Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*****Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J. K. Rowling

Reviewed August 2, 2005.
Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic), New York, 2005.  652 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF ROW).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#3, Young Adult Fantasy Fiction)

Of course you already know I’m a Harry Potter fan.  J. K. Rowling has an amazing imagination, coming up with hilarious details like Fred and George’s Daydream Charms:  “One simple incantation and you will enter a top-quality, highly realistic, thirty-minute daydream, easy to fit into the average school lesson and virtually undetectable (side effects include vacant expression and minor drooling).”

The Harry Potter books make magnificent read-alouds.  Mainly because you’re guaranteed lots of laughter.  It’s fun to share them with your family, laugh together, speculate about what will happen next, and root together for Gryffindor to win their latest Quidditch match.

I think Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my second favorite book of the series, behind Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  In this book, Harry has quit being whiny and moody, as he was in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  He’s decided to do his best to deal with his pain, and we’re all thankful.

He’s stopped getting racked with headaches over and over, because the Dark Lord is blocking his mind against Harry, which is something of a relief.  Harry and his friends are older and more serious, and the war with evil is heating up.

What I like best about this book is that Dumbledore is finally working with Harry and confiding in him, not simply confining his remarks to a summing-up revelation at the end of the year.  Harry needs a father figure in his life, and Dumbledore gives it to him this year.

I like the way J. K. Rowling keeps us guessing.  We didn’t figure out who the Half-Blood Prince was until she was ready to reveal it, though we wondered why we hadn’t thought of that person when we did find out.  I accidentally read an earth-shaking detail at the end of the book when I was processing the books for the library.  However, the way it happened was still unexpected.  She’s given her characters some depth beyond simple good guys and bad guys.

Mainly, this book is a set-up for the final book, Book Seven.  Harry has a job to accomplish if he is finally to defeat Lord Voldemort.  By the end of Book Six, we know what that job is and are looking forward to the story of how in the world Harry will be able to accomplish it.

Boy, it’s going to be hard to wait.

Year One at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Year Two at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Year Three at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Year Four at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Year Five at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 
Year Seven at Hogwarts:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audiobook
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tales of Beedle the Bard

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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