Here's an email I sent to a friend about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It's ugly and probably doesn't flow well or even make sense in places. I'm too lazy to clean it up, but I thought you all might be interested, nonetheless.
I just finished it, and I thought the end was really depressing. Sirius just died out of nowhere! I completely foresaw that Harry was being tricked, and I liked all the layers. Hermy talks him into checking on Sirus before leaving which gets them caught; the house-elf betrays them, which was obviously going to happen from the very beginning; and then the Department of Mysteries trap. That all worked well. But the way Sirius showed up and then died without a word or on-screen struggle left me feeling a bit empty, like it wasn't really resolved.
Which makes me think that Sirius will be back. Also, I think the arch was introduced so that Voldemort can be fed into it in book 7.
I liked how neatly some other plot points were tied up, but Dumbledore's exposition could have been replaced with action. So Harry has to stay with his aunt for his own protection? Why not demonstrate that to us, show the dementors impotently circling his house? Dumbledore had to explain too much that could have been shown instead of told.
I liked all the tension between the three kids near the beginning and middle of the book, and it was really frustrating to me, as I'm sure was intended. I liked the development of Harry and Cho's relationship, and I'm glad it ended. It wouldn't have made any sense if it had developed into some long-term thing just-like-that, but it makes a ton of sense as a short-term crush that falls apart, as do most real relationships. Harry's going to end up with Ginny, right? I figured that from the first time she was introduced, and I like how it's playing out.
I also like Luna Lovegood. She was a great character, and fun to get to know. Neville needs to develop more... he had so many opportunities to do something right near the end of this book, and he kept screwing up anyway. I want him to succeed eventually, please!
I liked how Harry forgot about Snape, because I did too. I really liked the scene where Harry saw Snape's memory Harry's father and Sirius, it made Snape into a very sympathetic character. Although, to be honest, I'd always sympathized with Snape. I'm going to be VERY upset if Snape turns out to be a baddie, despite Dumbledore's assurances. Actually, I kinda want Snape to take Harry in near the end of the series. That would be nice.
Meanwhile, why doesn't Lupin have more to say to Harry about Sirius' death? Lupin is the only one left of the four friends, and he seemed close to Harry in the earlier books. (Book 3?) I don't want Harry and Dumbledore to get all tight, because Dumbledore is hardly a character at all, he's just a force of nature.
I liked the Death Eaters, although they could be developed more individually. Malfoy and Bella are cool, but since the books avoid POVs other than Harry's we don't get to see much of what they do.
Anyway, book 5 was my favorite so far. I need to re-read 4 because I think I've forgotten much of what happened in it.
I should post this, but it'd be too hard to clean it up and make it readable.