TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:
Yes, I realize I am coming awfully late to this party. Point taken! I've just never been a fantasy fan, and my only experience with Harry Potter was with the movie versions. I also have to be painfully honest and admit that I thought the "Goblet of Fire" film was absolutely dreadful, so much so that I never bothered to even see "Order of the Phoenix." Recently, I did catch "Order," and I was pleasantly surprised (shocked?) that I really, really liked it. I mean, we're talking enjoyed it to the point that I desperately needed to find out what happened afterward. Conveniently for me, the two books that complete Harry's story have been out for quite some time. 😉
You all probably know what happens in the "Half-Blood Prince," because I assume you've read it ages ago. Fair enough. Besides, I can't recount all that much of the plot, because lots of exciting stuff happens (secrets are revealed! beloved characters die! betrayals are exposed!). I will say that, if you've seen the movies, you can safely jump in here with only a minimal level of confusion. There are more characters in the book, so you may need to get reacquainted with folks who made only cameo appearances in the films (Tonks and Fleur come right to mind). No worries, though; if you've seen the movies, you should be fine.
As I said, I don't want to divulge plot details, because I hate when reviewers spoil all the good parts. Yuck! Even if the book has been out a few years, there's still someone somewhere who will be disappointed to discover all the juicy details in a blog review. Basically, just know that Harry stumbles upon the potions textbook of the self-proclaimed half-blood prince, which is chuck full of original spells and recipes. Suddenly, Harry is a potions genius, much to Hermione's disgust. Despite some romance in the air, there's also — obviously — trouble afoot, as Lord Voldemort's dark forces are gathering. During a series of trips through the pensive, we learn much more about Voldemort's past, including how he first came to Hogwart's and how his spirit managed to survive the death of his physical body. Very cool. Overall, there is so much true feeling and heart on display here — I tell you, I had actual tears! — which meshes incredibly well with the action, magic, and thrills.
I hope some of you non-Harry Potter addicts and casual fans of the movie will give this one a try. I think you'll really enjoy it. Happy reading!
FROM KINNELON LIBRARY TEEN REVIEWERS:
Review #1 (Summer 2008):
It was suspenseful, exciting, and funny. It had me on the edge of my seat! I can't wait for the movie!
Review #2 (Summer 2009):
Rowling never fails to produce another spectacular book in the series. "The Half-Blood Prince" was filled with adventure, romance, humor, and tragedy. In short, it has everything you need to make a great book.