Who read the last addition to the Harry Potter series…?
…the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Part One and Two)? Well I sure did, which is why I’m now writing this review 😊 To give some context, I am what you might call a “full-on” Harry Potter fan, although to clarify, of the original series of books. So naturally, I was thrilled when in 2016 they announced about an addition to the story been created as a stage play. Yes, it was disappointing they were initially releasing it in London; which meant even on an optimistic estimate it would be a few years before it staged in Melbourne. But I reassured myself (and my friends who were fans) that something was better than nothing; because it had been years since the last books and movies were released.
It’s a new play…and a book as a script?!
Few months later, came the announcement that they will also release the new story as a book; but as a “play script”! This was a bit more bewildering and harder to digest. Sure, it was unconventional; but I was not convinced if it might be so in a good way. But once again, I tried to comfort myself that something was still good news. To be safe, I even pre-ordered my copy of the book (or rightfully, script) online. Then I started counting days to the release on July 31, 2016 (which coincidentally was 2 days after my birthday!). I was ecstatic to finally get it delivered in all its ‘hard-covered’ glory; and spent the following days eagerly devouring it. Here’s my thoughts on it…and let me also add upfront (for additional dramatic effect) that it was honestly very hard to put this down in writing.
- Who wants to read a stage play script? As I said just before, does the typical lover of fiction, want to read a script? I know I don’t, and it might be safe to assume this to be the case with most people. Because truthfully, scripts are boring; that’s just it! They are a set of dialogues with notes on the stage set up and instructions for actors etc. It would be crucial to the success of a play and therefore may appeal to actors, but to readers; it defeats the purpose because there isn’t much to read. It took a conscious effort for me to finish reading the whole script/book. I then tried reading it a second time before I wrote a review (mostly to give it a second chance!); but it was too much and I only reached halfway.
- Time flying too fast: In the original Harry Potter series, each book typically ran the span of one year, mostly with Harry at Hogwarts, until he decided to leave school. However, in the new book time flies much faster (not even considering the time travel involved). In effect, the book covered years; this in itself is not a negative; just a contrast from the norm for the original books.
- Fairly decent plot: At the end of it the actual plot was still decent I concluded; with an unsuspected villain; a Potter gone bad; a touch of Voldemort (almost said Dark Lord! :)) and Dumbledore; good amount of time travel; linking back to characters and events from the original books… To me, that’s what the whole book series has been; an impressively laid out story. So three cheers once again to J K Rowling, for creating up this addition to the story!
- Few too many characters? I am not entirely sure if I have a memory lapse when it comes to the names of characters in the book; or if there are just too many of them with too many names! Ask me names of any main character from the original set of books, and I promise you I remember everyone from; Luna Lovegood to Cornelius Fudge to Viktor Krum. But I could not seem to keep track of whose kid was whose and what was their name in this book; and let me tell you it is frustrating! 😬 And perhaps it has something to do with naming some of them using existing (albeit dead) character names; like Albus Severus Potter; is it just me or is that too many in one?!
- Not up to expectation: To begin with, J K Rowling and the authors John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, had mounds of expectations from readers to meet in this book. It’s actually a moment of Ron getting frustrated with being in Harry’s shadow (yes, I just used a Harry Potter analogy in its own review! 😉 ) But in my opinion, the book did not meet my expectation of what I aspired it to be; and this is something a majority of my friends felt as well.
- Writing style: Like I said before, this was an obvious feature of the book been that it was written and published as a script. Needless to say, it made the experience quite different to reading a book. Due to this (and maybe other reasons combined), I never felt the book was a page-turner or even interesting enough to re-read ☹️
- A Potter in Slytherin: I already spoke about my opinion on the plot, but I wanted to add that I found it quite interesting to see Albus Potter in Slytherin! I think that’s a turn even the keenest fan would not have guessed at; so kudos to that. And also having the Potter-Malfoy rivalry somewhat broken, when Albus and Scorpius Malfoy (or the Cursed Child!) turn out to be best friends. I think these created an unexpected twist in the story.
In conclusion, did I love this book? The honest answer is no and I cannot wholeheartedly recommend anyone to read it; it breaks my heart as a Harry Potter fan to say it (which made writing this that much more harder). ☹️
Image credit: wizardsandwhatnot.com
© Jan Perera 2017