Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Dale tackles Harry's last hurrah with the same undercurrent of excitement and mind-boggling roster of distinct character voices that he brought to his previous six performances. Less of the Hogwarts setting, and a more dangerous quest for Harry and his friends, means that Dale has less jocularity to work with here (something at which he excels), but he does not disappoint in conveying both the heart-rending drama and sense of closure of Rowling's final Potter outing. Late in the recording, when Harry realizes his fate and Rowling's plot twists fly, Dale is at the top of his game, drawing listeners into the orbit of his comforting voice. Throughout, Harry and his friends appropriately sound a bit older than they did in the early volumes, and it's hard to know whether it's imagined or not, but there's a hint of wistfulness in Dale's voice, perhaps because both narrator and listener know it's the last time they'll be together for a new Potter adventure. The CD packaging, which makes extensive use of Mary GrandPre's spot illustrations and cover art on the discs and sleeves, is also a treat for fans. Ages 10-up. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 6 Up-In this concluding volume, Rowling brings together the themes and characters familiar to her readers, providing thrills both expected and unexpected. Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out on the mission left to Harry by Albus Dumbledore, to search for the remaining Horcruxes, the hidden pieces of Voldemort's soul that must be destroyed to ensure his final defeat. Harry and his friends find themselves fugitives, but help comes from unexpected quarters and old friends. Harry is also searching for the truth about Dumbledore's life, as he tries to reconcile rumors about the man's past with the heroic headmaster he thought he knew. The legend of the Deathly Hallows, three magical objects that have the power to overcome death, proves to be related to Dumbledore's past as well as the present conflict. While the plot wanders somewhat on its way there, the final battle with Voldemort, involving a full range of friends and foes, is Rowling at her finest. The headstrong plot involves clues and characters from all of the volumes, building on details and tying up loose ends. An underlying message about the power of truth and redemption is reflected in a range of characters, combining with mythic allusions to give depth to the series as a whole. Hallows continues the darker tone of Half-Blood Prince, and there's no Quidditch to be found here, though there are comic moments. Fans of the series will devour this lengthy tome and will be left hoping for more tales from this fully fleshed out fantastic world.-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* The cloak of inevitability hangs on the final installment of the Harry Potter series. One must die, one will live. Friends will be distinguished from foes. All will be revealed. To Rowling's great credit, she manages this finale with the flair and respect for her audience that have permeated the previous six novels, though the mood here is quite different. The story has a certain flatness that extends through much of the book. Rowling can no longer rely on diversions like Quidditch matches and trips to Hogsmead for relief; Harry has made the decision not to return to Hogwarts. Aided by Hermione and Ron, he will instead search for the remaining Horcruxes that hide pieces of Voldemorte's soul. Danger and death are in the air, but Rowling skillfully deals both out in tightly controlled bursts that are juxtaposed against periods of indecision, false leads, and even boredom as the trio try to divine their next moves. Most startling are the new elements, including the not-altogether-successful introduction of the Deathly Hallows. These magical artifacts unnecessarily up the total of things that Harry is looking for by three, and the ownership of one of the Hallows, a wand, may lead to confusion for readers at a climactic moment. More successful additions, adding depth and weight, are the multilayered revelation of Dumbledore's family history and the brilliantly handled answer to the question of Severus Snape's allegiance. Throughout, Rowling returns to and embellishes the hallmark themes of the series: the importance of parental influences, the redemptive power of sacrifice, and the strength found in love. These truths are the underpinnings of a finale that is worthy of fans' hopes and expectations.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2007 Booklist
Horn Book Review
(Intermediate, Middle School, High School) Dale here does his usual heroic job of delineating the multitude of characters' voices and tackling the complexities of the plot as Harry searches for horcruxes and deathly hallows; for his own sense of morality in the face of revelations about Dumbledore's past and Snape's surprising loves and loyalties; and, ultimately, for the Truth with a capital T. Dale gamely keeps the energy level high as Harry manages his myriad hairsbreadth escapes from the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort. But the narrator's great gift for comedy has precious little outlet in this, the darkest, talkiest, and last of the seven books. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.