I was in Holland in the last days - in the lost town of Enschede - and I finished there very quietly the last adventure of Harry Potter that Amazon kindly delivered to me as promised on Saturday. I was really pleased to renew my relationship with the young wizard even though I knew it would be just for a couple of days.
And for the first time, after I read the book, I seeked online reviews or readers' opinions, for the first time as well, I wasn't completely convinced by the choices made in the plot.
My main criticism is that the author gave in to all the obvious and expected turn of events: mainly Ron and Hermione falling for each other, the couple Harry and Ginny forming and the death of Dumbledore. During my reading, I was never surprised, my assumptions were never challenged. Everything happen like they were supposed to happen. The identity of the Half-Blood prince was maybe unexpected but its revelation didn't affect the plot nor the relationship between the (wrongly named) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince. What was also disappointed is the inconsistency of the character of Hermione. That she falls for Ron might not be a surprise in regards to the hints sparkled in the previous books but it's nonetheless bewildering as I can't picture the two together. They just don't match. I found a strong resonance on that point in another blog post. I'm not even argueing for a Harry/Hermione combo because they wouldn't fit together either. Yet, this is not the major problem about this new occurence of the Hermione character. Apart from the romance sequences, she's hardly present in the rest of the plot and it's rather illogical (one of the many inconsistencies in the story). My last point will be on Snape. I think he's really getting to be my favorite character, not because he's evil but because he's the less predictable figure in the book and you can feel the author's pleasure writing him, it feels she has much more freedom developing him than any other heroes because he's not trapped in the readers' imagery, he's too ambiguous for that, not taking good for granted and nor evil for the über-ultimate path to take. Which brings me back to my concern, Snape aside, the whole plot was too full of predictabilities. A pinnacle for a wizard's story. From reading reviews around, I think I found an explanation for why it *had* to be this way: the 6th book was meant to stage all the different points that will find their climax in the last book. But it's not good enough reason for me. It reminds me of George Lucas trying to argue for his Star Wars 2 that we'll all get it in the light of the third opus. Well, my belief is that even if it's part of a bigger whole, or part of a series, an occurence should also stand alone and be a strong product on its own. Finally, if the 7th book's going to be more or less about what all the readers/fan base project, don't bother writing it cos it's already out there.