Manassas Journal Messenger | Review: ‘The Half-Blood Prince’

FICTION | 652 pages | Scholastic | $29.99

SLIDESHOW  Harry Potter goes on sale in Woodbridge

In this latest adventure for Harry, author J.K. Rowling richly fleshes out the personalities of our favorite Hogwarts students.

We’ve watched them grow for years, and now their adult personalities are emerging. Love, at least in potion form, is in the air. Friendships deepen. Readers learn where true loyalties lie.

“This last part applies to the teachers, too,” my niece, Lorraine, reminds me.

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is shrouded in darkness, but, as in the real world, readers are shown that life goes on. It is through these everyday moments that Rowling allows readers to see good in the face of evil.

“Add that Harry knows he can’t just stay sad about Sirius,” my daughter, Courtney, says.

“Mom,” she adds, “this book doesn’t start like the others. It makes it feel so different to start this way. I realize that serious things are going on. I am jumpy as I read, always afraid for Harry.”

Recognized and respected for his increasing maturity by Hogwarts’ headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, Harry is no longer protected from the truth. He is allowed to take necessary risks to fight the enemy. The relationship be tween headmaster and pupil changes. As Courtney observes, Harry becomes more of an equal.

Lorraine said, “This book really shows how the outside world is affected by the magical one. Everyone is being sucked into the evil.”

And the book does seem that way at times: a swirling spiral of engulfing blackness. Fortunately, we also have several young heroes and heroines who display their courage when needed.

“Yes,” Lorraine says, “Harry and his friends do things they just couldn’t have done in earlier books.”

“They have really grown up,” Courtney says.

Initially anxious to complete the novel, by the time I reached page 400, I lamented that only 252 pages remained. Packed with action, wrought with many obstacles and spine-tingling till the end, those last pages flew by.

This is Class-A Rowling. Potter fans have not waited in vain.

Was it worth the hype? “This book has been the best so far,” Courtney says. “I didn’t want to put it down until I got to the last page. Then I was sad.”

I did not ask her to elaborate. Until you read the end for yourself, let’s just say she was disappointed it was over.

Lorraine is still mulling the book over. “This really makes you think,” she said. “How will the series end?”

Sue Harris started reading the new Harry Potter at 3 p.m. last Saturday and finished at 9 p.m. last Sunday. Then she wrote her review, with assistance from her daughter and her niece. A reading specialist, Harris teaches children’s literature at Virginia Commonwealth University. Courtney Harris is a sophomore at Virginia Tech. Lorraine Shelton is a senior at Thomas Dale High School in Richmond.

WARNING: Some reader reviews contain spoilers

Similar Posts