Synopsis: The war against Voldemort is not going well: even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of The Daily Prophet looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses. And yet …
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Harry struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry’s life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes.
With Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort, and thereby attempts to find what may be his only vulnerability
Review: 5/5 stars (I know. It’s truly wild.)
Reminder that all of my Harry Potter reviews contain unmarked spoilers, and lots of ’em. If you’re one of the two people in the world who reads book reviews and hasn’t read this series, this review is not for you. So, my dear underside-of-a-rock-residing friends: scamper off now. Preferably to one of my other reviews! 😀 Never too early for some shameless self-promo.
This review will be interesting, because this book was far (far, far) from perfect, and yet I am utterly determined to give it 5 stars. (Which I have only given to the first book in this series.)
God, how do you talk about this book? It’s really amazing. It is seriously hard for me to feel anything while reading a book
or generally living my life. For example, I felt nothing when Sirius died. Nothing throughout most of this series, actually. And nothing in this book, because nothing happened and everyone survived and everything is sunshiney and joyful!
Ugh. I tried. The last hundred-ish pages of this book really tore me apart. Okay, even that’s not true. I’ll just come out and say it: I’m really f*cking sad that Dumbledore died. I love him so much. He’s high up in my top 5 characters. (Do I even have a top 5? Dumbledore, Hermione, Neville…Harry maybe…McGonagall? I dunno.) Anyways, I’m devastated, which makes me even more upset, because I have a life to live today and can’t just lay around and wallow in fictional pain.
I’m going to move on in the hopes that I just. Forget. Because I don’t like this at ALL.
Here, we see Harry Potter – who, I think few will argue, has been a fairly mediocre character up to this point – become AMAZING. He’s motivated solely by his need to work against injustice and evil. He realizes his parents’ legacy within himself. He denounces the sucking up of others. He works hard in school! He is a good friend even when his two BFFS are being childish to one another plus refusing to believe him. In short, he’s really, really, five-star-level great here. Gorgeous character development in 650 pages.
I didn’t think I liked Ginny much, because I didn’t remember this book well…like, at all. But she is so great! So funny. I wish there was more of her in this book.
Too bad Harry decided to tear her heart up into pieces for essentially no reason at the end. But also, like, same to both. Same to just breaking up a relationship really dramatically for no reason, and same to Ginny’s being like “you’re dumb and otherwise I could not care less.”
Also, I’ll fight anyone who says Dumbledore is ~the real villain~ of this series. He’s really not. (Cough, Snape is, cough.) I fell deeply in love with the guy. Dumbledore, not Snape. Ew. AND I F*CKING MISS HIM. (Dumbledore still. Ugh perish the thought of me missing Snape. Rowling could describe his dreadful death in a vat of magical acid for 18 pages and I’d crack a smile and keep on readin’.) Goddamn it. Trying to forget about Dumbledore didn’t last very long. EVERYTHING HURTS. Anyway.
I missed Hermione and Neville. Hermione was absolutely not well-represented here at all. Maybe it’s a good thing she’s not a Ravenclaw (#RavenclawPride) because she works fully against logic throughout this book. And when she’s not she just, like, refuses to believe Harry. Dumb and a bad friend. STOP TREATING MY FAVE LIKE THIS, ROWLING.
Ron is soooooooooo annoying! Is he anyone’s favorite character? He’s like, Fred or George if one of them was totally childish and attention-starved and mean. In fact, Ronald is a pretty impressive character for the number of gross character traits he embodies despite being supposed to be a good character. Damn, long sentence. Anyway, to list a few: Mean, immature, rude, jealous, definition of an inferiority complex. Bleh.
Harry and Ginny I’m totally for, BUT THE OTHER RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS BOOK ARE SO BORING. Can we do Hermione and Fred instead of Hermione and Ron? Ron and Luna would be cute
since I don’t like either of them. Or, God forbid, can we see some LGBT representation? WE KNOW YOU’RE A SUPPORTER, JOANNE. Don’t even get me started on Lupin and Tonks.
Speaking of supposedly-good characters’ downfalls: I’m no longer a Hagrid fan. It started with the last book and came fully around here. Like, at a certain point, the man needs a character trait. Liking weird animals, making bad food, and being humongous don’t count. His head is so firmly up his own ass – should I say arse in honor of this British book? – it pokes him in the tonsils. Harry and Hermione’s constant stubbornness is annoying. Plus makes the plot repetitive once in a while. Also, Tonks. You know what, I guess I AM going to get started on Lupin and Tonks! She was a hilarious badass in the last book, totally depressed and weak in this one. I know I sound like a total emotionless asshole here, but that’s who I am, and she’s annoying in this book. AND IT’S TOTALLY FINE BECAUSE SHE’S JUST BEING A SPINELESS IDIOT OVER SOME DUMB SHABBY MAN. Kill me, please.
Then I can see my beloved Dumbledore again.
Too much Snape. (Cannot WAIT to write the rant on him.) Too much Draco. (Why do people romanticize that little weirdo so much? I guess I get the temptation, but he’s a bully at best and a spineless traitor at worst.) I hate Kreacher and I hate Dobby…I hated Winky, too…I might hate house elves. If that makes me racist against a species of fictional character, SO BE IT, I GUESS.
I miss Fred and George, and the fun people from the Order (if they existed), and Hermione and Neville aren’t here nearly enough. The price of Harry’s amazing and concise character development is WAY too many bad characters, not nearly enough of the good ones. EXCEPT DUMBLEDORE. UGHHHH. I’M SO SAD. (I think my inability to cry is making this worse. Maybe if I just creepily sobbed in front of my roommate for a few minutes I’d feel better. Damn you, my lack of emotions! Just kidding love you.)
But I want to give this book five stars more than anything. It was so compulsively readable, more than any other book since the first for me. And it’s the last book where our pals are attending Hogwarts. That makes me so sad. It’s such a gorgeous setting and I’m going to miss it so much. WHY IS THIS BOOK SO SAD?! If Deathly Hallows is any sadder I’ll be seriously impressed. And also seriously screwed.
And, okay, even though I’ve been a comparatively harsh critic (which is not hard to become) of these books…and plan to stay that way with the seventh…I’m really going to miss this series. I’ve been rereading it on and off (obviously) for three months, and it’s been a fun ride. This is one of the greatest settings of all time. And since I’m rereading it after 10 years, it’s like saying goodbye twice. AND I HATE ENDINGS.
Bottom line: Okay, THIS is my favorite Harry Potter book. (Anyone else’s?) Unreal character development + tragic and lovely adieu to a gorgeous setting + ability to make me feel real, deep emotion + compulsively readable? An absolute dream.