The following review may contain minor spoilers. It will likely contain more severe spoilers for readers who have not yet finished Book 6. Read on at your own risk.
And so it ends. It seems like a lifetime ago that I stumbled upon Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on the “New Young Adult Fiction” shelf at the public library and picked it up on a whim. Millions of people would do the same, and that whim would inspire six sequels and a franchise that would net its creator more than a billion dollars.
I’m going to be brutal right off that bat and say that this is by no means the best Harry Potter book. If you want the truth, it lulls terribly in the middle; in fact, it’s not particularly interesting at all until the last 150 pages or so. Rowling seems to have invented another arbitrary piece of magical lore (Deathly Hallows) that, while it ends up becoming a focal point of the book (of the entire series, really) is unsuitably fleshed out and not particularly interesting in the first place.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is remarkably different, in many ways: it retains the very dark style that has become the norm since Book 5; there’s a lot of death and Cruciatus curses; finally, there’s very little mentioned of Hogwarts at all (until the very end). As Harry announces at the end of Book 6, he drops out of Hogwarts in order to pursue Dumbledore’s assignment. Speculation has flown wildly ever since the twists of Book 6, and Rowling manages to more or less do exactly as predicted. This includes including several mutually exclusive plot directions at once. And no, it’s not as impossible or difficult as it sounds.
Thus, on its technical and literary methods, Deathly Hallows ends the series with a whimper, but my guess is that no one will particularly care, since everyone is merely slavering for its conclusion—which, though a tad confusing, and probably reaching a bit, is rather conclusive enough. Add to that a brief and maddeningly unspecific epilogue, and I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that 6 large books worth of carefully chronicled canon was so casually and insufficiently wrapped up.
It does, however, finally strike me how was it was for Rowling to specifically limit the length of the series from the beginning: the breadth of her invented world could have carried on ad infinitum, but the opera’s would have petered long before. It’s unfortunate that Rowling’s previous works opened so many jars that she had to break a few this time around instead of closing them.