Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Half-Blood Review

Yesterday I finished the latest chapter in the Harry Potter saga, and I am completely satisfied.

I'll avoid spoiling anything here, and just speak in generalities.

The story, and the way it is being told, is continuing to grow more "dark," if by dark you mean mature. This isn't the darkness of pointless torture described in detail, but rather the darkness of a young man growing into adulthood with an incredible burden and finally understanding its full extent and its full cost.

Every single chapter I read, I was happy with. I never put the book down without thinking "when can I pick this back up?" Is it because Rowling is some kind of technical genius at the intricacies of writing? No. There wasn't a single time when I stopped reading and admired the actual technique she used to tell the story. I just ate up the setting, the characters, and the story, and let her tell it any way she wanted.

In fact, there was only one time I thought about the techique of the storytelling, and it's towards the end of the book. A couple important events happen simultaneously, and intsead of giving them both "face time," she follows Potter through one and then has the readers learn about the other event through Potter's eyes as he hears about it from those who lived it. It works, but it felt a little awkward.

Other general comments I can make? The characters are sixteen now, and growing up. There is dating in this book, couples "snogging" in the hallways, sneaking off together, and so forth. Some readers might wish we weren't subjected to quite so much of the teenage romance angst, but the books have always focused on the problems of the "kids" at each age. It's a fact of life at 16. I'm surprised the kids had enough mental focus to care about Voldemort at all :).

Anyway. I had a ton of fun reading this book, and will be buying book seven on release day as well. There's a lot left to wrap up ....

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