'...[F]or all that she is gifted enough in devising popular scenarios, the words on the page are flat. I think it was Verlaine who said that he could never write a novel because he would have to write, at some point, something like "the count walked into the drawing-room" - not a scruple that can have bothered JK Rowling, who is happy enough writing the most pedestrian descriptive prose.
Here, from page 324 of The Order of the Phoenix, to give you a typical example, are six consecutive descriptions of the way people speak. "...said Snape maliciously"; "... said Harry furiously", "... he said glumly", "... said Hermione severely", "... said Ron indignantly", "... said Hermione loftily". Do I need to explain why that is such second-rate writing?
If I do, then that means you're one of the many adults who don't have a problem with the retreat into infantilism that your willing immersion in the Potter books represents. It doesn't make you a bad or silly person. But if you have the patience to read it without noticing how plodding it is, then you are self-evidently someone on whom the possibilities of the English language are largely lost.
This is the kind of prose that reasonably intelligent nine-year-olds consider pretty hot stuff, if they're producing it themselves; for a highly-educated woman like Rowling to knock out the same kind of material is, shall we say, somewhat disappointing'
- Nicholas Lezard, Guardian Arts blog, 17 July 2007