Synopses & Reviews
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.
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. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.
"Rowling's sixth book opens in the British Prime Minister's office after 'a very long, tiring, and difficult week,' words that cast an eerie light on actual events in London this summer. Yet from the first, the author has used the wizard world to offer insight into the goings-on in the real world, perhaps now more than ever. After the new Minister of Magic introduces himself to the Prime Minister, the scene shifts to Professor Snape's home, where Draco Malfoy's mother and aunt pay him a call, referring to a cryptic mission on which He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is sending Draco. Next, Dumbledore himself fetches Harry from the Dursleys, as the two begin a book-long quest to get to the heart of the dark wizardry impacting both the Muggle and magical worlds. Although You-Know-Who makes no appearances here, his henchmen gain momentum, and his past comes to light through multiple trips via the Pensieve; perhaps Rowling's most brilliant invention yet, the Horcrux, comes chillingly to the fore. Meanwhile, after winding up with a used copy of Advanced Potion-Making with notes from a mysterious Half-Blood Prince, Harry aces his Potions class, taught by the new Professor Slughorn; Snape is now teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts what can that mean? Readers will have to madly flip the pages to find out. Rowling spends a fair amount of time in the set-up but she accomplishes a great deal in this book, pulling together threads from all the previous titles and expertly poising readers for the planned finale. Old friends such as Lupin and Dobbin make reappearances, love interests and subsequent tensions unfold. Harry, now restored to popularity, nonetheless finds Ron and Hermione wary of his new obsession with Draco Malfoy's activities. The situation at Hogwarts mirrors world events: even Dumbledore finds it difficult to distinguish the good from those who would unleash terror at the school and society at large. If Harry grew up in the last book, here he becomes a man, learning the true impact of the last book's prophecy, and the importance of love as the antidote to fear. All ages.(July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The darkest and most unsettling installment yet....[Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
] pulls together dozens of plot strands from previous volumes, underscoring how cleverly and carefully J. K. Rowling has assembled this giant jigsaw puzzle of an epic....The achievement of the Potter books is the same as that of the great classics of children's literature, from the Oz novels to The Lord of the Rings
: the creation of a richly imagined and utterly singular world, as detailed, as improbable and as mortal as our own." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Rowling shepherds her hero's arduous trek to maturity with her customary grace and good humor, though she has infused her story with more bone-cracking and blood-spattering than may be tolerable for many of the young readers who have followed Harry's adventures so far." The Washington Post
"It's not that [the book] is dull, exactly. In places, it rises to a pitch resembling suspense, or at least a passing curiosity about what might happen next. No, the main problem is that J.K. Rowling has now written six of these bricks. Even if they were getting better, they're certainly not getting any fresher." San Francisco Chronicle
"This installment...while still salted with patches of humor and romance, is the most harrowing yet....At the beginning of this book, all hands are pointing toward 'Mortal peril'....Undoubtedly, that is where they will continue pointing until the resolution of the final book in this remarkable series." San Jose Mercury News
"I don't think any of the other Harry books have begun as thrillingly as the shocker author J. K. Rowling pulls out almost from the start. We're back to the pure, intriguing, cat-and-mouse battle between good and evil." Seattle Times
"[This] isn't my favorite J. K. Rowling book...but it ranks right up there....It's heartening, both as an author and a reader, to see that J. K. Rowling is brave enough to experiment with her beloved series, and that she has remained true to the emotional and physical development of her characters. (Grade: A-
)" Christopher Paolini, Entertainment Weekly
"This is a powerful, unforgettable setup for the finale. The hardest thing about Half-Blood Prince is where it leaves us in mourning for who has been lost, anxious to learn how Rowling will wrap up a saga that millions wish would go on and on." Associated Press
"I was hooked from the first paragraph. It is J. K. Rowling's most gripping novel so far. The end is unforgettable and unexpected." Financial Times (London)
"The first half of the book offers a sense of lightness to balance the ominous doings to come....[T]he casualty list continues to rise, and Book 6 does not come equipped with a happy ending. Actually, it doesn't really end the reader just runs out of pages. More than any of the previous books, Half-Blood Prince is a cliff-hanger, setting up the climactic showdown to come." Christian Science Monitor
"Rather than overtly moral tales about right versus wrong, the Harry Potter series has always been a battle between hope and despair and the power of love against the chilly blackness of hate. The Half-Blood Prince, which is leaner and more tautly written than its flabby predecessor, is no exception." Toronto Globe and Mail
"To read Rowling's novels as an adult is to sink into a half-remembered state of childhood rapture....At a time when everyday life is increasingly charged with dark and deadly deeds, the temptation to believe that a good wizard is coming of age, a wizard who may vanquish the greatest evildoer, holds even more attraction." Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review
"From the start, No. 6 drops us right in to J.K. Rowling's completely convincing and thoroughly engaging world....Richly satisfying on its own, this sixth volume seems to function as a rest before the final storm that the next book...promises." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"The first two chapters of Half-Blood Prince are grabbers, imaginative and exciting in ways that hook both new readers and those who've read the series dozens of times....Then Rowling falls back on her usual structure...and the pace slows to a stroll." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"[A]n intense read. Literally, when I was reading the book, at some points, I could feel my heart pounding rapidly and I could also feel my eyes growing wider and wider with the suspense....More than ever, in this book, Rowling's talent is evident..." San Francisco Chronicle
July 25, 2005
'Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince': The Kirkus Review
Review Date: JULY 25, 2005
Classification: ONLINE EXCLUSIVE
Revealed at lastnow that the fog of whipped-up anticipation, secrecy, hints, threats, news stories of legal action, wild speculation, midnight-oil-burning and marketing smoke is thinningthe penultimate Potter sequel delivers, as have its predecessors, a tale worth the wait. Readers who felt a bit hammered by the adolescent rage coloring Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003) will be relieved to find that Rowling has returned to the lighter tone of earlier episodes, though properly portentous events do swirl in the background, and, as promised: There Is a Death.
