The smoothness of the previous books has also diminished somewhat; you can almost hear Rowling's labored breathing as struggled trying to add suspense to the scene when the big lummox gets whacked.
The dialogue is often very stilted, and this was alarming to me. You'll notice it too, particuarly when Hermione is speaking. I hope Rowling didn't think she was writing a film script.
Maybe the biggest problem is the lack of focus. The story goes off on several tangents, as usual, but unlike in the past, the "side-quests" as it were, are not integral to the story. This accounts for the bloated page-count. There was a lot of extraneous stuff going on.
Maybe the most interesting thing is the new role of the house elves and how they will affect the fight with ole Voldie.
Overall, OotP just isn't smooth. The thing about the series is that the writing has been so clean, so unfettered, that the reader became entire immersed. Now, too must of the story is throwaway tripe, stuff that should have been edited out or saved for the next book; God knows Rowling will need some ideas. There is some new stuff, but none of it is terribly interesting, barely enough to justify forcing 900-odd pages on readers.Read more ›