Friday, June 24, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling

Summertime is a great time to soak in some rays and catch up on your TBR (to be read) list. This summer, science fiction and fantasy lovers will be able to load up on fantastic reading easily, with the new "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" by J.K. Rowling, due out at the stroke of midnight, July 15. This is the 6th book in the popular fantasy series, and the next to last, as Harry graduates from Hogwarts School of Wizardry in the 7th and final volume.What we know so far about Harry is that he was orphaned as an infant when an evil wizard, Lord Voldemort, struck down his parents, but was only able to give Harry a lightening-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. Harry was brought up by his revolting relatives, the Dursleys, and once invited to Hogwarts for wizard training, has been able to put off most of their abuse by magical means and rescues from his student-wizard pals, Hermoine and Ron. Lord Voldemort has tried, via various nefarious assistants, to kill Harry, but has been unsuccessful each time. Harry found an adult who wanted to help raise him in Sirius Black, but was deprived of Black in the last book, "Order of the Phoenix." Though you might think that rooting for the underdog would be the main source of the book’s popularity, I think that Rowling has tapped into a universal love of hero myths and managed to tell some "ripping good yarns" in the process. Her playful and witty prose, and her endearing, well-fleshed-out characters addict readers to her marvelous world, where magic exists alongside ordinary life, and wizards puzzle over the world of common mortals, called "muggles." A new movie is due out this year, and, though she’s just given birth last month, Rowling is said to be hard at work on the final book. Her Web site is as witty and fascinating as her books, and there are always odd corners to explore.

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