This book is (to use a cliched term) the explosive finale to the Harry Potter series of books. Don’t read this review unless you’re familiar with everything that happens up until this book, as there may be spoilers. If you’re interested, here’s my review of the previous book in the series.
The whole structure of Deathly Hallows is different to what you’ll have come to expect from the earlier instalments. Usually they start with Harry having a dreary time at the Dursley house without much tension. But not this time. While Harry is there at the start, he knows that the magical protection around their home will expire soon, so he and the Order of the Phoenix are planning his escape. What happens is very intense. The fact that there’s so much tension right at the start really helps to set the tone for the novel.
The other books all have Harry going through his school year and getting involved in some mystery or adventure along the way, but this time it is too dangerous to return to Hogwarts. Outside of the school, he is making preparations (along with Hermione and Ron) so that he can face Voldemort. There are some scenes which have people from the Wizarding World out on the streets with regular people, it’s unusual, but intriguing. I like that we get this contrast and it makes the world feel more strongly grounded in reality.
Let me talk, very briefly about the ending of the last novel. Remember when Dumbledore was murdered by Snape? Remember how utterly horrifying that was? And how you felt numb and couldn’t quite believe what had happened? And how his death really did feel like an enormous loss? Well, I feel like that that happening was a good way of setting the tone for the Deathly Hallows. There are a lot of shocks and a lot of deaths (though none, I felt, were so shocking as Dumbledore’s – to me, at least.)
It’s actually quite hard to talk about this book without spoiling the big events which take place in it. What I will say, though, is that we’re given a lot of new information which helps us to see previous events in a different light. It actually teaches a good lesson about not judging people (for better or for worse) unless you know everything about them. I really liked the extent to which several characters were really fleshed out.
Lots of characters had particularly exciting scenes, including Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Snape, Dumbledore (via flashbacks) and it’s pretty satisfying that they’re all used so well. One thing which was somewhat disappointing, however, was that we were given no closure for Winky the House Elf. Considering that we get closure for pretty much everyone else, this did seem quite the oversight.
To summarise, this was a fantastic end to a fantastic series. I was pretty sad when it was over, not necessarily because the ending was sad (I won’t spoil that) but because I knew that I wouldn’t have the pleasure of reading another Harry Potter book. If you’ve never read it, I strongly recommend that you give it a try. Some of my absolute favourite books.