And if you haven't finished the book, stop reading because I'm going to spoil it almost immediately.
I started reading these my freshman or sophomore year of college. I was assured they were quick, entertaining reads and it's true. I read the new one in 8 hours.
If you haven't tried, I highly recommend it. Everyone eats candy. Turn off your TV and read Harry Potter instead.
So, the 6th book...
Obviously the big deal is that Snape kills Dumbledore. You get the feeling it's coming from Chapter 2, which is entertaining but pretty weak where Snape essentially runs off an FAQ. But it's good stuff.
The books are highly formulaic: Harry doesn't like the Dursleys, he gets rescued before starting term at Hogwarts, Voldemort does something naughty, Harry fights him/his minions, Dumbledore saves the day and/or wraps it up at the end with a nice story.
Now, Dumbledore is dead so that formula is (hopefully) broken.
Harry is on his own, there is no deus ex machina figure to come swooping in at the last moment (although undoubtedly there will be on in the final book, probably Snape).
So, yeah, back to the whole Snape kills Dumbledore thing. Snape is a massive prick and a very poor human being. He's a bastard. Tonks, mourning Black's death, has a dog patronus. Snape notices this and says her old one was better and that the new one looks "weak". Fucking prick. She's nice as hell and never did a thing to him but he digs at her anyway because he's just a giant piece of shit. Maybe that's what he does with chicks he likes, like when he calls Harry's mom "mudblood" even though he wanted to bung her. Either way he's a dickface.
And he is, without a doubt, the best damned character in the series.
Has he gone back to his old ways? Obviously, yes. Double agent or not, you don't just up and kill Albus Dumbledore like you're eating a piece of cake and be considered a nice person. He hates every single person in the order of the phoenix. It's not an act, he hates them and wants them all dead.
But here's the question, is there anyone on earth that he likes? Even himself? I don't think so, I think it's a matter of who he hates most and my bet is that in the end he hates Voldemort most of all for killing Harry's fine-ass mom before he could get a piece of that action.
Obviously all this was planned. Dumbledore wasn't begging for his life when he said "Snape, please" he was begging Snape to do the thing he didn't want to do (thanks Jar-Ja...err... Hagrid!), which is kill him. Dumbledore is probably the only person who has ever treated Snape as if he was a decent human being. It's got to be tough to kill the only person who thinks you're worth a shit, hence the melodramatic "I AM NOT A COWARD!" blahblah.
And the last part of my post, the simpering relationship crap.
First off, people are very angry about Harry and Hermione not getting together. The INTERNETS are buzzing with it. I was pointed to a lovely diatribe about how Rowling BETRAYED US ALL with this and how people are never going to read any of her books again blah blah blah.
If you didn't know Ron & Hermione were getting together since, I don't know, the 2nd or 3rd book you are an absolute imbecile and should go hide in a cave.
Harry & Ginny. Whatever. It's the whole Spiderman "I can't love you because then Doc Oc will get you hurrrr!" thing. Bleh.
Me? I'm hoping for the hot Harry & Snape action!
Oh, and Ron almost called his sister a slut, that was pretty awesome.
Oh animu, what rape porn won't you make?