Friday, August 26, 2016

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Authors: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Series: Harry Potter #8
Publisher: Little, Brown UK
Publication Date: July 31, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Plays
Length: 352 pages
Format: Hardcover, Special Rehearsal Edition
Source: Purchased

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London's West End on July 30, 2016.

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 a 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. 

My Thoughts:  


After nearly 10 years without a new Harry Potter book I was thrilled to hear about this. I was skeptical about the stage-play aspect of it but when push comes to shove, Harry Potter is Harry Potter and I knew I would read this as soon as I got my hands on it. 

The play format made this a very quick read but I took my time and savored it over nearly four days  (mostly because my toddler keeps me from reading as much as I'd like to). 

That first scene - while mostly just a quick version of the epilogue from 'the Deathly Hallows' - threw me back to the better parts of my childhood. Looking back on it now I can't help but think that even though 'the Deathly Hallows' came out when I was twenty-ish, that last book was sort of the end of my childhood. 

It was so nostalgic to return to that 'about to explore a new Harry Potter book' feeling. It reminded me of that time, long ago, when I was browsing through a magazine and came across the movie poster for the first Harry Potter movie. Now, I didn't have cable or internet or even a phone (yes, they existed, I just didn't have them) back then so that magazine was pure magic for me. I was so excited. I still have that piece of paper ripped from that magazine hanging on the wall in my library. It is just a piece of paper, yes, but that feeling is why I keep it. That feeling was all of my love and excitement for Harry Potter and I was pleased to experience it again after so long. 

Now that I've given a tiny example of my neverending love for Harry Potter I will try to get on to the actual reviewing. Well, sort of. 

I've been seeing a lot of negativity surrounding this book in the past week or so and I both understand and don't at the same time. I understand that it was sort of a let down. After all this time and all these fans wanting more from the Wizarding World, this is what we get? We wanted a full length novel! Better yet, a whole new series! But, it is what it is and that's not what it is, disappointing as it may be. 

I absolutely loved this book though. Yes, it has it's flaws. It's not the easiest thing to read if you're not familiar with plays. You don't get any in-depth character descriptions and if you didn't read the books or watch the movies you probably won't be able to picture the characters or know their mannerisms or anything. I had no problems with that, of course. I could even picture Albus and Scorpius perfectly from what I know of their parents. 

So I guess what I'm trying to get around to saying is that the only thing I didn't really like about this book is that it's not an actual book because I wanted an actual full length novel so badly. 

What did I love about this book? Everything else. 
I loved reading about my favorite characters again. I even loved seeing the characters I loathed (even though I was yelling "Oh, hell no!") I fell in love with Scorpius. I sympathized with Albus. I was disappointed in Harry. I loved them all and I am so utterly happy to have been able to read something new about them. 
I loved the plot. I often fantasized about how things turned out after 'the Deathly Hallows' when I was younger and yet this was a totally unique concept to me. It never crossed my mind. (Ok, maybe I didn't think on it that much.) I loved even the worst bits of it. The relationship between Harry and Albus was so painful to read about. I wanted so much better for them both.

Honestly, I just really enjoyed 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' for what it is. I do see myself re-reading it after re-reading the original series in the future (which I'm really overdue for). It was extremely nostalgic to return to a world that I plunged into for the first time nearly twenty years ago. Harry Potter was my childhood, it continues to be my present, and I know it will also be my future. This is one fandom that I will happily continue to be a part of. 

My Rating: 5 stars 

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