Saturday, July 21, 2007

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This post may contain spoilers, but to be honest if you haven't finished reading the book you probably shouldn't even be on the internet anyway.

I'm really too mentally exhausted to write anything beyond a few simple sentences about J.K. Rowling's last installment, but I felt an obligation to my fans to give a couple of remarks about the finish to probably the greatest book series ever.

The book is very ambitious in it explorations of death, examining what may happen after you die, the way people react to the death of others, and the apparent honor in overcoming one's fear of death. It uses a lot of the surreal elements that her world allows to allow for some pretty creative angles. It works because she's built up each of these characters so much throughout the series and because we care so much when each of the characters dies. But as a stand-alone book I don't think it would be that effective, because it didn't have any of the fun side-plot like the Triwizard tournament or Harry's various love affairs that the other books had to help advance the plot. Reading the last 200 pages is a draining process; an absolute emotional roller coaster ride.

That said, I loved it, and (serious spoiler alert!) I'm really happy that she didn't kill off Harry at the end. There was a moment there when you had to be pretty sure that he was going to die, but then Rowling pulled off a cool effect where everyone thought he was dead and he sort of got to visit his own funeral, which I think is sort of a weird dream that lots of people have. That and the stuff about Dumbledore imperfect character were the strongest parts of the book. I also liked the epilogue if only because it effectively prevented anybody from making a sequel. All in all a strong finish, and I don't have to recommend the book to anybody, because if you're not a dweeb you'll read it anyway.