I've already posted on this book once, but that was way earlier on in the story, when all I had read was spoilers and the first 150 pages. Since then, I have finished the book and gave myself time to think about it. This one was another forced binge finish, because the Boy was coming back from camp "tomorrow" and so I needed to finish it "tonight". Tonight actually bled a little into the morrow as I finished it after midnight.
Since it's the last book, I would have liked to see more wrapping up. Maybe that's lame, I don't know. Sometimes the better book ends with questions (Tigana comes to mind, though I always loved the way GGKay wrapped up minor storylines in the middle of a book, to let you know that we won't be seeing a character again, but he did live happily ever after nevertheless. In fact, that's one of my favourite Kay-isms). Did Luna Lovegood ever find out what her father did? How did she react? She's clearly much more a descendent of Rowena Ravenclaw than the Grey Lady or her father, in terms of her intelligence and lateral thinking.
I was very satisfied with the outcome of Snape's storyline, though I understand other readers' annoyance with a trip to the pensieve at the climax of the book. My team leader sent me a link to the Leaky Cauldron chat with JKR about wrapping things up. I was disappointed in what she said about Snape there; I quite liked him and thought he had a pretty unhappy life, but maybe that's because I have always had a little infatuation for Alan Rickman.
There are a few convenient magical devices that I find to be annoying crutches:
The room of requirement (I don't think it should have been allowed to make a tunnel to Hogsmeade)
Portraits of the headmasters (why not get some chocolate frog cards, and communicate everywhere? And how much intelligence and free thought do those things get to keep? Where do they keep their brains?)
Polyjuice potion -- how long is this stuff supposed to last? I remember in Book 2, they had an hour. In book seven, they seem to have half a day, and wearing off seems a slower process.
Sometimes these devices seem like they were brought up earlier in the series just so they could reappear in later books. Not that that's a bad thing. I prefer that to the type of book where the magical device appears for the first time when it solves a crisis. I just would have a liked a more architectural framework.
The magic has always seemed a little too convenient, too. I much prefer something like the Bartameious trilogy, where the magicians are always trying to hide how little they can actually do, and all of their power is basically derived from summoning demons and then creating charges for them. I really like a consistently thought-out magic that obeys, you know, the laws of thermodynamics or something. Just you want until I publish my Best-Selling Fantasy Novel (BSFN for short) so you can pick apart my inconsistent magic.
Still, I'm glad I read it, if only because it means I can talk about it now.