Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)
by J.K. Rowling
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this, but for years I steered clear of the Harry Potter series. My oldest son, now 17, started the series when he was in second grade and has since read the series in its entirety probably a dozen times, and for years he urged me to read it, and I resisted. I resisted even when all of my grown-up friends were reading it and raving about it. I had ZERO interest in a children’s fantasy series, and honestly couldn’t understand why everyone and their brother seemed to be so enamored with a kids’ book series which I vaguely understood to be about wizards. It wasn’t until I read J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy last summer (and loved) that I decided that reading Rowling’s other work might be worth a shot. And even then, when I finally picked up the first book in the Harry Potter series, I could not have imagined how invested I would become in the characters and story of Harry Potter. I get it now.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes us back to Hogwarts once again. Harry, tortured but ever resilient, is sixteen years old now, and Voldemort and his Death Eaters are on the loose. Something fishy is going on with Draco Malfoy and Professor Snape, and Harry is determined to find out what, exactly, they are up to – but nobody, not even Dumbledore, will take Harry’s suspicions seriously. Quite by happenstance, an old, marked-up textbook lands in Harry’s hands that allows Harry to excel at Potions; this old textbook claims ownership by a mysterious self-proclaimed “Half-Blood Prince.” Who was the Half-Blood Prince, and how and why did he create the secret spells and potions contained in the margins of this old school book?
In the midst of learning to apparate, trying to solve the mystery of the Half-Blood Prince and Malfoy’s suspicious activities, and meeting with Professor Dumbledore for private trips into the past via the Pensieve to learn everything he can about Voldemort, Harry is also very much a typical teenager who is feeling the first stirrings of romantic love. Can he betray his best friend to go after the girl he wants?
Rowling does a fabulous job of taking the story line down more mature paths as the characters mature. The story has become darker and more sinister, more grown-up, and more adventurous. The end of this book left me reeling – and bawling my eyes out.