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

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
156760
's review
Jul 09, 2007

it was amazing
Recommended for: Popular Fantasy Geeks
Read in July, 2007

** spoiler alert ** I was first introduced to Harry Potter in a Children’s Lit class in college. I had resisted this popular phenomenon until I was forced to pick it up for a grade, and Book 1 was short enough that I could read it in the course of 2 hours. I have to admit I wasn’t impressed to any extent, nor did I dislike the experience, but I was critical on grounds of its being derivative, even if reading the first led to reading the second. After all, if I was bored and looking for something light, I could do worse than a fantasy about a child wizard who fights evil with his friends. But it was really the third book, with its increasing darkness, that took me in and made me a fan.

With a movie coming out for Order of Phoenix and Deathly Hallows on the horizon, I decided I would reread Half-Blood Prince. I figured it would take four sittings, of course, with its 600 pages, but time does fly when reading this one, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my favorite so far. What I wouldn’t have been willing to admit in college that I’m perfectly comfortable saying now is that J.K. Rowling is a fantastic storyteller; she writes with great clarity, wit, and humor; and she’s created a cast of loveable characters with whom most people, due to the common experience of growing up, can relate closely.

That said, the reason for my preference for the 6th book is that it’s the most emotionally rich in the series. Here we get the backstory of Voldemort (*spoiler alert*) through a series of flashbacks (coming in HP by way of magically extracted memories), and in this way, we come to understand the villain’s similarities and differences with our hero. After all, the villain has to have reasons for committing heinous acts, and until now, we don’t know what these are.

Voldemort is from a once-powerful wizard family reduced to poverty that lives in a dilapidated hovel on the edge of a small town, wary of outsiders, and their main point of pride is their pure blood, the lineage having cross-bred for generations so as not to pollute the line. Voldemort’s mother lives with her father and brother and yearns for the love of a nonmagical man (“muggle” in this world) and when her father and brother are arrested, she uses the opportunity to bewitch her beloved and run off. She ends up pregnant, the man deserts her, and she dies while giving birth to her half-wizard, half-muggle son, thus making him an orphan (like Harry).

(Faulkner anyone?)

But whereas Harry comes to Hogwarts and befriends Ron and Hermione creating unity and strength through positive emotions, Voldemort, when growing in the orphanage shuns other children, torturing them at times (without the awareness of adults) and stealing their possessions. What fuels him is his hatred of his beginnings, his mother’s weakness at having died like a common person despite being a witch, and the “muggle” blood inherited from his father. Over the course of his time at Hogwarts, Voldemort, charming as only evil can be, learns to win over people as a means to an end and disguise his insidious purposes, but he never befriends anyone. He moves, through his hatred, further away from many of the emotions that drive Harry, namely the desire to protect the people he loves and avenge his parents’ death.

With Dumbledore’s help in exploring Voldemort’s past, Harry begins to understand that he’s come to be where he is through the choices he’s made, that his greatest strengths are an alliance with his friends, and that this might hold the key to destroying his enemy, a fact that’s made all the more poignant when Dumbledore, in an all-out assault on Hogwarts by Voldemort’s Death Eaters, is killed at the end. The stakes are higher than before, the action and pace increase as the conclusion draws near, and things are looking darker than ever, which is the setup that any fan wants when the end is looming and it leaves us with the question: How will our hero prevail?
185 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

02/09/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-47 of 47) (47 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Yaz (new)

Yaz Aww, .. ok


Claudine *yawn*


Micheline Great review! I too really became a fan of the series upon reading PoA. And HBP is an absolutely brilliantly written book and a definite highlight in the series.


Rylee I love these books as well! I may be little but I understand every thing you wrote there!!! I only started reading these 2 months ago and finished them about 5 weeks ago


message 6: by Brian (new)

Brian if u love hp watch this


Angeline Joseph What?! How can you finish it in a 2 hours?!


Melanie Lee I can relate, except that it was the third MOVIE that made me a Harry Potter fan! (Yes, I've read all the books at least twice, and have seen all the movies umpteen times.)


message 9: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie This book was good x


Kelly I cried when Dumbledore died. it was so sad in the movie theaters. sniff people were looking at me with an "r u okay?" expression but I was too busy bawling my eyes out.


