Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) Review
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I know…I know…. It’s about time I read the sixth installment of the Harry Potter series. In fact, there’s a possibility that I’m the last person on Earth to read it (and, if that’s the case, this review will have a very small audience). But kids’ book or not, it’s not easy to fit a 650-page book into one’s busy schedule. I finally got around to picking up the copy that had been collecting dust on my coffee table, though—and I’m glad I did.

With each installment, Harry and his friends get older, the books get bigger and heavier, and the stories get more intense. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, things are getting worse and worse for the wizarding community. With the evil Lord Voldemort back, his Death Eaters have left a path of death and destruction in their wake. Professor Dumbledore, concerned for Harry’s well-being, takes him away from his aunt and uncle’s house before the summer is over—so he can be given constant protection. After all, The Prophecy has said that he’s The Chosen One—the one who will battle Voldemort in the end—and it’s only natural that Voldemort would want to get to Harry first.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to school at Hogwarts, they meet a new Potions professor—Professor Slughorn, a man who may hold a few critical secrets. Professor Snape has finally gotten his dream job—as Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor—and, as usual, he’s making things as difficult as possible for Harry. And Harry’s nemesis, Draco Malfoy, is up to no good—but no one will help Harry figure out what Draco’s up to.

As Harry meets secretly with Dumbledore, he learns about the history of Tom Riddle—the boy who eventually became Lord Voldemort. The lessons, Dumbledore tells Harry, will help him face Voldemort—and they’ll help Harry survive.

Meanwhile, lessons continue, Ron gets his first girlfriend (much to Hermione’s dismay), and Harry fights off his strong feelings for a girl that he knows he needs to avoid.

There’s so much going on in this mammoth tome that it’s difficult to cover in just a few words. One thing I can cover, however, is the book’s intensity. As Hermione said in the recent movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, “Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?” And she was right. Gone are the cheery, upbeat Harry Potter books. Now Harry and his friends face more and more danger. This book will have your heart racing for all 650 pages. As the inevitable final battle between Harry and Voldemort approaches, the tension builds so much that it’s sometimes almost too much to handle. And the end isn’t just surprising—it’s shocking. It’s a difficult one for Potter fans. In fact, I think I’m still in denial.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan and you still haven’t gotten around to picking up this dictionary-sized book, know that it’s well worth it. Make time for it. If your kids are dying to read it, I suggest you read it first—because there’s a lot of action and violence, and you’ll need to decide if your kids can handle it. And if you still haven’t given in to the Harry Potter craze, it’s time—because it just keeps getting better. But don’t start here. Take the time and start from the beginning, with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

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