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CR3 #31: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I know, I know. I am waaaaay behind on this whole Harry Potter thing. Both my parents have managed to finish the entire series at least once (I'm pretty sure my Dad has read them all half a dozen times) and I am just now getting around to it. I am, like, five years behind the rest of civilization. I KNOW. Here's how it happened: in the summer of 2003, when I was living by myself, recovering from the departure of The Sacred Cow and The Prancing Prince, I was quite depressed and didn't leave my house for about two weeks. During that time, my sub-letter loaned me the first five Harry Potter books, which I read over the course of about 3 days. I love the first four, but the fifth? I kind of hated Order of the Phoenix. There was not enough Hogwarts and far too much of Harry's self-absorbed whinging. I thought about pre-ordering book 6, but then wasn't sure if I could take another 500 pages of "Booody-hoo, why must I be special? Woe is me, this is all so annoying for ME, the marvelous, talented, and oh-so righteous Harry Potter!" I decided I'd wait. And then...somehow...nearly 8 years passed. The other day, I was flipping through the channels and saw that Half-Blood Prince was available on OnDemand, and I had a sudden desire to watch it. However, I didn't want to be one of those people who just watches the movie, so I went ahead and ordered the book.

I am so glad I did! I remember now what I enjoyed so much about the first four books in the series. The plot continues without a lot of dragging, and it is interesting to get more of Voldemort's back story. Another great thing is that Ron and Hermione are back front and center, which is great, as they are my favorite characters. Harry is still self-absorbed, self-righteous, and whiny, but at least he has calmed down somewhat, and also has begun to recognize that behavior in himself. There are many side characters, and nearly all are intriguing, funny, or endearing. Rowling deftly weaves a story of good, evil, betrayal, and intrigue into typical high school hijinks like first girlfriends and sports rivalries. There are some surprising revelations, and from this point on, no character is safe. On the whole, it's a fun story and I'm glad I finally relented and decided to read it.

Of course, now I MUST get hold of book seven -- I went to a bookstore and tried to buy a copy, and they tried to charge me THIRTY-SEVEN DOLLARS for it! I guess I will have to wait for my used copy ($4) to arrive from Amazon before I can find out how the saga ends!

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