|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Genre: Series, YA/fantasy
Start Date: July 24, 2011
Finished Date: July 29, 2011 (6 days)
Where Found: Chapters-Indigo
Why Read: On my TBR list
Summary: In his 6th year at Hogwarts, Harry makes a false impression on the new Potions teacher by using an edited textbook formerly belonging to the mysterious "Half Blood Prince" while Dumbledore confides in Harry secrets of Voldemort's past.
Like The Order of the Phoenix, much is revealed in The Half-Blood Prince that ties together many loose ends and brings forth new perspectives on prior characters. What seems to be missing from HBP that OotP has going for it is subplot. HBP does not renew Prof. Umbridge, who was the central villain and creator of conflicts in the previous book, leaving a lot to be desired in the 6th installment of the series. The Potions textbook's former owner (and title character) was too predictable and only the revelations of Voldemort's past through the eye of Dumbledore's Pensieve made the book worthwhile.
Not to say that the book doesn't have its rightful place in the series. Like The Chamber of Secrets, which for me and many other HP readers feel is the weakest link in the 7-book series chain, The Half-Blood Prince has several important pieces that further the development of the big picture story. Also, the ending of HBP is one of the most powerful in the entire series.
It is difficult to weigh the individual importance of each book in this series, and undoubtedly all seven books are must-reads in order to appreciate the wealth of the entire story. Let's just say that OotP wowed me more than HBP, and HBP is very close to The Goblet of Fire in my order of favourites, but just barely pales in comparison.
So, I am placing Half-Blood Prince in 5th place just before Chamber of Secrets in my list of favourite HP books. Even though a critical phase of the series takes place in this book and lots of sacrifice ensues, the lead-up to this scene & other subplots were not as effective for me as GoF were.
Rank: (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend