Okay, I admit it, I advance-ordered Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from Amazon, and, as promised, Amazon had UPS deliver my copy first thing Saturday morning, the day of the long-awaited novel’s release.
I have serious mixed feelings about the Potter series. I’ve read all the books–twice, even–so it’s obvious that they bring me pleasure. Yet, the books are definitely flawed. The first several had too rigid a structure, the narrative lines following the school schedule of Hogwarts: beginning in the late summer with the predictably awful Dursleys torturing Harry, ending the following summer with Harry’s return to their wretched house, and in between there are midterms, Christmas breaks, and finals. As a result, the first three books seemed to me a bit repetitive.
I’ve read the first hundred pages or so of the new novel, and I have to say that so far, it’s moving along at a slow crawl. Unlike The Order of the Phoenix, in which Harry was tormented by Dementors very early in the novel, even before he left the Dursleys, nothing dangerous has happened yet–at least to Harry and his friends. Just a lot of hints of danger, happening on the sidelines.
I know that all the headlines are saying this is the darkest book yet, so I should suspend judgment until I get farther in the book.
Which brings me to another point. In the past, I’ve essentially devoured the novels. They’re easy reads and I usually finished them within 48 hours. In the past I couldn’t make any claims about my impression of the first hundred pages, simply because I read them so quickly that by the time I stopped to assess things, I was already deep, deep, deep, into the novel, maybe even finished. Now, because of work and family and other circumstances, I’m going to have to dip in and out The Half-Blood Prince. So I’ll have much more time between readings to reflect on what’s going on. And in this case, what’s going on, so far, is almost nothing.