Ya’ll, it’s been a while. Here’s a long ovedue book review for you.
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books, July 2016
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, YA play
My rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads description & link: “Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne. It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.” (Goodreads)
Why I picked it up: I picked this one up because of the hype, to be honest. I didn’t really want a Harry Potter sequel, but it was all over the place (and the cover is gorgeous) so I caved, and ended up being pretty happy that I did!
I quite enjoyed this book despite some of the issues I had with it. In relation to the original seven Harry Potter novels, there are some inconsistencies, or things I don’t necessarily think fit with the characters. However, I loved the new characters, and enjoyed the story on it’s own.
This plot…as much as I know it was a bit crazy and unrealistic, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. There were points where I was thinking, “You know, even for fantasy this is pretty far-fetched…” but there was something that kept me hanging on. I could have done without the repeating of certain moments in time. I’m also not the biggest fan of covering such a large time span in single novels, and in this case the book followed Albus over the course of a few years. However, it was still enjoyable to me. It wasn’t a tough read, and to be honest, I didn’t see some of the twists coming. I won’t mention which ones because I like to keep my reviews spoiler free, but there were some moments where I was surprised, moments I called, and moments I felt were a little far-fetched. Maybe it’s the nostalgia factor, but this book still left me feeling all warm and fluffy inside.
I absolutely loved Albus and Scorpius. I thought their friendship was fantastic, and I wanted to adopt Scorpius. I also loved the fact that Albus was a Slytherin, and the role that played in his identity. Albus’s awkward nature and Scorpius’s insecurities, combined with both of their parent-child relationship issues made them very relatable to me, and I loved seeing their relationship develop over the course of the story and through the various timelines that are explored. As I said, I really didn’t want a story about Harry Potter’s children, let along Draco Malfoy’s as well. I was surprised at how quickly and strongly I got attached to them. Again, closing the book felt like saying goodbye to friends, and I think this was largely do to the lovable characters.
The original Harry Potter characters (Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco, etc.) felt off to me. One of my friends said it felt as if the characters themselves were acting, and at some points I’d have to agree. I especially felt Hermione’s character was different, which disappointed me since I looked up to her (despite her obvious flaws) so much as I watched the movies as a kid, and eventually read the books in high school. As far as Harry’s character, I did like how he changed overtime as he was learning to be a good parent. I personally related to his bumpy relationship with Albus (as I’m sure a lot of other readers have as well) so I liked reading about them trying to learn to navigate their relationship.
As far as style, there was nothing much that really stuck out to me in this book, and I think that’s another one of the disappointing factors for me. There were no “woah” moments or quotable lines. Overall, it read pretty average, but that may be because of the play form I’m not used to reading. I’m not sure how it’s performed so maybe that would make a difference. Until I’m able to see it, though, who knows…
The biggest complaint I have about this book is how it fits in relation to the original seven books. I felt like I was reading about different characters rather than the ones I spend seven years with, and it was a bit disappointing. I also wasn’t sure how, while actually being performed, the set would work since it seems to change every few pages, but that’s more of a question than a review-worthy point.
Recommend for fans of: The original seven Harry Potter novels