Somebody was bound to die, again. Once more, one of my favorite characters. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince started out sluggish, definitely, but momentum and tension built until that ending that left us shaking and teary-eyes. What can I say? Rowling has definitely left us hungry for more. Personally, Prisoner of Azkaban remains at the top of my list, but this story, with its romantic subplots (oh yes, at 16 the Hogwarts barkada should definitely be thinking about romance) and its little jokes, was thoroughly entertaining. It was also thinner than Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, making for an easier read (I think I took 5 hours, give or take some breaks).
People weren't lining up for it like before, though. By 7:45am, the "crowd" had thinned at Powerbooks Greenbelt 4. Of course, stalwarts like myself had to be there early, if only to read about how -bleep!- ended up kissing -bleep!- and that -bleep!- was (surprise!) the Half-Blood Prince. Hermione does a little cheating, Ron's place on the Quidditch team is tenuous, and Harry, well, Harry has been anointed "The Chosen One". Neo, much? There is still some politics, Percy is still the hated Weasley, Draco is still sinister (even more so that his father is in Azkaban), there's a new Minister of Magic, and there's a whole lot more Fleur Delacourt and a lot less of the Dursleys, although not enough Luna Lovegood. Hee!
Harry is definitely older, not much wiser (unfortunately), but altogether, the penultimate book does not disappoint. It is, however, definitely reading like the first act of a two-part ending. Rowling! Give us book 7 soon!