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Book review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Phil's Rambling Rants
November 29th, 2005
07:46 pm

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Book review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Today's book review is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.

I finished this yesterday evening, but haven't had a chance to write about it until know.

This is, of course, Book 6 in the Harry Potter series.  I assume pretty much everyone has already either read this book or already decided they don't want to read the series, but just in case I have a reader who just arrived from Mars, I should explain that this is definitely part of an ongoing story, and you should start at the beginning; the first book (Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, or in the UK, the un-cheesified version Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) is a little bit weak, but it's quite short, and the second book (HP and the Chamber of Secrets) is a good representative sample.

This book does show that the minor distraction of being made more wealthy than Queen Elizabeth by the success of the earlier installments have not completely destroyed Rowling's ability to write.  The characters still seem like the the same characters, the world is still engaging, and the plot advances significantly to the conclusion we're all expecting in the seventh and final book.  I don't want to include spoilers, so I'll just say that a major ongoing story thread took a decisive turn I hadn't really expected, major things happened to characters that I didn't really expect, but it seems to be fitting together and heading for a more coherent conclusion to the series than I really expected.  Through the first five books, I wasn't really convinced that Rowling really knew exactly where she was going with the series, but book six makes me think that she really did have the whole thing planned from the start.  I'm definitely waiting to read the seventh book; we sort of know that the good guys have to win, but it will be interesting to see just how it works out, and also to see if Harry goes ahead with the mistakes he seems resolved to make at the end of this book.

Harry Potter isn't as good as the hype (what could be?), but it's fun.  And this one, despite having things that bothered me, is a solid chunk of the story.  8 out of 10.

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From:pir_anha
Date:December 1st, 2005 09:33 am (UTC)
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I assume pretty much everyone has already either read this book or already decided they don't want to read the series

why would you assume that? i'll be reading it, but it just came out! i haven't even read book 5 yet. :) i'll read it when i find it used in one of my local bookstores. i tend to get to popular series fairly late because i don't let my book buying and reading be shaped by popularity. first such a book has to come out in paperback (i only buy hardcovers of books by jo walton :), then it has to appear regularly in used bookstores, or drop off the waiting list at the library, and that's how it's sometimes years before i get to it. with many series i don't even read any books in it until the series is complete (still pissed at david gerrold!), though i am torn about that, since this habit of mine is not helpful to authors i actually like. i am more frequently breaking it these days.
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From:tigertoy
Date:December 1st, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
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The impression I have is that most people I know who are interested in HP bought the book when it came out, and most people I know read fast and don't take a really long time to get around to reading a book they've bought, at least when it's a fun, relatively fast read like HP. This is all the more the case in a book that a lot of people will read and talk about, because most people who are going to read it eventually would rather read it promptly and know what their friends are talking about rather than have to stick their fingers in their ears and go "la la la" a lot. There are big events in this book that I would have been pissed to have spoiled (starting with who is the half blood prince, and getting more significant), and it seems like a lot of people who talk about books/movies/whatever are a lot less scrupulous about not spilling the beans than I am in my reviews.
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From:pir_anha
Date:December 7th, 2005 05:30 am (UTC)
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those would be FANS. i am not a fan (i generally am not; i don't feel that passionately about the vast majority of things i read), but i consider the books decent enough to eventually read.

i also don't particularly care about spoilers. for one thing, considering that i often read popular books years after they came out, that would be silly. for another, it really is a minor issue because i read most books for character and story value, not for plot (excepting certain types of mysteries). i already know what major spoilery thing happens in this book (i predicted that this would happen, though not how), and i even have an opinion on whether a certain person is really on the dark side or not, and i would bet actual money that i am right, *grin*. this will be a lot of fun to trot out once book 7 hits the stands, when i probably still won't have read this one.
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