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Book review: <i>Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows</i> by J. K. Rowling

Here it is, the moment thousands of eager adults and children alike have been awaiting for the last seven or so years... the conclusion of the Harry Potter story. Avid fans and even just mildly interested parents have followed Harry and co through the trials and tribulations of being "the boy who lived"... and the question on everybody's lips is, does he?

The story

Voldemort, the dark lord, has risen again, and finally, everybody knows and believes it to be the truth. The Order of the Phoenix are working overtime, there are deaths and torturings left right and centre, and the Ministry of Magic is looking to be in the command of the Death Eaters any second. Terror reigns in the wizarding world, and it's spreading to the muggle world as well.

Harry has been given a mission from Dumbledore; the one, surefire way to defeat Voldemort, or at least give him a fighting chance when it comes to a showdown. Dumbledore has stressed that the mission must be secret; only Ron and Hermione can know and join in. So Harry, Ron and Hermione set off, not to the comfort and safety of their final year of Hogwarts, but on a dangerous secret mission that they have only the vaguest idea of. When the Ministry falls, and the decrees of the Death Eaters roll in, Harry becomes Undesirable Number One and there is a price on his head. Can he, Ron, and Hermione solve the clues Dumbledore has given them, destroy the Horucruxes, and defeat Lord Voldemort? And how many innocents will die in the process?

With the death toll mounting, and Harry's mental connection with Voldemort getting stronger with every moment, there isn't much time. And then, Harry discovers the secret of the Hallows...

The style

Here we are, in classic Harry style, mercifully more action packed and less dragged out than Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix but still a bloody great doorstop of a thing anyway. Harry is a bit older, but he's still got that valiant and self-sacrificial attitude of "no, I have to do it myself, can't put anyone else in danger, me, me, me," etcetera. Yes Harry, we know. Furthermore, the relationships between the three main characters are strained and awkward. Ron and Hermione's relationship is indeterminate and utterly unbelievable for seventeen year olds. On the other hand, most of the peripheral characters are well done, well motivated, and understandable.

As for the actual plot: in true Rowling style, the book starts off gently, hops into some action straight away, and then starts to drift slowly around the middle while the reader wonders how the hell she intends to wrap the whole thing up at this pace, and then just as the reader can't possibly tell where this is all going she swoops in and starts piling on the action, twists, and, in this case, final resolutions. There are some good twists here, and the loose ends are all tied up in a particularly satisfactory manner. The action makes up for most of the so-so characterisation, and when it was over I was pretty impressed with how it turned out.

However, without giving anything away, the final mini-chapter/section totally sucks, and should have been left out all together. And while I originally felt the ending was a bit of a let down, I read it again and realised that it was actually the best way it could have turned out. And let's face it, if you've stuck with Harry for this long, you owe it to yourself to finish it off. And it's worth it.

Who is this book for?

This isn't a story for the kiddies. Your average nine or ten year old, even if capable of reading the big words, isn't going to understand the complex plot line or the political and fairly adult undertones. While I certainly wouldn't say Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows is an adult novel, it's certainly aimed more at older children; say from twelve up. And it's also really for people who have read the rest of the series - I certainly wouldn't recommend it for a punter who's had no interest in any Harry Potter novel before this and has never read any of them. We're rounding up an era here people - only the Potter fans can appreciate it as it is meant to be appreciated.

If you like this book, you would also like...

Well, I'm going to assume you've read all the other Harry Potters, so I won't recommend those because that would be redundant. And my recommendations for children and adults will be different. If you're a child who loved this book, get into some C. S. Lewis, some Roahl Dahl (not the same genre but wittily British), Spiderwick, Deltora's Quest, etcetera. If you're an adult, Tolkien.

In short

Title: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows
Author: J. K. Rowling
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9780747591054
Year published: 2007
Pages: 607
Genre(s): children's literature, fantasy

This book has also been reviewed by Phoebe. You can see her review here.

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