This post is not so much a review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling as an acknowledgement of my having read it twice. The first time I read it I was still inclined to think that Severus Snape was going to prove to be an ally in the end. If he was trusted by Albus Dumbledore, I trusted him, too. In a different frame of mind I noticed so much more the second time I read the book. Professor Snape (the headmaster always insisted that Harry speak respectfully and never call him simply "Snape") took the Unbreakable Vow to protect Draco Malfoy and kept his vow. As far as I can tell, that vow continues into the final book.
I am sure we all have questions going into the final book. Can Harry really not return to Hogwarts? How can he not take Ron and Hermione with him? How will Harry find the horcruxes? How many enemies will he have to face? Will Rowling introduce a new character R. A. B.? How will friendship and love support Harry? Can Harry go through all of these trials and stay lovable?
I would not be surprised if writing book seven takes the author a little longer than some of the others. Imagine the security she will have to protect against leaking the story before publishing day. Imagine the last round of Harry Potter parties. It should be big.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005. ISBN 0439784549