The second book in the Remi Treuer Reading Project was Finder: Sin Eater, a beautiful and entirely unconventional book that you should all read. I won't review it further.
The third book is The Amulet of Samarkand, the first book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Johnathan Stroud. The essential premise of the trilogy is that wizards can control demons, and use this control to pacify "commoners" and create an authoritarian state.
It's already easy to see where these books intersect with Harry Potter, which I've always thought was deeply rooted in fears of totalitarianism: Voldemort's original rise to prominence parallels the rise of facism in Europe, and his return strongly implies fear of a present-day reversion to that system, especially in Britain.
And okay, J.K. Rowling is not a great writer. She traffics in cliche, her dialogue is stilted-- I know these things. But these are important books. I mean, Star Wars is pretty silly too, but it's such a part of our cultural vocabulary that you can't help but want to know what it means.
But rather than spend my precious writing energy on some dense Harry Potter criticism, I have to say one thing about the final book:
Harry Potter must die.
Everyone I say this to says "Of course, it's prophecied". Yep, I know, but I also know how easy it would be to simply end this book happily. Harry's death* is the only acceptable end to the series. I don't think Rowling is that lazy, but I swear, if Harry Potter doesn't die a virgin, I'm going to set England on fire.
*And maybe one of the Weasleys', there are too many of them, and definitely Snape's.