Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: J.K. Rowling
Not having read this series before, I’m fairly stunned at the end of the book and half expecting the final book undo a few of these twists. Without spoiling it, I’ll say there’s been a major character death and a betrayal by one of the main characters. It was a pretty exciting finish but up until that point this had been one of the less entertaining Potter novels.
My biggest gripe with this book was how unlikable Potter was the vast majority of it. The revelations at the end try to justify his actions for the majority of the book but getting there was still a pain. Once again, he’s ignoring Dumbledore’s advice and requests in favor of going rogue. The Half-Blood Prince referenced in the title is actually the former owner of a potions book that Harry finds and uses to cheat in school and do a dark magic attack on Draco Malfoy. Hermione acts as the conscience to Ron’s enabler persona, but across the board Harry does what he wants in this book without much care for others.
The pacing of this book was the near opposite of The Goblet of Fire in that there’s no overarching mission going through the book. Instead we follow the students through a school year with the tensions being provided by whether Ron and Hermione will end up dating, or Harry will end up with Ginny Weasley or not. On the Voldemort front, there’s not a lot of action going on in favor of a mysterious individual attacking students at Hogwarts in fairly amateur methods. Harry’s mission (that he ignores for most of the book) is to investigate a memory via the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher as part of a private study he’s doing under Dumbledore to learn about his nemesis.
One note, I recall the phrase “Half-Blood Prince” popping up in an earlier Potter novel and was fairly sure it was referring to Voldemort (who is certainly half blood as well). I’m thinking it was in The Chamber of Secrets and I’m half tempted to flip through it to see if I’m right but I’ll probably read the final book in the series first just to see if any of these big twists were actually fake outs by Rowling.