The Monk did brave a line at his semi-local Barnes & Noble to pick up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Friday night/Saturday midnight last week. Why? To see the spectacle. After all, I only read the first chapter that night, and Monkette read only slightly more. But the lines, the face-painted kids, the dressed-up preteens and the excited readers (B&N had a countdown to midnight -- I had to check to see if a glowing book would descend from a broom-shaped pole) made the whole thing interesting. Monkette attended a Potter pick-up in 2005 for HP 6 and braved the line at our not-so-local Borders at the time (they bonked this year by losing her pre-order, thereby forcing me to the B&N).
Why wait so long on the line? No problem for me: into B&N Friday afternoon to pick up a number, back at 11:25 to join the line-up at 11:35-11:40, out by 12:15. My only regret is that B&N didn't include a coupon for another book like our Borders had two years ago (B&N was selling HP7 only on that line) because I found the one historical book I wanted. But to get through 110-120 customers in under 15 minutes ain't bad.
As for the book itself, The Monk is about 510 pages in or about 2/3 of the way done. I had no need to finish the book Saturday or yesterday, although I likely could have plowed through it in one sitting. Why kill the suspense -- it would be like eating a pie in one sitting instead of having some pie Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and beyond.
From a quality standpoint, there's a good bit. There have been sudden deaths, narrow escapes, more revealing why Hermione is the brains of the whole operation, a moment of tremendous heroism and enough action to make up for any lulls (if you think they had serious lulls) in books 4, 5 and 6 combined. And I'm not within vicinity of the denouement.
Ultimately, the HP phenomenon is remarkable. Even as a SFF geek, who actually likes certain series more than the HP tales (it is possible, you know), The Monk has never seen book releases as anticipated as the 1999 revival of the Star Wars franchise. The Monk's biggest regret is that the Monklings won't have this type of experience because the first is still some weeks away and the second is but a twinkle in daddy's eye.