Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by JK Rowling (Read by Jim Dale)

September 11, 2017     erinbook     Book review

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by JK Rowling (Read by Jim Dale)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Published by Scholastic Inc. on September 16th 2006
Pages: 652
Goodreads

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.--scholastic.com

Of the 7 books in the Harry Potter series (I still contend that Cursed Child isn’t a Harry Potter book), HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is my favorite. Now, maybe it’s not the best narratively (that’s probably PRISONER OF AZKABAN) but it’s the best to me. And why is that? I can explain in one word: Snape.

If you know anything about me at all you know I’m a huge fan of Severus Snape. He’s the most interesting character in the book. Harry spends most of his time blaming him for various things but while he’s not a pleasant person, he’s never the evil that Harry makes him out to be. He’s not black, he’s not white, he’s gray. He’s the bridge between Harry and Voldemort, a half blood who could go either way. And the debate of good or evil for Snape made up a large part of my early time online (I was always firmly in the Snape is good camp).

So imagine my delight in finding out that this book had a much larger amount than the usual amount of Snape in it. This was one of three books in the series that I managed to grab at midnight release parties. The moment it was in my hands I was off, staying up til the early hours of the morning to finish.

Harry by this point in the series has past his ALL CAPS phase and is back to the hero we know at love. War is here and the wizarding world is fighting. This is the point in these stories that I alway love. The build up is done and it’s time to put up or shut up for the characters. That’s exactly what Rowling gives us. It’s also the second book in a row where Rowling kills off a significant character and you realize that no one is safe any longer. I mean sure Cedric bites it earlier on but he’s not all that significant compared to the deaths of five and six.

This book also marks a few more times when you get to see things from outside what is known as “the Harry filter”. Harry’s a very unreliable narrator, the books viewed from his eyes skewing much of what he sees. But these scenes at Spinner’s End and with the Muggle Prime Minister are seen from outside of this filter and untouched by his bias.

As always this audiobook is narrated by Jim Dale and his performance is incredible. Only a few narrators are good enough to have me coming back to listen again and again and Dale is one of them.

I recommend this entire series to anyone who has not yet read a Harry Potter book. Seriously, get on that. What are you doing?

Who is you favorite Potter character? Share your pick in the comments

From my shelf to yours,

Erin

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