What I've been reading
Well, duh. Usually I don't get too caught up in the Pottermania, preferring to read the books in my own sweet time, but when it arrived on Saturday, I wasn't really reading anything, so I decided to plow through it. Krys buys them, but she decided to re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince just to get caught up, so I had free rein.
I should point out here that I'm going to try not to SPOIL anything, but I'll be discussing a few things about the book that you might not want to know if you haven't read it yet. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!!! No, I'm not going to reveal the ending. I'm not evil, after all.
This final book in the series does a nice job, I think, tying up loose ends. Rowling obviously has had a good outline for the book for a while, and everything fits pretty well (from what I remember, and I'm kind of stupid that way, so take it with a grain of salt). Krys asked me if it was any good, and I told her that if she liked the first six books, she'll like this one. If anything in the past twenty years is review-proof, this book is. I liked it quite a bit, but a few things bugged me about it:
The fate of the Dursleys. I realize that it's completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but I would have liked to see them again at the end, or at least have an idea of what happened to them. We finally get to see them as human beings in this book, and then they're gone. It's a shame.
The fate, really, of Harry himself. I won't say too much if you haven't read it, but although Rowling wraps it up so that it seems like there won't be any more adventures, the rather ambiguous epilogue makes me wonder if she has more stories planned. I hope not, because then it becomes a story-creating machine, and I'd rather it have an ending. The very end (I mean the epilogue) seemed kind of weak. It didn't really give us too much new information, just what we could have inferred on our own (except, perhaps, for the fate of Draco Malfoy).
The dating of the book. This is kind of strange, because fantasy novels tend to take place in a mystical "always-present-day" and don't want to tie themselves to a specific date, unless they're specifically set in the distant past. The fact that this book takes place in 1997 is kind of off-putting. It adds an unnecessary dose of realism to the entire story. We know it takes place in England, and there's a Prime Minister, and we get Tottenham Court Road in this book, so there's no need, really, to ground it at a certain time. It's odd.
The Severus Snape arc. Again, I won't get too into it, but Rowling pretty much ignored Snape for a lot of the book, and that was disappointing. Snape was always one of the most interesting characters in the saga, after all, and for him to be relegated to the background for a good deal of the book was a bit of a misstep. Especially when you consider what happens with him.
The book felt off in a few places, as well. I certainly didn't want it to be longer, but I think Rowling could have dropped some stuff and added different stuff and the book would have been much better. Rowling's strengths as a writer do not really lie in long descriptive passages, so the parts of the book where not a lot happens (which, I admit, isn't very often) tended to drag. I grew a bit bored, I'll admit, by the traipsing around the country by Harry, Hermione, and Ron. It wasn't awful, but I would have liked a bit less of that and a bit more with the other characters. That way, when we reach the final act, we'll be a bit more invested in things.
So, did any of my vast readership (I mean, come on, I have to be at 8 or even 9 readers!) read the confounded thing? And what did you think?