Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he turned on the spot to face her.
"I forgot," he said.
"Lucky you," said Ginny coolly.
"I'm sorry," Harry said, and he meant it.'
Where do I start describing these 766 pages, then? The book starts at the Dursley's, where Harry has been kept, away from anything that's actually going on, for the summer. The Ministry of Magic has spent the whole time since The Goblet of Fire not believing Voldemort to be back, and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, also agrees with this theory. Also, the fifth years are to take their Ordinary Wizarding Levels (a downside of the audiobook: I only figured out this acronym while writing it out now).
As a story, this book is so much grounded than the previous ones; more set in Hogwarts and focusing on the actual daily life of Harry and his friends. Make no mistake though; it's not to say not much happens in this book. I have always felt that the best part of a Harry Potter book is the world and the depth of it, the aspects of daily life that we find interesting because they're both the same and different to our own. This book, with its maybe smaller storyline, gives the story more time to talk about this part of itself, which I welcomed with open arms.
It's well-written, but that's kind of becoming a thing we just expect from J.K. Rowling instead of hoping for it. It also follow The Goblet of Fire in dealing with many more difficult subjects and proves again that the series is not (only) for children, if the length of the book wasn't enough indication on its own.
Also, Luna Lovegood is a precious cream puff who is simply too good for this world. I had so many moments while reading this where I thought, and might have said it out loud too: Luna Lovegood is so amazing. Daniel put this better than I ever good have: "Instead of those Fantastic Beast movies, you know what I want? A whole series of Luna Lovegood." For starters, one would have to explain themselves to me if they didn't find her weirdness absolutely adorable. It's also really cool that she's been able to see Thestrals ever since she first came to Hogwarts.
Harry, on the other hand, really got on my nerves in this book. Of course, he's a teenager here, and teenage angst is what teenagers do, but it was just way too much, for the whole thing. At the beginning he feels neglected, at the end he's sad and the whole way through he just keeps on complaining and complaining. He also doesn't understand Cho Chang's feelings, claiming she's like from another planet, but I swear it's only because he never makes any effort to understand or even get to know her. And then he blames her for this and expects her to come and apologise or something? He also doesn't want to see any good qualities in Snape because of his own mistakes and can't understand why Ron is made a prefect instead of him. Because the world surely revolves around Harry Potter??? This is the main reason why I rated this book a 4/5 instead of full five - Harry himself annoyed me almost all the time. This book seems to have been considered to be quite dull by many people, but I never shared that notion. I didn't even realise what a freakishly long epic I was reading before I started this review. Granted, I did start it back in February, so some of the beginning is already lost on me.
For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 32: A book that has inspired a work of art! Because on top of the movies, I'm sure the Harry Potter books have inspired art of all media during their lifetime and after.
I might not start The Half-Blood Prince right away because I recently found Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection on Audible and it's some 70 hours also read by Stephen Fry. I started A Study in Scarlet the other day when I finished this one and it was very good.