Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J.K. Rowling Book 6 of the Harry Potter Series

Now sixteen and returning to his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter, along with... read more

Now sixteen and returning to his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter, along with his friends, finds the school provides some sense of normalcy in the midst of the chaos and fear in the wizarding world since Voldemort’s return. For much of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince , building romantic tensions, complete with petty jealousies, insecurities, matches made and broken, and plenty of snogging, are as demanding of the sixth years’ energies as what’s happening beyond the gates, on the Quidditch field, or in class. But the pace never lags in this page-turner that juggles multiple surprises and mysteries, along with the usual fair share of sparkling humor. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and others have crossed an invisible line. No longer children, they stand on the brink of adulthood with almost all pretense of innocence gone. Perhaps nothing symbolizes this more than Harry’s relationship with Dumbledore. Once the headmaster sought to protect Harry from the truth; now he has made Harry his partner in seeking it out. It is also symbolized by the loss of someone beloved before this volume ends—and Rowling handles that loss with great deftness and great sensitivity to her audience, meeting many young readers, whether or not they have experienced the death of someone close, right where they are at. Many questions will continue to tantalize readers and listeners long after the book has ended, including those that arise in the frantic climax. As in other recent volumes, there are some terrific characters who barely make an appearance here. But while readers can choose to fill in the gaps on missing characters, they can’t fill in the gaps on essential plot elements Rowling must reveal. It’s a delicate balancing act, to be sure, but Rowling once again gets it right.
(Age 9 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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