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

In brief: I don’t think this book need introducing, but it’s a play of grown up Harry Potter and his children, in particular Albus.

The good: It’s Harry Potter.

The not-so-good: Now there isn’t any more Harry Potter to read.

Why I chose it: Harry Potter fan for a long, long time.

Year: 2016

Pages: 343

Publisher: Little, Brown (Hachette)

Setting: England

My rating: 8.5 out of 10

Given the hype and sheer number of people reading this, I think it will be difficult to share any unique thoughts for this book that hundreds of people haven’t already written down and been debated. But these are my thoughts anyway…

For starters, this is the first book I lined up for for many years. Generally I just rely on there being enough stock to meet demand and knowing I can always get an eBook. But despite it being horrible weather, I went out and bought this (and waited a long time). I then went out and started reading in preference to playing Pokémon Go. That has to say something as to how excited I was!

I found it a bit difficult to get into a first being a play – it really was rely on my imagination. As it’s only a rehearsal format, there are few stage directions in the text. I found this meant that I was reading much more slowly to get the most out of it.

Did I love it? I loved being in the Harry Potter world again and I loved some of the new characters, especially Scorpius. I did not take to Albus at first at all; I thought he was whingey and had a chip on his shoulder. Later, he redeemed himself, but in my mind Scorpius is really the King. I would have liked more of James, Lily and Rose – Rose sounds like a character who can take on Voldemort half asleep, she’s so strong and determined. Draco was interesting as a character but I would have liked to have more background as to how he became the person he is now.

I enjoyed looking at the different outcomes engineered by the Time Turner. The alternate reality of Voldemort winning was great in a twisted way – seeing the complete opposite of the Harry Potter world. Plus I have such a soft spot for Scorpius, that I did like seeing him as the Scorpion King. This part of the play was quite dark. Other parts were pretty light and quite different to the tone of the last few books. There’s some laugh out loud moments here.

There were several things I didn’t like, number one being Ron. His character was a total joke and a new reader would not be able to work out how he married Hermione. Hermione in all forms is just too good, smart and forthright for him. He comes across as a goof. Harry can be a bit of a whinger too – he seems to have lost his way in middle age a bit. I guess I also have some issues that he turned out to be like the rest of us – a normal parent, given to insecurities who does the wrong thing occasionally. Plus, I kind of don’t want to admit that Harry grew up because that means I did too!

One lame thing that I missed was J.K. Rowling’s penchant for kind of strange names that absolutely nail it. Some names for the new characters are good – hi Scorpius Malfoy – but some are just a bit too run of the mill (such as Craig Bowker Junior and Polly Chapman).

Is this the eighth story? Yeah but no but. It definitely has the wonder and familiarity that comes with immersing myself in the Harry Potter world again. I felt that Part Two was a little too quick and neat (again, most likely because it’s a play) and lacked some of the sparkle from Part One and the books. If J.K. Rowling turned this into a full blown book, I would certainly consider it as the true heir. But in this format, I’d like to consider it as just one of the potential stories that could have happened. It’s pretty darn good, but will any future Harry Potter story live up to what the readers have in their minds?

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