Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)
Common sense media: mild language and kissing, violence- Lots, and increasingly vicious and bloody, with numerous deaths (of adults), and with greater consequences as the series progresses, including another death of a major character. A student is cursed and almost dies. Some substance use, some teachers get drunk.
Kirkus and SLJ: This sixth book may be darker and more difficult, but Potter fans will devour it and begin the long and bittersweet wait for the final installment.
Reflection: I had forgotten how much the death in this book rocked me at my first reading, now though, I'm far too distracted by the TERF's overuse of "savage" in all it's forms to be too emotionally attached to anything. Though the use of the racial slur is frustrating, what oddly bothers me more is that it's used so often, as if Rowling lacked access to a thesaurus.
Anyway. Love the information we get in this book. Still solidly one of my favorites -- no wait. My actual favorite -- of the series.
Full review posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 1/23/15: ** There WILL be spoilers for this book (and the final book) so if you haven’t read it yet, BEWARE. You’re gonna get spoiled! **
I felt a bit of pressure before starting HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. It’s been a long time since I’ve re-read all of the books but I always claimed this one as my favorite of the series. After realizing how much my opinion of ORDER OF THE PHOENIX had changed, I was totally unsure of how HBP would go.
Right off the bat, though, I was still in love. I just love how this book really brings everything to the next level — from the plot to the adventure, Quidditch to romances — everything just gets bigger and better in HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. I think one of my favorite things about it is the introduction to Horcruxes. I just really love the layers that it adds to the plot and how it adds another sense of adventure for the characters. I also really, really love that we get to know more about the villain’s past. I LOVE when the reader gets to know more about the villain and his backstory. I think it adds so much to a book and even makes that villain a bit more human — whether that’s by a little or a lot. We all know how amazing J.K. Rowling is at her world building in these books so I guess I should never be surprised but that really is one of my favorite things about the entire series.
I really wasn’t big on many of the romances in this series. For me, Harry Potter was always more about action, adventure, friendship, learning, and well… magic. Movie Ginny kind of ruined book Ginny for me so I was really trying to give book Ginny another shot since I know where this story goes… I felt like she actually wasn’t hugely present in HALF-BLOOD PRINCE still so I didn’t feel like I had the opportunity to be bothered or charmed by her. She did make many appearances at the Slug Club parties and Quidditch matches, etc but for some reason I still felt like she wasn’t a very big character… I’m really interested to see how I feel about her in book seven because so far reading the books, I still don’t feel a lot! I do, of course, love the Ron and Hermione romance. You know I love best friendships turning into something more and this was a long time coming. It’s really interesting to see how this tension has slowly built and comes to its breaking point at the end of HALF-BLOOD PRINCE.
As always, I love the layers upon layers of world building. From getting to know more about Voldemort to the different classes the students take to the different places they visit… I just love getting lost in this world and something about the writing just makes me feel like it’s a real place, just out of my reach. I always love learning more about magic and what the rules are and what the limitations are. The Felix Felicis chapter is still one of my favorites and the cave scene at the end still creeps me out a lot. Then of course we have Dumbledore’s death. I’m not sure why — maybe I know the books/movies too well? — but I never really feel shaken by the deaths in these books (except for probably Fred, oh god, how will I read that) so I really didn’t get too worked up over his death… But I think for Dumbledore, it doesn’t really feel like he’s gone, you know? His portrait is in the headmaster’s office and we know he sort of… appears to Harry in the final book too. It’s Dumbledore. He’s the greatest wizard of all time. He may be dead but only kind of?
The great news is that HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE still stands as my favorite of the series so far! I was never able to place my love for the final book so it’ll be interesting to see where I come out on this re-read!
Ranking after re-read of book #1:  // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #6: [6, 4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // 
This book didn't do a whole lot for me. It wasn't bad, but it was depressing and felt kind of like it dragged at times. And I'm not a Snape fan at all, so that didn't help.