Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Review: Harry Potter

In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I'll keep this brief and vague.

Damned good book, much better than The Goblet of Fire. Despite its immense size, this volume is actually full of plot, without the minor distractions that cluttered the previous volume. Harry is a painfully honest fifteen years old, enough so that there are scenes I could scarcely listen to because they reminded me too effectively of the foolishnesses of that age. He is by turns rash, narcissistic and arrogant, and those traits do not help him at all. He's not a bad person, but his hormones are rarely far from the surface, and he is by no stretch of the imagination a saint.

It's clear that Rowling is starting to think in cinematic terms -- there are scenes in here that will be brilliant in the inevitable movie. (Fred and George finally get their moment in the sun, and it is truly wonderful.) It is relatively intricately structured, spending much of the book gradually setting up the last couple hundred pages, which move along very briskly. It features the most aggravatingly evil villain I've come across in a long time. It answers a lot of questions, and replaces them with a few more terribly interesting ones. In general, it's a fine third act, moving steadily towards the eventual crescendo of the story. (Which will presumably be a couple thousand pages along yet.)

Verdict: it was worth the wait. Rowling took her time polishing this one, and the result is better than I was expecting. It's still preposterously long, but the bulk is more muscle than fat this time...

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