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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (JK Rowling)

July 16, 2010

Wow. This book doesn’t lose any of its power, does it? I think of all the series, this might be the true tour de force. I remember the vast feeling of uncertainty I experienced after reading this book for the first time, and I have to admit that I still feel surprisingly stunned after reading it. It’s very well-written, and Rowling really renders characters and events nicely here. I think what’s nicest is the fact that as you read this book, you start to notice all the history and all the nuances that have been building up for the past several books.

In any case, I was struck once again by the way Rowling is able to spin her tale in such a compelling and realistic manner. Of course, I’m not sure most people would agree with the statement that I found this book “realistic” with all the magic and whatnot, but it’s true — Rowling’s aptitude for creating verisimilitude where there is no reality to represent is quite incredible. Even before I watched any of the movies, the world Rowling has created is so vivid and so fleshed out that it really does seem quite real.

With this book in particular, I think the idea of trust and friendship is almost overpowering. There has always been the idea that Harry’s capacity for love has been his ultimately triumph, and this book seems to be laying the groundwork for what’s to come (which is true to Rowling’s form) in that friendship, relationships, and trust are all over the place. Ginny and Dean, Harry and Ginny, Ron and Lavender, Ron and Hermione, Snape and Malfoy, Dumbledore and Snape…it just goes on. The emphasis on these relationships and the importance of trust among friends and loved ones provides the undertone for the final novel, but also prompts the reader to pay attention to this motif and its implications in this novel as well.

What can I say? This novel is incredible. Had me on the edge of my seat (not a difficult accomplishment, mind you), kept me turning the pages, made me want to pick up the seventh book immediately…which I’m going to do now, actually. 🙂

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