Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Why did I pick it up?

Again, continuation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I'm still loving the last few books more than the first few. It's like Rowling's writing matures as her characters mature and it's cool.

So, I started this one on Feb 15 and finished it sometime in the beginning of March. I kind of forgot to write the blog post once I finished it and yeah. New time slot at work, yadda, yadda, bleh. Anyway, the book itself is 607 pages, at least my copy is so, around the same page count the last few have been.

The Review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling:
The first chapter with the Prime Minister meeting the new Minister of I think it could have been dropped. Sure it was kind of cool to know the Minister of Magic talks to Prime Minister and what not but as a chapter itself? Not worth 24 pages. Next up came Snape, Bellatrix, and her sister who's Malfoy's mom making a pack. This was cool. We get to speculate why Snape needs to take over for Draco in the task Voldemort's set him up for.

After 42 pages we get to see Harry cleaning his room and leave Privet Drive. Dumbledore comes to pick up Harry and they head off to see the potential new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher.

What's cool in this novel is Harry learning about the Horcruxes and how Voldemort managed to survive the backlash of the killing curse which should have killed Harry. I also like how Slughorn is weaved around the backstory of Voldemort and the Horcruxes and how Harry is slowly learning about Voldemort's life.

What I didn't like? Dumbledore not telling Harry what he's doing or why. Dumbledore knows the liquid in the basin is horrible but drinks it anyway. Then well, Dumbledore dies. All he tells Harry is that Harry must destroy the other Horcruxes so Voldemort can be killed once and for all. Doesn't tell Harry how to get to them. Doesn't tell them what they are but does speculate with him what they could be. Doesn't even give Harry any indication of what's to come in the next book information wise (I'm writing this blog post after reading the 7th book...ooops) and just...doesn't do a lot of things.

Now, there is the whole rumour around that was confirmed about Dumbledore being gay. I didn't see it. Like, AT ALL. Did I need a sparkly banner hanging over him announcing he's a gay character? Nope. All I needed is somewhere in all these conversations Harry and Dumbledore have is for Harry to have asked something like: "Why has there never been a Miss Dumbledore?" And for Dumbledore to say he wasn't interested in women.

Hell, I would've liked Harry to ask about Dumbledore's past in general. I mean, yeah, great, have him regret asking about Dumbledore's past after Dumbledore is dead but in general when you start to get close to someone you tend to ask where they came from.

I mean yes, Harry's got a lot on his plate but you would think he'd have thought to ask Dumbledore something about his past. I mean Dumbledore's obviously lived a long rich life full of secrets. Why wouldn't you?

Dumbledore's death scene and funeral were perfect. The emotion, the shock, and Harry's announcement not to go back to Hogwarts: excellent in their execution. There are a lot of little bits left unanswered for Book 7 and I love how everything gets tied up in the final book. But, more on Deathly Hallows in the next post.

What's kind of fun is the potions book Harry's "cheating" from turns out to be Snape's. The panic when Harry uses the made-up spell and almost kills Malfoy: awesome. Also, I totally get where the "wand fight in the bathroom" memes come from now. Bonus. :P

Also: life went on for the students of Hogwarts. The sixth years learn to Apparate, there's some romance, heart-break the Muggles begin realizing something bad may be happening in the world.

And, do we all remember the piece of mirror Harry kept from his god-father's gift breaking? No? Well, remember it. He keeps it. And yes, it does come up in the last book.

Oh and I love Fleur's line: "I am pretty enough for both of us!" Taken out of context it doesn't sound like much but it says a lot about her character and who she is as a person.

The Negatives:

Again, lots going on. This isn't horrible in the slightest as I do enjoy a book with complex happenings. What happened in prior books starts to make sense the further on you go in the series which is especially true between books 6 and 7. You CANNOT skip book 6 in anyway or you'd be totally lost in 7.

The formula has been done to death and the threat of Hogwarts closing is an empty and unneeded one. We know it won't close. Why? Well where the Hell else is Harry going to have his final battle with Voldemort? It won't be in the middle of some random street or in a place with lots of people. It's going to be a place where the two orphans (Harry and Voldemort) found home for the first time.

Some agreements I have with the 1-star reviewers: The word "snog" really throws me for a loop. I realized the book was written in England but...snog. It sounds gross, not this loving thing you do with your SO of choice. Also, when the Hell did Harry ever decide he liked Ginny? Where's Voldemort? What happened to Dumbledore's hand and why won't he explain?

What I would have agreed with if I didn't know most of the plot: Dumbledore pleading for death from Snape. As stated: I've all ready read Book 7 and even before I kind of knew why Snape did what he did so Dumbledore wasn't pleading when I read his death scene. He was telling Snape to do as Dumbledore had requested.

There is A LOT of information packed into this book. It's dark. There's death. Bill gets mauled by a child-eating werewolf (you read that right) but there is a lot of emphasise on love in this sucker.

It's basically a huge set up for Book 7. Could it have been done in less pages? Yep. Did there have to be so much focus on love? Eh, probably not. Was Dumbledore's death needed? Yep. Why? You have to knock out the ONE PERSON who everyone relies on in time of war to create better conflict. It's just how it works.

Again I do have to note: I would have a lot more negatives here and be in agreement with everything the 1-star reviewers are saying if I didn't all ready know some plot points going into the series and hadn't read book 7 before this review.

Final Review: 2/5 for children and heavy readers. The children wouldn't be enjoying the much darker world of Harry Potter and the adults might be suffering from "omg-mushy-immature" romance issues.

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments section.

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