Sunday, July 17, 2005

A spoiler-less look at HBP

Have already finished My first reading of Half Blood Prince!! YAAAAY!!!! :)

I was about to go alone to buy the book but suddenly a lot of my friends started getting interested in coming along and buy it themselves!! So, 6 of us went and stood in what must've been a mile long queue in (and around) our neighbourhood Barnes and Nobel. Soon, however, someone told us that a nearby shop is also selling the books and there is absolutely no rush there. So, we got our copies in no time at all!! I was surprised to see the UK edition too! I didn't know that they are allowed to sell the UK edition in US. I don't know how Bloomsbury and Scholastic work the details out. I was under the impression that only Scholastic, the US publisher, would be allowed to sell the books here in US. Anyway, all of my friends got the UK edition. I, however, stuck to my US one...

Coming to the book. In short, I liked it. Didn't get disappointed at all (unlike Order of the Phoenix, which had a disappointing ending). This one is definitely better than books 4 and 5. I still think that 2 & 3 are the best though. The series has definitely changed from a children's book/mystery novel to more of an adventure/fantasy genre over last three books. There are still questions that one wants answers to but there is no real unexpected twist or mystery unlike 2 & 3. Another major difference is that the books are now structured much different from earlier books. Earlier, about first 60% of the book used to be fun and then suddenly something major used to change the book into an adventure/mystery kind of story for the last 40%. Now, however, the major story about Harry and Voldemort needs to keep going throughout the book starting from the first page. The fun part is getting much smaller and is interspersed with the fantasy/adventure part throughout. I guess JKR can't really help it because the story is now coming to a close and a lot of things are happening, so it needs to be this way. What this means though is that there is no real rise in the excitement as the book comes close to the end and no real "climactic punch" (a much more even pace of the narrative..). This is true for both book 5 and book 6. However, book 6 beats book 5 as far as ending is concerned. To me, book 5's ending was pretty lame considering the buildup. This time the ending was much much better. Or it might be simply because my expectations from the ending had gone down after book 5.

The book answers many of the questions that almost every fan wanted to know but there are quite a few left for the last book, which is how it should be. I regret losing Fred and George (as in, they aren't in school so one doesn't get to see them a lot... which has a HUUGE bearing on the fun value of the book on the whole), but Luna Lovegood has compensated a little for them. I didn't like her character much in book 5, but here she is much better, even though she's still just as crazy as she was then. For some reason, she just sounds a bit more understanding and mature here (and so, a bit more normal... beneath a layer of craziness..).

I don't think I can write much else without spoiling it for you..... A good book overall.... I am much more excited about book 7 now as compared to what I felt about book 6 just after reading book 5. That says it all...

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