Dumbledore, who looked as though he knew perfectly well what Harry had just refrained from saying. "Which, given everything that has happened to you, is a great and remarkable thing. You are still too young to understand how unusual you are, Harry.""So, when the prophecy says that I'll have 'power the Dark Lord knows not,' it just means---love?" asked Harry, feeling a little let down."Yes---just love," said Dumbledore.The above passage will strike some as too direct, too naive, or worst of all, too emotional.It struck me as incredibly beautiful. There are all sorts of belief systems in the world, and no two people are exactly alike in their beliefs. But what Dumbledore says here is something that, were it adopted by more people, would alter our world for the better. Harry, for all his flaws, usually acts with good intentions. He befriends Luna Lovegood (another one of my favorite characters in all of fiction), gives of himself to others, and is willing to suffer so that others won't have to experience the same pain. In other words, Harry loves.And so can Dumbledore. Which is why this book was so memorable, wonderful, and painful to me.I'm going to go now. My wife is making a delicious supper. My son and first daughter are ready to wrestle. And my three-year-old is racing around the house casting spells on the furniture with her Harry Potter stick.And for that, J.K. Rowling, I thank you.

Liza H

I admit this is a re-read, as I have of course read this book before, when it first came out in 2005. I haven't read it since, however, and the way my brain retains information (ie: it doesn't) it was almost like reading it for the first time. Which is why I'm counting it here. I'm one of the many who have been following Harry in his adventures with much interest and glee, and this book held as much magic for me as all of the previous ones. I'm especially thrilled with how much these books have "grown up" along with the characters (and, presumably, most of the readers). I know a lot of people didn't like how Harry fell for Ginny, but I didn't mind it. And the insights into Tom Riddle's life was very interesting; while Voldemort will always be the stereotypical bad guy, it was great to know how and why he is the way he is. I also got a kick out of Slughorn, and one of my favorite scenes is at the Christmas party when Slughorn has his arm around Snape, talking about his "star pupil". Snape continues to be extremely interesting too - and the fact that he IS the Half-Blood Prince that Harry (and Ron!) have been "worshipping" via his old textbook speaks volumes as well (ha, I punned). I've always been a Snape-lover, and when he killed Dumbledore I was surprised (at least, I was the first time I read the book!) but I very quickly came to the conclusion that this was planned between him and Dumbledore; that Dumbledore's pleading "Severus, please" was not for his life, but for his death. Because of his withered arm and weakness from the potion he'd drunk, I'm also very convinced that Dumbledore was probably dying anyway.It was good to give this book a very close re-read, since the final book came out, and that review follows...

Fred D

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!!! The Half-Blood Prince was easily the best book in the series up to this point. It kept me riveted. This book is right up there among the best fantasy I've ever read. Rowling has finally earned a place in my mind among the best fantasy writers. I know, I came to that realization kind-of late, but this was the first book of hers that really blew me away. It was fascinating to see the scope of the story expand and long-time mysteries be illuminated. In any great fictional story, the scope of the story expands as the story arc progresses. That was definitely the case with this book. The scope of the story expanded, and your knowledge of what's going on greatly increased. Everything that happened up to this point is seen in a larger context. Now that the Ministry is convinced that Voldemort is back, the real war against Voldemort has begun. People are dying every day. Has Snape betrayed the Order of the Phoenix? The book gets off to a suspenseful start. Then Dumbledore decides to give Harry private lessons, and each lesson is fascinating as they use the pensieve to explore memories of different people to try to figure out Voldemort's origins, motives, and plans. Dumbledore gives Harry an assignment to collect a memory from Professor Slughorn, one of the new teachers on the staff, that holds the key to understanding Voldemort's plans. Harry obtains the memory, and from that point forward I could not put the book down. Each chapter from that point on was riveting. Each one contained incredible, amazing events that expanded the scope of the story arc and expanded your understanding of what was happening. The chapter on on 'horcruxes' in particular blew me away. Finally we know how Voldemort achieved immortality! Now it was clear what had to be done to defeat him! It changed everything. That chapter defined the course of the rest of the series. Later, Dumbledore took Harry on a mission to destroy one of the horcruxes, and the account of that excursion was brilliant. I was totally riveted. It was so descriptive, so suspenseful. Upon their return to Hogwarts, they discovered that the school had been infiltrated by Death Eaters, and a full-blown battle erupted. Again, it was so suspenseful, I could not put the book down. Somehow I knew that Dumbledore had to die. Harry had been under Dumbledore's tutelage and protection throughout the whole series. I could see why Dumbledore dying was necessary for Potter's further growth and development. It sets things up so that Potter will have to face Voldemort one last time in the last book, alone. It had to be that way. One thing worries me though. Is Harry ready? After all, he hasn't completed his education and training. Harry was no match for Snape in their duel at the end of Half-Blood Prince. He still has a lot to learn. How can he ever track down and destroy 4 horcruxes, and then destroy Voldemort, all by himself? This is by-far the largest task he's ever had to face, and seems too much for him. Well, we'll just have to see, shall we?P.S.: Am I the only one that has a reasonable guess as to who R.A.B. stands for? Without having read Deathly Hollows yet or knowing anything about how things actually turn out, I think I have it figured out. Think about it: Who in the entire series do we know with a last name that begins with a B? Well of course, there's the Black family. Now there are lots of Blacks, but who among the Blacks has a first name beginning with an R, who opposed Voldemort? Of course! Sirius's brother Regulus! Who else could it possibly be? Regulus stole the horcrux, and soon after Voldemort killed him. It all makes sense. Why hasn't anybody else figured it out? Remember, this is just a theory. I haven't read Deathly Hallows and I know nothing about how things actually turn out. I'll have to read on and see if I'm right.

