The latest tome took nearly 6 hours (and interruptions) to read, nearly a whole extra hour more than the last1. And while I give out no spoilers2, my succinct review is that if you loved the previous six, you'll not be disappointed with this one. And if you hate the whole shebang, your mind won't be changed either. I say to all the critics of Ms Rowling: nay-say what you will about the custard-lightness of the early three, the darkness of the latter four, and the ever-increasing need for more judicious editing. It's a very life-affirming series.
I would place the entire series in the genre that Enid Blyton wrote so well. Gripping adventures, one after the other. There are many better-written children's fantasy books out there (CS Lewis, Dianna Wynne Jones, JRR Tolkien, Philip Pullman, amongst several others), but this one seems to have captured the hearts of the reading public. Scholars may debate this for years, some perplexed at the simplicity of the writing, the obviousness of the motifs, the sheer weight of the later books. And most will have to secretly admit being spellbound by JK Rowling's tale spinning.
1 I feel for all you parents out there who will be reading this one at bedtime for months yet. I really do. And I hope the audio tape/CD comes out soon. And that you have invested in lozenges and cough syrup.
2 And never will...