April 3, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

Title:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author:  J. K. Rowling
Format:  PB
Pages:  738
Genre:  Teen Fantasy
Publisher:  Scholastic, 2005
ISBN-13:  978-0545139700
Series:  Harry Potter, Book 7


"Albus Serverus," Harry said quietly, so that nobody but Ginny could hear, and she was tactful enough to pretend to be waving to Rose, who was now on the train, "you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts.  One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."

Synopsis (Amazon):  Readers beware. The brilliant, breathtaking conclusion to J.K. Rowling's spellbinding series is not for the faint of heart -- such revelations, battles, and betrayals await in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that no fan will make it to the end unscathed. Luckily, Rowling has prepped loyal readers for the end of her series by doling out increasingly dark and dangerous tales of magic and mystery, shot through with lessons about honor and contempt, love and loss, and right and wrong.

The heart of Book 7 is a hero's mission -- not just in Harry's quest for the Horcruxes, but in his journey from boy to man -- and Harry faces more danger than that found in all six books combined, from the direct threat of the Death Eaters and you-know-who, to the subtle perils of losing faith in himself. Attentive readers would do well to remember Dumbledore's warning about making the choice between "what is right and what is easy," and know that Rowling applies the same difficult principle to the conclusion of her series. While fans will find the answers to hotly speculated questions about Dumbledore, Snape, and you-know-who, it is a testament to Rowling's skill as a storyteller that even the most astute and careful reader will be taken by surprise.

Review:  This book is wonderful.  Between this one and the last one, there is so much good that it is hard to choose a favorite.  Without a doubt, the final two novels in this series are the best of what turned out to be a fine series of Fantasy fiction.  I still can't quite decide if I want to keep the books or not.  It's the rare set of books that I will reread once I've finished them, but these were so good.  I'll let them sit in the corner for a while and decide in a week or two.

Of course I was saddened by all the deaths.  Dobby dying hit me particularly hard.  But, like in real life, I accept and expect that good people will die if they are fighting for the right to be free.  This didn't make it any easier to bear, but it would have struck me as false if no hard losses had occurred in the effort to save the world.

Whatever anyone else, including the author in an interview, says, I saw no hint of Dumbledore's supposed homosexuality.  There was at least one question in my mind which was left unanswered, but it wasn't central to the story.  Still, I wish I knew what exactly was behind the veil that Sirius fell through.  But, aside from that, this book tied up many loose ends and answered many questions I had, leaving me feeling satisfied.

I think Snape's death and Harry's subsequent viewing of Snape's memories is one of my favorite scenes.  I knew, just knew, that Dumbledore's trust of Snape wasn't misplaced.  I was so relieved to find I was correct. Of course, Harry's final confrontation with Voldemort was what I'd been waiting for throughout the entire series.  It did not disappoint and was, if not quite as terrifying as I'd expected, well worth the wait.

Starting this month, I'm going to have to use ratings 1 through 10.  Just to give myself more leeway, I will even still use .5's where needed.  There just aren't enough numbers between 1 and 5, even with using the .5's.  Since this is the first book in April, now seems a good time to change.  I won't be changing the rating system again.  I guess this is all part of the learning process though.

Rating:  9.5 / 10

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