Fred D's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
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Dec 09, 08

bookshelves: fantasy
Recommended for: Anyone
Read in March, 2008

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.
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Cristina That is an excellent theory! I can't wait to find out!


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