Mohammed Arabey

First of all ,It's the less "action" book in the series, That's why many may get disappointed, But I see it's one important book for the character development and to wrap up the actual "Task" of how Harry should finish Voldemort. as at that book we learn more about his past also we realize secrets that the writer kept hidden-although gave some hints that proved it was there from the beginning-about what Harry's facing, The cleverness of showing the "Horcruxes" idea was there since the early stage of the books is remarkable. One of the things I adore about Harry Potter that it's set in the real world ,"Our World" ..the beginning of that book implant that concept.. that the events we're reading since book one is happening here in our real world,The Prime Minister scene/chapter is real amazing addition to the series,and it include most of the major events we witnessed happened at the Wizardry world through the previous books and how it affect our world.The characters get more complicated here at that book..as for Snape secrets reveal...shocking for some and relieve those who always mistrust him being in the good side.. Well plotted twist from J K -which won't stop twisting the plot cleverly specially in Snape's character- Also there's a depth in Draco's character that really serve the plot of this and next book.Then the guardian role of Dumbledore at Harry's life start to manifest at that book. Then the atmosphere of the life in the wizardry world -like the Diagon ally scene was darker than ever. And there's also the romance which is increase at that part due to the coming of age. You'll love the Hermione-Ron relation.In short ..... it's the best way to introduce the beginning of the end of a Saga .

John Brooks

The crown jewel of the Harry Potter series, "Half-Blood Prince" is one of the finest novels I've read in my lifetime. Having allowed us to watch Harry evolve and mature for so many years, Rowling finally lifts the veil, so to speak, humanizing the larger than life characters of not just Dumbledore and Snape, but significantly and achingly, Tom Riddle. This is love letter to one of the hardest things we all experience: the moment that your idols become your peers, your parents become your friends, and your superiors your equals, when you realize we're all in this together and that it is nobody's job to shelter you, and when, finally, you realize that people are absolutely human.Rowling's affection for her characters and her sympathy for even the most vile of her creations (the Malfoys and Voldemort himself) are at the heart of Harry Potter's lasting beauty and insight. Here, she explores her three most fascinating creations, and one wishes the story would never end. But it does, and when it does, Harry is faced with the same challenge that Rowling subjects her readers to: how much faith do you really have in what you've been told, and do you believe, at the end of the day, that good really does win out?A timeles classic. One of my favorites, ever.


OK. I'm prepared to admit I've read it. As someone once said about Jeffrey Archer novels, it's rather like a packet of stale chips. You keep taking them out and eating them, hoping that the ones at the bottom are little better. But they're not. After a while, you notice that the bag is empty, and you feel rather disgusted with yourself.She claims the whole story was planned from the beginning. Yeah, right. Though, to be fair, she's in good company; Proust said something similar about A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu. He didn't come across as very credible either.


After the loss of the (admittedly: occasionally interminable) dark psychological tone of the last book, this one falls into a very recognizable 'plot coupon' pattern, which should be familiar to anyone who played D&D or watched Dragonball (we were all 11 once, right?). Of course, constructing the finale around such a simple and direct concept for the ending of the conflict is easy for the author. However, it is formulaic and predictable for the reader, and robs us of actually seeing a physical and intellectual struggle between foes. Of course, this does not mean that they do not strive against one another, but by providing the separation of such a plot device, relocates the entire point-of-conflict to an arbitrary, external point. Thermal exhaust port, indeed.For more on such plot-specific concepts, please enjoy this article: http://www.ansible.co.uk/Ansible/plot....This book was mainly built to set up the finale, and feels in many ways to be less of a complete story than a 'second in a trilogy', without a real point and ending of its own, and reliant on the final chapter to decide its importance. This is also the book with the greatest adherence to actually surprising the audience with a main character death. At least, it would be, if it weren't unfortunately easy to match the emotional directives given to the characters by the author and recognize that what the author wants us to think shows us precisely what will happen. Misdirection is an art, but it should not have to be a martial one.Long story short, I unfortunately guessed the 'twist' and spent the greater part of this book watching the author try to throw red herrings in my path. A bit disappointing, but still a fairly interesting and exciting tale. The historical and character exploration provide some of the strongest elements in any of her books. It does not quite reach the heights in tone, emotion, or motivation of the last book, but she never does reach that height again.My Fantasy Book Suggestions

