Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Half-Blood Prince: First Impressions

I am about two-thirds of the way through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and so far I'm much more satisfied with it. The story isn't as conflict-driven as some of the other books, but it is more of a mystery, with clues being dropped every so often. We're left wondering what both Dumbledore and Draco Malfoy are up to, and that's a good thing. I do find it a little annoying that she is being so coy with Dumbledore. Why doesn't he just come out and explain what's going on to Harry? The answr is, I believe, specifically because Rowling wants to string us along. That's fine as far as it goes -- you definitely want to write in such a way that your reader wants his questions answered. I wish it weren't quite so transparent that was what she was doing, but it's not tragic. Similarly, I'm very interested in the flashback scenes, since they tell us about Voldemort's background, something we haven't known much about until now. Again, though, the device comes across as being a bit contrived, even if it is something we all want to know.

Overall, though, I'm enjoying the book. I had to force myself to get through The Order of the Phoenix, but not so with this book. While I still don't think it compares (so far) with the first book, it still definitely harkens back to that style, and that pleases me. I know what happens to Dumbledore in the end, but I don't yet see how it happens, so that's all good as well. Here's hoping the book continues to live up to its promise!

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