ah. it's over. the four month wait is finally done. yeah. i wasn't silly enough to read the books as they came out. i plowed through them back in march and only had to wait until july to get the answers. some surprises and some interesting characterization choices make this one pretty good. but the limited 3rd person POV really hurts. She abandoned it briefly in half-blood prince to show Snape with Bellatrix. I can't understand why she didn't do the same here. Snape is absent for the entire book; harry & hermione & ron spend 1/3rd in the woods (until Ron gets mad and leaves only to come back and give all sorts of info about the outside world that Rowling couldn't provide because of the POV limitation she refused to shed). Anyway. Not surprising. Rowling is a decent writer and she made some bold moves. but ultimately this novel has too much in it -- and i don't even think (as many other reviews here and elsewhere) that the Death Hallows was unnecessary. oh well. at least it's over!