Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) Review
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It was with a flurry of mixed emotions that I cracked open my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series. On one hand, I couldn’t wait to tear into it—to see what would happen to the boy wizard that I, like millions of other readers of all ages, have fallen in love with over the course of the last nine years or so. I couldn’t wait to read about Harry’s latest adventures—and to see how it would all end. At the same time, though, I knew it was the end. The faster I read, the sooner it would be over.

J. K. Rowling begins Deathly Hallows with that same melancholy feeling. As Harry approaches his seventeenth birthday, he knows that nothing will ever be the same again. Lord Voldemort is on the rise, and it’s only a matter of time until he and his Death Eaters overthrow the Ministry of Magic. The evil wizard will stop at nothing to finish off The Boy Who Lived once and for all—so the members of the Order of the Phoenix plan to move Harry to a safe place. And as Harry prepares to leave Privet Drive for the last time, it’s all too clear that this is the beginning of the end.

Rowling doesn’t waste any time before getting to the action in her final Harry Potter book. Harry and the members of the Order battle the Death Eaters in the opening pages. And after the Death Eaters take over the Ministry, no one is safe—especially not Harry. So he and his two closest friends, Ron and Hermione, end up leaving a little earlier than expected on the important journey that Professor Dumbledore had planned for them. Their goal is to find and destroy the last of Voldemort’s Horcruxes—because while the Horcruxes exist, Voldemort cannot be defeated. The problem, though, is that none of them know what the Horcruxes are—or how to destroy them. And as the three friends continue to wander through England, not knowing how to accomplish their important mission, they begin to doubt themselves—and each other.

Now, I realize that writing a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is pretty much pointless. Devoted fans of the series wouldn’t dream of skipping the last book (and the majority of fans are reading it—or have finished it—already). And if you’re one of the, oh, ten people or so who haven’t cracked open a Harry Potter book, you’re not going to want to start with the last book. But if you were waiting for the series to end before starting the series—because you didn’t want to get hooked on the series, only to have it come to a disappointing end—feel free to start now. Because you won’t be disappointed.

Deathly Hallows is unlike any other book in the series. Since Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide not to return to Hogwarts for their final year, the setting is different. In fact, the majority of the story is spent on the run. And since Harry is preparing for his final (and most important) challenge, it has a darker, more ominous feel to it. Things are far from perfect in Harry’s world. Even his friends are beginning to have their doubts, and that only makes Harry’s doubts—about himself, his mission, and even about Professor Dumbledore—even more intense.

As I read, though, I couldn’t help but wish that there had been some sort of Harry Potter Recap before the final book was published—because there’s a lot to keep track of. Rowling makes frequent references to previous books—with little or no explanation for those who may have forgotten a few things along the way. So, at times, this feels like the Harry Potter Final Exam. But while it’s frustrating at times (especially for those of us who haven’t spent the last two years, since the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince rereading the series), it’s also somewhat understandable—since all the extra refreshers would have added even more pages to a book that’s already 759 pages long. And, to be honest, it still didn’t slow me down too much.

Overall, Deathly Hallows does an excellent job of bringing the series full-circle. The writing is every bit as crisp as ever—and, once again, it reminds readers why they fell in love with this series of kids’ books in the first place. Despite the book’s mammoth size, the story moves along quickly, bringing the whole magical world to life as it does. And while all the traveling from place to place and from battle to battle does get a bit exhausting at times, everything is there for a reason. Along the way, there are plenty of surprises and new revelations—and when the smoke clears after the final battle, you may not be entirely satisfied with the way that every loose end is tied up, but Rowling ties it up well nonetheless. It may not be my favorite book in the series, but, well, I’ve never been a big fan of good-byes. But Deathly Hallows is, nevertheless, a fitting way to say good-bye to a good friend.

Cheers, Harry.

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