So I've just finished reading the new Harry Potter book and my simple review is...excellent.
While Rowling will never be confused with a great writer in terms of prose quality, she, like Robert Jordan, does a marvellous job of creating a believeable world filled with fantastic, yet ultimately human characters. In this episode, our boy wonder develops further into a teenager, complete with angst, anger, jealousy and conflicted feelings about the other sex (as in, I really like her but don't understand her one bit). Perhaps most interesting, though, is the quantity of backstory that is filled in with respect to the other characters. Important pieces of information about Sirius Black, Dumbledore, Snape, Aunt Petunia and James and Lily Potter are provided, and the true relationship between Harry and Voldemort is revealled.
Happily, the book does not completely follow the formula which began to emerge in the previous volumes. Much less importance is placed on such silly things as the House Cup or Quidditch, and the schism between the Voldemort-denying Ministry of Magic and Dumbledore's supporters takes centre stage.
I suppose the only real quibbles I have with the book are the lack of emphasis on Ron Weasley (my favorite character) and its length. I hope that Rowling is not going to fall into the Robert Jordan trap of assuming that bigger is necessarily better.
Over all-- 8.5/10
"It takes a whole lotta whiskey to make these nightmares go away" -- Tom Waits, Blue Valentine
I personally missed the lack of Hagrid. Considering I killed the book in about seven or eight hours on Saturday, I can't really complain too much about the length. I don't have that much of a problem with the length of a book if it is good. While I was reading the bood, it didn't feel like that much time was passing. But that's just me, I've always been like that while reading.
Baseball's Sad Lexicon
These are the saddest of possible words: "Tinker to Evers to Chance." Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds, Tinker and Evers and Chance. Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble, Making a Giant hit into a double- Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble: "Tinker to Evers to Chance."
I am LOVING the character development of Snape going down in Order Of The Phoenix-the guy just keeps on getting layers. Black's demise kinda felt tacked-on though-and the whole "veil" thing leaves me dubious as to whether or not he really did it bite the big one; plus, the continuous "Who's Gonna Get It" swerves got really annoying. WIll it be Magonagall? Will it be Hagrid? Will it be Hermione? No! Still, an AWESOME addition to the series that, while not quite beating Azkaban and Goblet Of Fire, has a cracking final few chapters that'll make any fan happy.
HST's always been unintelligible. He has his own commentary track on the new Criterion DVD of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Plenty of hooting, banging, hollering, and squealing, but not much commentary.