A Personal Opinion:
Book 4 didn't quite meet up to its overworked name in the news. My GOD, from half of what I read, I was expecting it to be holier than the freakin' Bible
. So when a package arrived from Barnes & Noble
on the 8th of July containing the 700-page book, this was not what I was expecting.
First chapter, great way to throw you off. No familiarity with old characters, just new ones. I wasn't even sure if I was reading Harry Potter. What was this? No Hogwarts, no Dursley household, no Ron or Hermione, and above all, no Harry Potter. So I read on. Eventually we get around to finding out what's really going on. It's one of Harry's almighty dreams. Well, because I was so caught up in figuring out what the hell was going on, I missed almost all the context of the first chapter itself and had to go back and read it again. I never read it like it was meant to be read so the book was ruined for me.
Too much change. I know J.K. Rowling was under a lot of pressure, but what drugs was she taking to keep her awake at night to write this? I could have waited 2 more years if it meant she would have made a better prototype.
As someone who could frankly care less about Quidditch, I was so hung up on all of reference to it, even if there had been comments in the news like "Quidditch fans will be highly dissapointed to find that there isn't much to do with the sport at all in this novel." My ass, there wasn't. The world cup, the entire tournament (book-long) making obscure references to it, long paragraphs about how much Harry missed it, and so on.
And more crap about the Ministry of Magic. I know it was all supposed to go with the plot, but I don't care how much Percy loved his boss!
Mad-eye Moody didn't serve as much of a teacher influence either like Professor Lupin did (I miss him greatly) and Severus Snape's personality didn't appear as venomous this time around.
But anyway, I was reading an interview with Rowling, and she was saying things about her experience with writing the end of the book, how she would get so scared that she would have to walk away. If I had known she meant scary like R.L. Stine's Goosebumps, I would have just dropped the book from the beginning. This brand of fear wasn't anything new. So what if someone died? It wasn't anyone we really cared about. His death wasn't even described much, just one paragraph long.
If Book 3 (Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban) had been 700 pages long, then that would have been readable This, however, didn't cut it.