Harry enters his sixth year at Hogwarts knowing that he has a pivotal role to play in the now-open war against Voldemort, sure that Draco Malfoy is up to something, and more than a little conflicted by his attraction to Ginny Weasley, sidekick Ron's suddenly not-so-little sister. Harry's relationship to Dumbledore is entering a new phase, too, as under the kindly old wizard's direct guidance, he begins taking trips through a series of magically preserved memories to explore his archenemy's parentage and character.
Meanwhile, Harry's glee at getting a leg up in Potions class thanks to a heavily annotated old textbook that once belonged to a mysterious Half-Blood Prince” rivals his discomfort at being caught between Ron and Hermione, who are going through a rocky patch, and the horror of discovering that his new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor is none other than hated, hateful Severus Snape. How could Dumbledore possibly insist, as he repeatedly does, that Snape is a trustworthy ally?
While charting teenage infatuations and friendships with a wry wit that occasionally tumbles into outright merriment, Rowling tucks in several revelations (notably, the secret to Voldemort's seeming immortality), adds a dash of sympathy for Malfoy (of all people!), who does indeed turn out to be part of an ugly scheme, and further develops Snape's role as a pivotal character. Then, after a heartrending test of Harry's loyalty to Dumbledore, Rowling propels the plot to a climax that isthanks to artful pre-pub preparationtragic, but not uncomfortably shocking. This newest excursion into the Potterverse will leave readers pleased, amused, excited, scared, infuriated, delighted, sad, surprised, thoughtfuland likely wondering where Voldemort has got to, since he appears only in flashbacks. There's no doubt, however, that he'll figure prominently in what promises to be a spectacular finish.
ROWLING, J. K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. illus. by Mary GrandPré. 672p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. 2005. Tr $29.99. ISBN 0-439-78454-9; PLB $34.99. ISBN 0-439-78677-0. LC 2005921149.
Gr 5 UpOpening just a few weeks after the previous book left off, the penultimate entry in the series is, as the author foretold, the darkest and most unsettling yet. The deeds of Voldemort's Death Eaters are spreading even to the Muggle world, which is enshrouded in a mist caused by Dementors draining hope and happiness. Harry, turning 16, leaves for Hogwarts with the promise of private lessons with Dumbledore. No longer a fearful boy living under the stairs, he is clearly a leader and increasingly isolated as rumors spread that he is the Chosen One,” the only individual capable of defeating Voldemort. Two attempts on students' lives, Harry's conviction that Draco Malfoy has become a Death Eater, and Snape's usual slimy behavior add to the increasing tension. Yet through it all, Harry and his friends are typical teens, sharing homework and messy rooms, rushing to classes and sports practices, and flirting. Ron and Hermione realize their attraction, as do Harry and Ginny. Dozens of plot strands are p
We could tell you, but then we'd have to Obliviate your memory.
As the Harry Potter sequence draws to a close, Harry's most dangerous adventure yet is just beginning . . . and it starts July 16, 2005.
We could tell you, but then we'd have to Obliviate your memory.
About the Author
J. K. Rowling has won the Hugo Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Whitbread Award for Best Children's Book, a special commendation for the Anne Spencer Lindbergh Prize, and a special certificate for being a three-year winner of the Smarties Prize, as well as many other honors. She has been a featured guest on 60 Minutes
, The Today Show
, and Larry King Live
. Rowling has also been named an Officer of the British Empire. Joanne Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury near Bristol, England. After she graduated from Exeter University, she found work as a secretary, and later spent time teaching English in Portugal before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland, with her daughter. She currently resides in Scotland with her husband and two children.
Educated at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Mary GrandPre began her career as a conceptual illustrator for local editorial clients. Continually experimenting with media, Mary underwent many artistic changes in her expressive visual form. Her concerns for light, color, drawing, and design came together in evocative, ethereal pastel paintings evolving toward a style she now calls "soft geometry." Mary's new work attracted corporate advertising and editorial clients. Some of the include: Ogilvy & Mather, BBD&O, Whittle Communications, The Richards Group, Neenah Paper, Atlantic Monthly Magazine, Random House, Berkley, Penguin, Dell and McGraw Hill publishers. Recently, she was featured on the cover of Time Magazine for her work with the Harry Potter Series and also worked as a visionary in the environment/scenery development in Dreamworks animated film Antz.