No, this is not a review - I'm saving that for the forthcoming HP7 discussion over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone in early August.
I have finished it though. It took me around seven hours in total - and I'm actually relieved to say I enjoyed it. I wasn't sure I would as I'd been resenting the prospect of reading it so much since rading it would be taking me out of the Whoniverse for several hours - the longest period I've spent *out* of the Whoniverse since I became immersed in it back in January. But once I started reading, the story tugged me along...
It was interesting reading this book from a fiction writer's point of view. This is the first HP book I've read since I began writing fiction myself and it was intriguing. I think I've mentioned here before that I have the facility to read on more than one level at the same time: I read as a child - wanting to get to the end of the story, hoping for a good ending, and I also read as a "critic" - looking at the structure, themes, language style, etc. And since I took up writing fiction I've been reading books at the level of someone who's also producing fiction - it's given me an extra awareness that I didn't possess when reading as a critic - sometimes that merely means thinking "Hmm, not sure I'd have written/structured that like that..." Sometimes it means a flare of admiring envy at the way something has been expressed and the desire to have that kind of mastery myself.
What it means for my reading of Harry Potter is that I've an extra appreciation of how bloody hard it is to tie up all the loose ends of a seven book series in a satisfying way that also gives readers at least a half-way decent story. And I think Rowling achieved that in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Oh and I don't totally hate the children's cover any longer - I still prefer the adult one, though ! But seeing it on book it seemed a little less morbid than in the photos (go figure !) And now that I know to what the UK cover relates, I'm impressed that it actually *fits* the story so well !