Well, the bender is over. I suppose it was too much to ask, the pressure unbearable, the expectations just impossible. Only time will tell how Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince holds up; perhaps the next book will improve my opinion of it, put it in some sort of context.

But ultimately I am disappointed.

The primary problem is that it feels unfinished. I can only assume that the public's and publisher's pressures to release another book led to this. Certainly Rowling loads it up with plenty of conflict. But, unlike previous books, there is no resolution. Yes, the other books left some tension at the end to carry over until the next book. But this book lacks any resolution whatsoever. I can express it no better than to say that it feels unfinished.

The secondary problem is that I do not believe the characters' actions are narratively justified. I understand that certain story arcs are more dramatic and add tension. I also understand an author's desire to make the hard choices. And I also understand that people do not always behave rationally or intelligently or even maturely. But after thousands of pages of establishing characters, the characters have a history of how they behave that can not be contradicted without justification. I did not see that justification here.


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