Sorry, I read the entire book the day it came out (flying back from Iraq this weekend) and there’s only one word for it: Flat.
The writing is weak and strained for the most part, with a few delightful exceptions. And it has the most unforgivable flaw of all for a children’s book: It’s boring.
The scenes of Dumbledore and Harry traveling back through memory to observe the young Voldemort read like an A-V presentation from a mediocre junior-high teacher. So little actually happens in this book that it’s hard to even describe the plot. Yes, the last two chapters contain some blockbuster plot points, but until then…ZZZZZZZ.
I have absolute proof, too. Last night my three oldest kids and I started our reading of the book together—a family tradition for all the Potter books—and I had to skip most of the first chapter. It simply didn’t hold their attention. We’ve never had this problem with a Harry Potter book before.
As for the “kissy” part, it’s not graphic or salacious, it’s just dull. And there’s so much of it. The book reads as if the proofs were hijacked on the way to the printers by Judy Blume: Hello Dumbledore, It’s Me, Harry. If you want the Hogwarts version of the O.C., you got it.
I agree with Meghan that the series itself is an amazing work and Rowling deserves credit (and lots of money) for her imagination and her writing style. But go back and read the first three chapters of Sorcerer’s Stone and then the first three chapters of Half-Blood Prince. It’s the difference between excitement and ennui.
I’m telling myself that this book had to be boring because it’s the setup for the big finish in Harry Potter VII. I sure hope I’m right.