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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Final Potter does not disappoint
By Greig Watson
BBC News

Covers of new Harry Potter book
The new book has been released in children's (left) and adult editions

With the long wait for publication now over, the BBC News website brings you one of the first reviews of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Beware - book reviews inevitably contain plot spoilers. We will try to avoid these as much as possible, but if you DO NOT want to know what is in the new book, DO NOT READ ON.

Harry Potter's world is falling apart. Dumbledore is dead, Professor Snape is revealed as a traitor and the forces of Lord Voldemort are gaining strength. The background for Deathly Hallows could hardly be darker.

It opens with one of the most chilling and gruesome scenes author JK Rowling has created. The Dark Lord, plotting his triumph while terrifying his followers, almost casually tortures an opponent.

Harry's final outing is set to be an adventure for the stout of heart.

Dark arts

Without giving too much away, things manage to get worse, a lot worse, for Harry and his friends Hermione and Ron. As the power of the dark arts rises, much is at stake.

Those who wait feverishly for the last pages to see who meets a grisly end will find themselves surprised at how often - and how soon - they receive bad news.

Places and institutions which have become familiar over the past six books are sent tumbling to earth.

Potter display in a bookstore
Fans queued across the world for the final instalment

Previous misfortunes, reflected by an old "Harry Potter Stinks" badge that turns up, are nothing compared to what cruel fate now has in store. The boy with the lightning scar becomes a renegade as never before.

One thing keeps Harry going - the quest given him by Dumbledore to find the Horcruxes, the mysterious objects which may prove to be Voldemort's only weakness.

Deathly Hallows delivers exactly what fans will expect of the series' final instalment. It is written in a deceptively simple style that makes for easy reading but still manages to pack dramatic punch.

And sandwiched among the curses and crimes are Rowling's trademark humour and her eye for human foibles: the banter between the friends; the embarrassing relatives; the shy kisses.

In another thumping tome - all 600-plus pages - so many secrets are revealed, so many loose ends tied up, that these periods of domestic calm come as handy pit-stops.

Magical conclusion

This is no computer game of disposable weapons and endless lives. When a friend dies, they are dead. And their loved ones mourn.

Beyond the Dickensian scenery and names, the Blyton-esque ideal of family and adventure and Tolkien-style monsters, is essentially a tale of vulnerable love.

For all the talk of charms and potions, this is a black-and-white tale about the value of life.

It is a compelling, powerful and entirely fulfilling end to this epic series.


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