This is my favorite book after Prisoner of Azkaban, maybe because it features so much Snape–who is the best character of the entire series. I read this Salon.com review of the movie that called Alan Rickman’s Snape “sexy,” and I felt really validated, because although I wouldn’t really call Snape sexy I feel the same way about him that I would about a sexy person: basically, give me more.
Good: the structure. Each memory feels like a little piece of candy, and you have to wait just long enough for the next one. Also, the emphasis on mystery. Every Harry Potter book has a mystery that gets solved in the end, but this one has two amazing ones: the Horcruxes and the Half-Blood Prince. Also, Fred and George’s joke shop; the crazy potions; realizing that Harry loves Ginny through the two careful mentions of the “flowery scent” that Harry keeps remembering from the Burrow; the ridiculous scene in the cave, which when I read for the first time I felt like I would pass out from suspense at any second.
Bad: the annoying euphemisms J.K. Rowling uses for when Harry and Ginny hook up–what does she call them? “sunny, happy hours by the pond” or something; the entire end, which is so sad, and drags on.