Sixth-year Hogwarts student Harry Potter gains valuable insights into the boy Voldemort once was, even as his own world is transformed by maturing friendships, schoolwork assistance from an unexpected source, and devastating losses.
Harry struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry's life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes.
I really enjoyed this HP book... while the other took me weeks to read, I had this one done in about a week! Some of this review will include the movie, as I did go see that, and how the two pair up.
This is the "year of love" as many have described it for Hogwarts students. Some of the book focuses on that, as I think it should. One of the main ideas emphasized throughout the series is that Harry Potter was saved because of the love his mother had for him. Its only natural that it should explore other forms love can take. You see the relationships hinted on in other books come (and go). But one thing stays constant: friendship. Minus Hermoine's fits when Ron and Lavender hook up for a bit, but that all gets better.
One thing that's interesting about the books is the fact that Ron and Hermoine are both Griffindor Prefects, which gets lost in the movies. They have been since HP5, I believe. But, when you think about it, that fact is kind of moot. But I still like it nonetheless. Another part that's lost from book to film adaptation is the fact that the students are beginning the Apparation lessons and getting certified. This is HUGE at the end of the book, as Harry, even though he is not certified, apparates both him and Dumbledore back to Hogwarts, as Dumbledore is too ill to do so.
Another interesting thing that happens is Harry's "special classes" with Dumbledore, in which he learns much about Tom Riddle, AKA Voldemort. He gets an insight to Riddle's past, and begins to understand what makes Riddle the way he is. Part of it has to do with the various horocruxes Voldemort has, and what that does to a person.
The Horocrux is also a very interesting twist to the plot! Those reading this who don't know HP speak, a horocrux is something that can contain part of a person's soul. It can be any object, but is usually something significant to that person. What they do it they split their soul, each time losing a part of their humanity. The only way to split a person's soul is to commit murder, so no honorable person would do this. We learn in this book that not only has Voldemort split his soul, but he's done so 7 times... and no one knows what he put those peices of his soul into. There are speculations, as Dumbledore knows different things Voldemort would want. And two of which have already been destroyed by the beginning of the book (Tom Riddle's diary and the Slytherin family ring). Dumbledore promises to take Harry with him the next time he goes to find and destroy one of the horocruxes. Which, ultimately, ends in Dumbledore's death (his weakened state leads for strength to protect himself).
We also find out that *gasp* Snape really is a Death Eater! No surprise there. Really, if you were surprised, you obviously haven't been paying attention while reading the books. And, the filthy bugger is the one to ultimately kill off Dumbledore! (Hey, I told you there would be spoilers!) What is interesting is the fact that Draco Malfoy couldn't. Do I sense a change of heart? Will he go over the the Light Side of the Force when Darth Vader is dead? Um, I mean Voldemort. Yeah...
I'm sure I missed other such important things (such as Neville Longbottom actually getting good as wizardry), but its hot and I'm upstairs without any refreshments.