The overwhelming opinion of many reviewers is that this is a fantastic book. Yet hidden between the glowing comments a view emerges of a sense of disappointment.
Since I completed the book I have wondered why I too, was left with this unexpected and unwanted feeling. I now realise that, like many of us who are deeply immersed in this incredible story, we feel so much part of it that our own views of how the story should unfold start to take over. We perhaps look to the book not for something new but for confirmation of our belief as to what should happen next.
Look what JK has effectively done to her main character. She has systematically stripped away anything that is of importance to him and so as not to give the story away here I won't expand on that but it is clear in reading. Even to the point that she finally allows him a little bit of happiness but them removes it from him once again before the end. JK now has a serious responsibility for the final book. Twists are fine but there should be no temptation to make the ending in doubt. Harry must not only succeed but be left in a position to consolidate the love he has never really known, and the book should give us a chance to see this consolidated, not end with success over Voldemort and the dark powers. We need to know that Harry has reciprocated love which will strengthen and last, despite his young age. Personally, I think that the source of this has been clearly confirmed in this book, despite the ending. All the way through the series we look as though the message is that 'good will always conquer evil in the end and love is the way to succeed in doing so'. I hope to see an early re-introduction of this key facet for Harry in the last book and a demonstration that he has someone prepared to stand at his side whatever it may cost because of their love for him.
What a long wait until the next one.