Friday, August 12, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Review

A close friend of mine, Shultz, is reading the book and has threatened me with dire consequences if this post gives away anything that would make reading the book any less exciting. So here is my walking-the-tightrope attempt.

A lot of people found the book quite gloomy and dark. I can see why but then again, it's okay. It didn't make the book any less interesting for me and it didn't piss me off from the last book that is yet to be written in this series. I thought the book was very well paced. The initial part seemed dragging on but then bits and pieces of it would come to relevance towards the latter part. The book is on the thicker side obviously, just like the Order of the Phoenix was. The story is basically a setup for the final book. Maybe that's the part that people find disturbing about the book -- there is no closure like there was in previous HP books. It just leaves you contemplating what the last book is going to be like. The funny bit is -- you know there's only one more book and you know what things need to happen for that one book to end the series. Regardless of whether Voldemort lives or Harry lives, the tasks for both of them are clear.

A lot of characters whose allegiances were in doubt were clarified in this particular book. Going into the next book, very few characters are likely to be introduced, if any. One key highlight of this book -- Dumbledore openly admits to being fallible just like any other wizard and being as likely as anyone else to make a mistake. The fact that he is extremely talented drastically lessens the chances of such things happening. Nevertheless he admits to it and I found that very crucial to understanding the book. This is probably the first book where you see Harry actually applying his mind rather than just ride on pure dumb luck to get inconceivable things done. All the way until now, he just kept getting lucky or had his friends or fans who would help out and protect him....Dumbledore included. In this book, he tends to think for himself and think independently. The lucky stuff still exists and he continues to get lucky, but there is quite a bit of logical thinking that he does to progress in his school year in this book.

Some romantic alliances are formed and others are broken. They are very fluid throughout the book almost until the very end. And even then you're left thinking if A and B are REALLY together or not. But romance is brought out firmly and rightly so since they've all come of age and can't be expected to keep playing childish pranks when they're not trying to keep dementors away.

All in all, very readable and likeable. If you find it dark, don't be depressed. It's just a stage for the next one ... the ending is a start of the rocky ride that all HP readers will ride in the next book before all this ends.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright - you can cease the tight-rope walk now! I got the book from the library yesterday and 24 hours later, I have consumed all 652 pages, and left pondering the end...
Most engaging read! - I would have had no problem dedicating the next 24 hours to book 7. Its annoying to have to wait another year+ for the final edition. I think I can finally empathise with those mourning the end of the Star Wars Series - even though we'll know all the answers to the HP saga, it always leaving me wanting more...and well there wont be anymore. But I'll leave those brooding thoughts to when the next book comes out.
Anyway, Sheeshers - great review, especially about HP finally coming into his own.
JKRowling is an amazing writer - I have rarely come across charcterizations so well fleshed out - but what really amazes me is how enchanted kids and adults alike are by the books. Next time, I do plan to dress up and attend the midnight parties at the bookstores!
Potter Fans Unite!
~Shultz :D

9:27 PM  

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