Yes, I read the new Harry Potter. I preordered it from Amazon, and Saturday afternoon at 3pm as I tore open the box I wondered about the collectibility of unopened Harry Potter Amazon boxes. I read about three hours Saturday, another three Sunday, and so on, finishing on Tuesday. About the same pace as Elizabeth Hand, who told me she bought the book Friday midnight and finished by Saturday noon, with a 2-hour nap along the way; it’s just that I never have 10 or 12 hours uninterrupted reading time.
Enjoyed it very much, thumbs up. What’s most remarkable — anticipated by the flashbacks into Voldemort’s past in the previous book — are the revelatory back histories of two of the *other* major characters in the series, revealing how a character we thought completely good had his failings, and a character we thought completely bad might be understood to be redeemed after all. It all seems quite inevitable, in retrospect; it makes sense of the earlier books, and you can’t help but respect Rowling’s skill in laying out the puzzle pieces all along while saving the key pieces until last.
No, I’m not at Comic Con this weekend (it’s in San Diego, 2+ hours down the coast from me), though two Locus Magazine representatives are — Kirsten Gong-Wong and Amelia Beamer. If you’re going, seek them out in the dealers’ room — they have a table, or are sharing a table with the folks from Asimov’s/Analog magazines — and say hi, or buy a subscription.