I think I have to read it again to get a clearer idea, but having read it once, I loved it.
I think I read someone refer to the book as very Slytherin heavy and honestly, it was. For the first time we get to see Slytherins shown in all their diversity, from evil, to ambitious, to caring. I loved Narcissa Malfoy, cause you get the idea that if she were put in the same situation as Lilly Potter when faced with Voldemort, she would have made the same choice as Lilly did. Giving her life to save her son. I love the way that Slughorn was shown as someone who though not overtly good, is far from a bad man. Showing us, that not all Slytherins are automatically Deatheaters. That just being a Slytherin doesn't make a person evil.
Rowlings has a way of writing, that to me is very comfortable to read, it invites you to read on to a point where it becomes hard to stop reading. And it might not be the most sophisticated style in the world, but it doesn't have to be. (I can't even start mentioning how many critically acclaimed books I've read that I eventually put down due to the boringness of the prose...)
I'm not a shipper in HP, so of course I don't give a damn about who ended with who. In fact, the only pairing I didn't really like was Lupin/Tonks, but honestly, even that I can't call ooc or coming out of nowhere, cause quite simply we just didn't see what happened between them while Harry wasn't around.
From their scene at the end, Rowlings gives the idea that these two have been discussing their feelings for one another, they have been meeting and had life happening. But it didn't happen in front of Harry. So as the reader we get the feeling of shock the same way that Harry got it.
Things happened, romances happened and it had nothing to do with him. And that's ok, because it expands on the world it plays in.
I've said this before, HP is about growing up. About learning to deal with the world as it is, instead of the mythical fairytale world that we see it to be as children. At first we see everything, because well for children the world is centered around themselves and around their best friends; but as the children grow up they learn that things happen in the world that have nothing to do with them. Like say Lupin/Tonks.
In the previous book, Harry got to see that Dumbledore is fallible, that he's not perfect. While in HP and the HBP he learned to respect and love his mentor despite or maybe even because of his faults. And he learns that even as his mentor leaves him (aka dies) that that doesn't mean that everything Dumbledore taught him is gone. I mostly loved the funeral scene because Rowlings stepped away from one scene that I truly feared was coming. Namely Harry making a speech at the funeral. Yes I know, stupid fear, but do you know how many authors would have made him do so?
Instead Harry is just one of many to pay his respect to Dumbledore and we get to see more of the greatness of the man, by the respect he calls out amongst all who knew him. And because of this we once again step outside of the selfcentered view of the child and realize that Dumbledore wasn't just important as Harry's mentor, but for the role he played in the wider wizarding world.
And yes, then there's the whole Snape thing.
I don't buy it.
Pure and simple.
Rowlings put too much effort in having Harry doubt Snape, to have him turn out to have been evil all along. It also doesn't fit with Snape's reaction at the end. I'll await judgement till we've seen the final book, but there has to be more to it. I'm not a Snape redemptionista, but Rowlings has spent too much effort into making Snape the complex char he is, to turn him into a twodimensional villain now.
It's that simple.
Either way, great book, even better than OOTP which was my fave up to now and I'd reccommend it to anyone. (though I'd advise them to read the other five first*eg*)