Malxox ♥

THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE IS THE BEST BOOK EVER!!! Oooooh!!! <3 Honestly I ended up watching all the movies before reading the books (ashamed :( ) but because if that I have been absolutly dying to read the Half Blood Prince. It's my favorite HP movie, ergo my favorite book! I'm a bit of an odd one I guess, liking the 6th book over the 7th, but I can't help it :) Draco's in this book more. It seems to be about him and his struggles as well as Harry. I love that because it shows that he has things going on as well and that... I think it's hard for him even being the little rich Slytherin. In the earlier books he was just a little--Draco I'm sorry D:-- shit. Ruder and meaner than in thr movies. If y'all haven't figure it out by now.... I love Draco/Tom. He's my favoriteist character&actor! :3 J.K.Rowling is just fabulous, if you haven't read the Harry Potter books... SHAME ON YOU! Go do it now!!


Okay, how am I really supposed to review this book? The thing is, I'm obsessed with Harry Potter, no way around it. I've been obsessed, and more than likely will always be obsessed. So I can't really step back and give a biased review on this book... but I will give a review nonetheless.This book did not let me down. Just like Order of the Phoenix I read it within 24 hours. Every single chapter, sentence, word, grabbed at me! By this point in the series I'm seriously invested in the characters and the events going on around them, and Rowling has not done anything to them to upset me too much. Well, there is something that happens to one of my favorite characters at the end of the book, but I'm not going to spoil it because there are actually still people out there who have yet to read the book.The thing that is amazing about Rowling is that as Harry grows, her writing seems to grow as well. If you look back at the first book and compare it to the sixth book, the first book seems so childish, young, easy and simple, while the sixth book is the exact opposite. It also makes the books a lot more accessible to readers of all ages. Kids can start reading them on their own or with their parents, and adults can read them and reassure themselvest that they're not reading a kids book.There's so much I want to say about this book and this series, but... I can't without giving too much away. If you haven't read the series, you will be very lost if you start with this book, so start at the beginning. If you have read the series but haven't read this one yet, get it now and read it! It will not disappoint you at all! Once again, Rowling has out done herself. Now... we just wait for the seventh book.

Carmen Maloy

What stands out in book 6:* The introduction of the Horcrux. * Molly Weasley asking Arthur Weasley about his "dearest ambition." Rowling has always been great at revealing little intriguing bits about her characters at a time, and Arthur’s answer "to find out how airplanes stay up" reminds us about his obsession with Muggles.* Harry's private lessons with Dumbledore, and more time spent with the fascinating and dangerous pensieve, arguably one of Rowling’s most ingenious inventions.* Fred and George Weasley’s Joke Shop, and the slogan: "Why Are You Worrying About You-Know-Who? You Should Be Worrying About U-NO-POO--the Constipation Sensation That's Gripping the Nation!"* Luna's Quidditch commentary. Rowling created scores of Luna Lovegood fans with hilarious and bizarre commentary from the most unlikely Quidditch commentator.* The effects of Felix Felicis.* We get a fascinating view of the history of Tom Riddle.* The major question of the book: Whose side is Snape really on?Amazon Review: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 characters, as well as her carefully nuanced depiction of a community at war. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, no one and nothing is safe, including preconceived notions of good and evil and of right and wrong. With each book in her increasingly remarkable series, fans have nervously watched J.K. Rowling raise the stakes; gone are the simple delights of butterbeer and enchanted candy, and days when the worst ailment could be cured by a bite of chocolate. A series that began as a colorful lark full of magic and discovery has become a dark and deadly war zone. But this should not come as a shock to loyal readers. Rowling readied fans with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by killing off popular characters and engaging the young students in battle. Still, there is an unexpected bleakness from the start of Book 6 that casts a mean shadow over Quidditch games, silly flirtations, and mountains of homework. Ready or not, the tremendous ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will leave stunned fans wondering what great and terrible events await in Book 7 if this sinister darkness is meant to light the way.

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