Jazmine Rodriguez I thought this was an awesome review. HBP definitely is more emotionally in depth and it is beautifully written. The way in which JK Rowling tells the story is very intriguing.


Varun Purushothaman I agree


message 13: by Kaya (new)

Kaya Purdie I agree with almost all points but would have to say that for me, it is the last three in the series, not just the last two, that make up the best part of the series.


Jamie Great review. It's my favourite book in the series, for the same reasons.


message 15: by Ashten (new) - added it

Ashten Phillips Absolute favorite book in the series but I haven't read deathly gallows yet so can't say it's my my #1 fav but it's my fav so far


Vanity It's a really good book. It shows the tight relationship between Hermione and Ron very well


message 17: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary K Great book love it


message 18: by Motorpasion (new)

Motorpasion dumbledore dies, snape kills him.


molli Reed The Harry potter series is the best


Kitty Winters This book was NOT my favorite. Not even close.


message 21: by Mohinish (new) - added it

Mohinish This is the best book in the harry potter series!


message 22: by Mohinish (new) - added it

Mohinish Btw can you and how do you download books from goodreads as ebook?



Divergent 0233 This book (that I have read many times)is a great way to spend summer


Natalia This is the best book ever


Ella Gisclair #Favorite Book_ of_a.l.l._ T.I.M.e


message 26: by Raheel (new)

Raheel The novel did give an insight on the similarities and differences between Voldemort and Harry. This made the book interesting to read because it made the reader think on how Voldemort and Harry are similar but, still the difference between good and evil.


Barrett Moody Never spoil it for me to young to read it but I can't wait.


Barrett Moody What would I do without J.K Rowling


Barrett Moody Why am I even on there are spoilers as it says on the front!


Barrett Moody Good thing I haven't seen any spoilers.


Barrett Moody ... yet


message 33: by Kiva (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kiva Read this book 5 times now... still cry everytime!!!


Alexandria Neal Right now Harry Potter are the best books I have ever read. I just love how J.K Rowing has a 12-17 year old boy defeat a wizard who is the most powerful wizard of all time.


Alexandria Neal I have always cried on this book I hate how she has Dumbledore die


AINSLAY the first 2 chapters are boring but then it gets really good and *SPOILER ELERT* really sad. i mean when dumbledore dies...*SPOILER ELERT*

overall it os a grate book and i have read the HARRY POTTER SERIESS 3 times now because i love it so much. :D


shum ling kiu oscar WHO HAS POTTERMORE?


Karina Sour Harry potter is not my style, but this the first came to México about 2009 in english and for me (native spanish speaker) it's to nice for improve You reading skills, the first 4 chapters are bored but turns interesting in the course and it's easy to understand about the all story even if You didn't read the first books! It would be nice for me if the books were when I was 7 years old!
Greentings from México, see You around!


Severus Snape BEST BOOK SERIES EVER! I consider myself to be a HUGE harry potter fan.


Ashlyn Hunter Not my favorite Harry Potter but it is awesome


Ethan Graff Absolutely loved the books and the sixth one was my favorite (but there all pretty good) and good review (but still how did you read the first one in two hours).


Alysha Miller Hi my name is Alysha and I LOVE the Harry Potter series. I have read it twice already. My friend has read for like the seventh time in a row. She can recite the entire chapter when Dumbledore dies(sorry to be a spoil bug) an my other friend has read the series once and watched the movies so many times he knows what happens in the books. Even though I heard that the books are better than the movies


Jacob Gers OMG so sweet my father tolld me about the harry potter series and they were books after a asked what he was watching one day there hbappen to be a marathon


Tilly I love all of the HP books but this one was my least favorite. Right away I knew that the notebook was Snape's it was so obvious. Also I found it pretty boring. Although Dumbledore's death was heart wrenching, this was by far JK's worst HP book


Timothy Nice review!


Olivia Harrington Great review! Harry Potter is what got me so into reading and I think it will always be my favorite series.


back to top