Here’s the place to come for information about the new
Harry Potter book without running into spoilers.

General Information

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Author: J. K. Rowling

Original Publication Date: July 16, 2005

ISBN: 1-55192-756-X in Canada, 0439784549 in U.S.,
other elsewhere.

Cover Price: $29.99 US, $41 Can.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past fiction reviews can be found here.

Premise

Harry learns a few things about Dark wizards and the
Dark Arts, as he
prepares to face down Voldemort once and for all.

High Point

The last conversation with the Minister of Magic.

Low Point

The inclusion of a particular chapter reduced the
impact of the
ending. I’ll try to keep this article spoiler free,
so I’ll choose to
expand on that comment in our existing
spoiler-filled
discussion column
.

The Scores

For originality, this is a new tone for the
series. It’s not
much of a spoiler to say that the first five books
have been about
putting Harry’s past together, as he learned about his
parents, their
friends, and their enemies. This book, on the other
hand, is all
about Voldemort’s past, and sends the series off in a
new direction.
I give it 5 out of 6.


The imagery is less prominent than it has
been in past
books. This is about Voldemort’s history, and not
about the precise
look of the newest oddball room in the school. It
gets the job done,
and no more. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story, as I’ve said, is mostly about
Voldemort’s past.
It ties together much of what we’ve already seen,
including
Voldemort’s speech to his Death Eaters in Goblet
of Fire
.
There’s an “eye of the hurricane” feeling here, as the
events at the
school are mostly calm and controlled, while the
outside world is at
war. Things don’t really affect the school until the
last 100 pages
or so. Yes, there’s a lot of exposition, but I
enjoyed seeing those
pieces as they were put together. I give it 5 out of
6.



The characterization of the cast is pretty
good, with most of
them acting consistently with what we’ve seen before.
We also see a
lot more of what makes Voldemort tick. It’ll be
interesting to see
the next Harry/Voldemort conversation now that Harry
has this
information to throw in his face. I give it 5 out of
6.

The emotional response is milder than
expected at this point
in the series. It was interesting, for sure, but it
didn’t grab me
until those last 100 or so pages (out of 607), simply
because it was
backstory. As I said above, this feels like the eye
of the hurricane,
and it’s just not as intense as it would be if we
spent the book out
in the actual storm. Many things here were expected,
but still had an
impact. (More on that in the spoiler forum.) I give
it 5 out of 6.



The editing is a step up from the previous
two, with less
time spent brooding over one particular thing, and
most on actually
driving things forward. It’s a definite improvement.
I give it 5 out
of 6.

Overall, it’s an entertaining portion of a
larger story,
though it doesn’t stand in isolation as well as the
previous books.
Given how much each book depends on information from
the previous
volumes, I wouldn’t recommend reading them out of
order, anyway. I
give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood
Prince
receives 34
out of 42.