by D. Halloran
This review does NOT contain spoilers!
The thick tome that was delivered to me on July 21 was quite a departure from the previous books. For a while now, rumors have been flying about what the final book was going to contain. Who would die, who would survive, and how the heck is a seventeen year old gonna be able to destroy a master of magic.
Although it doesn’t falter in its duty, it does break several child friendly rules. For a book that is suppose to be made for younger adults, the themes and violence in this are at the very least PG-13, and perhaps even more adult then that. That isn’t to say that it is a complete departure from the series, alone in its shape and scope. Instead, it is rather like the culmination of the more mature themes that have littered the last three books.
Looking past the obvious differences in narrative and story, there are several things that work incredibly well. But I have to wonder if J.K. Rowling is trying too hard to hurt us. Did she have to bully us as much as she did? I am not a die-hard fan; I have no memorabilia or toys. I don’t even own all seven books in hard-cover (yet), but I have faithfully gone to all of the movies, and have read through the books at least twice. Having said that, I have to admit there were a couple of scenes that were almost painful to read.
But the story wouldn't be the same without the dark elements. This one is by far the strongest and most sentimental chapter of a truly epic story. I’m not sure what the general opinion will be, but to be honest, I don’t really care. Yes, it is dark. Yes, at times it is painful to absorb. But if a story involving true evil doesn’t account for that evil, then it loses its relevance and weight.
Looking back at the entire series, there are things that initially felt incredibly pointless. After this novel, all the little and seemingly pointless diversions make sense: why certain characters were introduced but never expanded, why certain characters lingered beyond their limited plot usefulness. J.K. Rowling has crafted an intricately woven tapestry of mythology that rewards not only the casual reader of the series, but the die-hard fans as well. I can’t help but call this a masterpiece.
Without reservation, I give 4 out of 4 wands. And I hope that the story doesn’t end here forever.