Published by Little Brown on July 31st 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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.
Let me start by saying, I’m not outright dismissing The Cursed Child with my less-than-enthusiastic rating. I still really want to see the play.
Prologue: Of course I had already preordered the book at a local book store but when the publication date was there, I contemplated waiting a few days and picking it up after work. The weather on the release day was nice however, so I set out and picked up the book on July 31st.
I got home, put the book aside and continued reading Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling’s A Career of Evil. After all, I am hoping to get my hands on theatre tickets for the play and why would I read the script for the play if I could see it on stage? Reading plays is such a hit or miss anyway.
But the book was staring at me, people around me had started reading it, and would I really be able to wait nearly a year (if lucky!) before knowing what it was all about?
In the evening I caved. I opened the book, flipped to the first page, and started reading “just to check to see how script-y/readable it was”.
Conclusion after I finished 100 pages (aka act one): it was highly readable, and holy shit I was loving it! Had I not been a responsible adult who had to start work at 8am the next morning and really needed her sleep, I definitely would have finished it there and then.
Clearly this ‘book’ is a script. Scenes are short, there isn’t much depth (except perhaps for one recurring theme, View Spoiler »the relationship between Harry and his son Albus, or even broader, parents and their children in general « Hide Spoiler), because it’s a play. As a book it was a nice read nonetheless, much better than what I was expecting from a script. It wasn’t hard to imagine the scenes at all, as the dialogues were quite straightforward. Quite funny at times (I didn’t feel the serious parts as much though) but all in all I think it will be much better to see in action.
As for the actual story… After finishing, and without even reading any other reviews, my first thought was ‘well, this felt like fanfiction’. Turns out I’m not alone in this.
The thing is, I absolutely adored act one. Adored! And from there it went downhill.
Warning: minor spoilers ahead! (Large spoilers have been hidden)
I am not happy about them dragging out all our old beloved characters, View Spoiler »as well as plotlines (literally!) « Hide Spoiler. I do not think the story does justice to our favourite HP characters. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that they are there, but perhaps a little less prominent would have been better. The same goes maybe even more so for the plotlines. View Spoiler »I am struggling not to find the time travel plotline lazy. I am not sure if it was an attempt to get at everyone’s nostalgia, a lack of inspiration, or what. It does not help that many old scenes weren’t quite accurate, and some of the characters felt anywhere from slightly to extremely out of character. The most infuriating thing is all of this could have been easily avoided if they hadn’t gone for this particular type of plot! Argh. « Hide Spoiler
I don’t want to be like this, like some HP purist, but I guess I am. The play felt like fanfiction, and knowing it is canon, just feels like it is tainting the old HP stories.
I loved act one. I really did. Returning to Hogwarts felt like coming home. After finishing act one, my imagination went wild with all the possibilities and it took me forever to fall asleep. That’s how much I loved act one. I think the play would have been amazing if it had been more of the new and less of the old. A fresh new adventure starring Albus and Scorpio, and Rose! Where was Rose in the play? I feel rather betrayed.
But anyway, I loved the new characters, especially Scorpio (how can you not love Scorpio?) (Delphi not so much). I loved the situation Albus was put into, a Slytherin from a Gryffindor household. There was so much space for something completely new, right there! And I really liked the father-son thing going on with Scorpio, that really worked for me. (Not crazy about Harry and Albus and their problems though, that plotline felt a bit weak.)
Conclusion: The fanfiction feeling may not ever leave me and I doubt I will ever reread this book, although I’ve reread every other single HP book a million times. But! I am going to try and get my hands on tickets for the play. The reviews have been great, and it would be fun to see this come to life (and also I am just plain curious what they’re going to do about certain scenes!) Will it ever be canon in my mind? Proooobably not. Do I want to see more of Albus and Scorpio and Rose!!? Yes yes a thousand times yes! But next time in an original adventure please..!