As predicted, we did end up not standing in the midnight queues. After a hearty breakfast, we went down to the local ASDA at a very civilized hour of around 11AM. Almost everyone walking out of the store had the book and we entered just as the store announced to get the book while stocks last. We decided to spread out, and first get our copies. I rushed down the book aisles but couldn't find it. And then in the distance, i spotted a lady (obviously a mum) flipping through the pages with her young son tugging at her jeans and asking "mum, does harry potter die?" and i looked around her but still couldn't spot it. Finally i asked her and she pointed it out to me - "just around the corner and well in that big box lying there" - i could just see an empty box with a few copies. Shrirang had spotted it at exactly the same time, I quickly picked up the books. Well i shouldn't have really grabbed them in that very greedy manner because i saw a shelf full of them just behind me. You guessed it right, we ended up buying two copies of the book along with ready-to-eat food. ( I couldn't be bothered with slaving in the kitchen - the book was waiting to be read). On the way back, we decided to evenly divide all weekend chores and take turns to keep Mihir entertained - that way both of us would get a chance to read the book.
A few hours later and you can imagine the scene at home - best described by the headlines from the Daily Mail In 1m homes today, Harry Potter and the deathly silence which then went on to say There's a powerful magic at work today which renders bedrooms and sitting rooms utterly silent, save for the rasp of turning pages. - its almost as if they had sneaked into our house with an invisibility cloak borrowed from Harry. So both of us were reading the book, with Mihir trying his best to keep us away from it. But we did finish it - and i took almost three days to finish it - just because of all the nappy changes and Mihir's meal-times that seem to last forever.
I loved the book, it was racy, at times really dark but with some great humour thrown in for relief. As always J K Rowling's description helps you visualize - so the best way to describe it would be to say that i could see it happening (reading her books is like watching a movie). There are twists and turns in the storyline to compete with the erstwhile Khandala ghat - and well saying any more will probably give it away. But this is what i will also point out - the best thing of this book is the way it ties in to the earlier books in terms of weapons used by the good ones to fight Lord Voldemort and his cronies - remember Mandrake roots - so it might be worthwhile to just skim through the earlier books and find things that could be used in a fight. In terms of ranking her books, this one is there - right at the top - but it would still rank second to the first book - that one remains my absolute favourite.