BOOK SIX OF the greatest literary phenomenon the world has ever seen is, it must be said, an extraordinary reading experience. If Five was hard to 'get' then Six is its antithesis. Book six is fast, its action packed, its shocking, its sad, its funny, its romantic, its exciting, it will rip your guts out and leave the reader decimated, and at various times in the story, it will leave you on the verge of tears. Book five was nothing like this.
Five was full of anger, it was dark, and you could say it was very technical and informative. It wasn’t really fun to read. Which made it *very* un-Potterish. It was certainly full of pivotal information that is useful for setting the foundation to something extraordinary, but a solid foundation does not always make for an entertaining read. Six, however, is immediately uplifting, and stays that way, at least towards the end of the adventure when the sky starts to fall in and the world becomes something less than it was before you started.
JK’s writing skills have matured and she has produced a tome that sparkles. Characters have grown to near adulthood and their goodness shows at times brighter than a wand that has just been cast with ’Lumos’. Aspects of some of the characters need some work; at times even one of the story’s main stars demonstrates some qualities that are less than fulsome. The sadness of Harry’s life in particular is enough to bring a grown man to tears, and yet his strength and determination to never waiver from ’the light’ is one of the most remarkable and glorious legends of the twentieth century. And his continued loyalty to Professor Dumbledore may give you goosebumps on the several occasions that it comes into question. Hermoine is still Hermoine (thank God). Neville did not really have a major role to play in this tome but he gets an honourable a mention right at the end. Ron’s sister Ginny matures on several levels, not the least was her talent on the Quidditch field. Characters that we have loved to hate right from book one continue along this path; some accelerate along the rocky road to eternal damnation; whereas some are actually stopping to think and make their own decisions.
Hogwarts itself, it has been said, was a stroke of pure genius, but concentrating too strongly on that claim alone will detract from the many facets of JK’s extraordinary intellect that are on display right throughout this incredible seven book saga.
In some respects, HALF BLOOD PRINCE is an interesting dichotomy. It acts as a summary to WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE and yet it doubles as a prelude to THE FINAL VOLUME. It is a good way to establish and relieve the incredible events, journey and information we have all been experiencing for five incredible books, and with the amazingly unforgettable and breath taking ending to HBP, we get a glimpse of what life will be like for all of us when we leave Castle Magnificence.
HALF BLOOD PRINCE gets a mandatory five stars from this reader. Its a perfect prelude to the DEATHLY HOLLOWS, but be warned, fellow book lover. You will finish it in a state of disbelief, shock and unremitted anger. Have a box of tissues on one side of your chair, and have Book Seven ready on the other. Don't read it too quickly, though. Harry, Ron and Hermione are our friends, and if i have learned anything from six years at Hogwarts, its that they are friends for life.