It is Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As Voldemort’s sinister forces amass and a spirit of blood and fear sweeps the land, it becomes clear to Harry that he will soon have no choice but to confront his destiny. Summary from Back of UK Signature Edition
There are spoilers in this review. Some of these spoilers allude to the events in Deathly Hallows. I simply cannot do this book justice without discussing them. Read at your own risk.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my third favorite in the series. There is so much that happens in this book that affects the entire series that it can’t not be high up on my favorites list. But, I do have a love/hate relationship with it because of the ending. Dumbledore’s death affected me more than any other death in the series. I knew he’d die. In fact, I had long figured out he would because Harry had to face Voldemort alone. But, I didn’t realize how he’d die and that surprised me to the core.
I love the amount of romance in this book. I love the chaos it creates, even though Ron and Hermione spend a lot of the book pissed off at each other. I love the bond that Ron and Hermione gain from the chaos, though. I also love that Harry and Ginny end up together. It was the happiest moment in the book for me!
Snape stood out the most to me in this book, and for good reason, of course. He’s so involved in so many of the facets of this novel. Not only is he the Half-Blood Prince, he’s the one who kills Dumbledore. I was so angry when I first read it. I couldn’t even fathom that Snape was acting on Dumbledore’s orders. But, after I calmed down and started to form my theories of what would happen in Deathly Hallows, I finally decided that Snape had to be acting on Dumbledore’s orders. (I still didn’t like it, though.) Personally, I think Snape is the most complex, well-written character I’ve ever read. You second guess your feelings for him throughout the entire series, at least I did. You never know his motives until the end. But, knowing his motives now, I can say that I loved how he continued to teach/prepare Harry after Dumbledore’s death. Harry didn’t realize it, of course, but I thought it was a stroke of genius on Rowling’s part.
My favorite thing about this book is the amount of time Harry gets to spend with Dumbledore. I’ve always loved their little chats at the end of each book. And, this book is like one long, giant chat between the two of them. I love the insight we see into Dumbledore’s character. It almost prepared me for his death and what we learn about him in Deathly Hallows.
The Horcruxes are so interesting. I had never read anything like it. (Well, of course, I hadn’t; I wasn’t much of a reader when I first read this book. But, I still haven’t read anything like it.) They explained so much and yet so little (at least before Deathly Hallows). It showed so much of Voldemort’s true character. Before learning about the Horcruxes, you just think he’s this power-hungry wizard willing to do anything to usurp that power. But after, you realize that while he is power-hungry, he’s also quite vulnerable, afraid of death and those around him. You see his weaknesses so much more clearly.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the beginning of the end, in my opinion. You can’t read it without continuing on to Deathly Hallows. Both books are so interrelated to each other. The glimpse you get of how the series is going to end is so subtle and masterfully-crafted.