Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, is far and away the best of the series so far. Rowling's growth as a writer is on display in a riveting, suspenseful confrontation with the books' heroes facing allies of the Dark Lord. In this book Rowling seems to have realized what a well-drawn villain Lord Volemort is and provides readers with an interesting backstory on how he came to be so evil. Several interesting adventures also occupy the middle of the book and the overly cute dialogue between ancillary characters that fills too many pages of the other five books is kept to a minimum here. In all, this is a very good read that I recommend to anyone looking for a good adventure story.