Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2007
When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hit the shelves, I was one of the many who waited anxiously on the edge of my seat to begin reading. I was in the airport that day, and I could see people everywhere with their eyes glued to the pages of an orange-colored book. It took all of my willpower to not take one off the shelf and read a tiny bit during my long wait, but I knew that that very same book was waiting for me when I arrived home. I am glad I waited though, because my excitement made the book even more enjoyable, even in the many places where it seemed to not go anywhere at all.
The latest and last installment of the Harry Potter books is probably the darkest in the series. The story opens with a murder, which told me that JKR was showing no mercy in this book. What surprised me the most about the opening of this book was that it did not begin on Privet Drive, unlike all the other books in the series. Even in the fourth, where it does not appear like the setting is anywhere near Little Whinging, it turns out that we were witnessing (or reading) a dream of Harry's, therefore it was still in the tidy little house of the Dursleys'.
The beginning sped along rather quickly, with the dismissal of the Dursleys and the seven Harrys flying along in the sky. The main character death count rose from zero to two, and the twins finally can be told one from the other (one of them without an ear). Overall, I liked the beginning, but I felt JKR rushed things too much.
The middle dragged on slowly, as if all of the speed was taken out of it by the beginning. They went on a Horcrux hunt that turned into a Hallows hunt, and then it was back into a Horcrux hunt. Also, during all that was happening, there was the question of what Dumbledore was really like. It was all rather confusing, yet still surprisingly entertaining. The middle wasn't extremely difficult to read, however it felt as if JKR was trying to fit multiple books into one.
The end I was extremely pleased with. Where to begin? Neville Longbottom completely evolved as a character, into someone people admire and look up to, instead of someone people laugh and talk about when he's not listening. Teddy Lupin was such a mood lifter in the midst of the dark tones of the books.
What I liked about `The Deathly Hallows' was the perfect ending, the spellbinding plot, and the way JKR let you imagine what could happen next. The ending was very well balanced and, in my opinion, highly satisfying. This series deserved a finale, and JKR delivered it beautifully. The plot, as difficult and confusing as it got at times, seemed to draw you deeper into the story with every page, a talent that JKR adds to her books masterfully. What an author.
However, along with the prosthere are also some cons, and unfortunately, to review this book fully, I must address them. First of all, there is the uneven speed ratio in this book. The beginning was too fast-paced, and the middle wasn't fast enough. I found that rather disappointing, because JKR usually smoothes things over perfectly in her books. Then there is the matter of the Dursleys. They just seemed to disappear in the beginning. I was sure we'd see more of them, but they just are... gone. It seemed as if JKR was trying too desperately to dispose of them. Lastly, there is Dumbledore's history. I disliked what it was in the end, because in my opinion, she made Dumbledore too sweet of a character for that. I know, that is not a very good reason, but the thought of Dumbledore using Harry ever since the beginning seems absurd. The Dumbledore I knew from the books would never do that to anyone, especially not Harry. The history we found out about seems like the wrong fit for Dumbledore.
I would recommend this book to all Harry Potter lovers, adults and teens alike. However, unlike other books in the series, this is not for younger kids. I don't recommend it to those under ten. I believe this book is geared for ages ten through one hundred and ten.
JKR has, through this series, let the entire world laugh together, cry together, be surprised together and hate villains together. Did I like this book? Yes. It could have been better, but I liked it. JKR is an unimaginably talented author, and because of her many kids wanted to read. I would've liked it if she had shown a bit more in the finale of the `Harry Potter' saga, but nobody is perfect, and she did a good job all the same. After all, who besides her can unite all races, countries, genders, and ages in a reading frenzy over one of the best stories in the history of writing?