Harry Potter #6: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling
The first time I read “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” I don’t remember liking it all that much. After “Order of the Phoenix,” it just seemed less complex, shorter, and…I can’t quite remember. But for me, “Half-Blood Prince,” like “Order of the Phoenix,” is a book that gets better and better each time I read it.
I’ve also read online that J. K. Rowling considers “Half-Blood Prince” and “Deathly Hallows” as two parts of the same book, and when I keep that in mind, I like “Half-Blood Prince” even more.
The Ministry of Magic has finally been forced to acknowledge that Voldemort is back. Harry, Ron, and Hermione scan The Daily Prophet for names of his newest victims, and even Muggles are starting to notice mysterious deaths and weird disasters.
Professor Dumbledore takes Harry under his wing, finally answering some of the questions Harry has had for years. In private lessons, Dumbledore recounts Voldemort’s history as Tom Riddle and his rise as a Dark wizard. Harry learns about Horcruxes, magical objects that are the key to Voldemort’s immortality. Finding and destroying Horcruxes becomes the main focus of this and the last book in the series.
In their sixth year at Hogwarts, the gang balances the fear of Voldemort’s return, a new Potions teacher, and put up with Snape as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry’s hormones start to kick in, and while he realizes he likes Ginny Weasley, he’s hesitant to date her as her brother is his best friend. And with the help of an old Potions textbook, Harry becomes a superstar in a subject he once hated.
For me the best part of “Half-Blood Prince” is learning Voldemort’s backstory, as well as the shift of the series into a more adult tone. There is a lot going on in this book (as in all Harry Potter books), and a few more questions posed. Make sure you can readily get “Deathly Hallows,” because you’ll be rushing for it after finishing “Half-Blood Prince.”