Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.; Special Rehearsal ed. edition (July 31, 2016)
Reading Sara Rating: 7/10
Reading Sara Review: When I began this blog, I had no idea that I would get to write a review on a Harry Potter story, so this is a big bucket list item for me. I love the magical world that JK Rowling created – it was so fun to watch the characters grow up, to be delighted and surprised as a reader each time a new book came out. I would wait in line at midnight (for the books and the movies), devour the book with little sleep, and usually be inspired to re-read the other books. So, Harry Potter is a passion of mine.
I am getting older, so going to a midnight release party wasn’t on the top of my list for this one, but I did pick it up the following day. I had to finish another book I was reading (Liane Moriarty’s new one – review coming soon!) before I committed. But, once I committed to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I didn’t put it down and finished it easily in an afternoon.
Many people have been surprised about this book release; it has been much quieter than previous Harry Potter-themed stories. It isn’t a novel, but a transcript of the play occurring in London right now that features Harry, 19 years after we last saw him in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It is based on an original story written by JK Rowling, with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, but the script for the play (which is what this book is) was written by Jack Thorne.
Now on to the spoiler-ish portion of the review (I won’t give many details, but I will talk about some themes that I thought were interesting, so some may perceive them as spoiler-y. Read at your discretion!)
19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry is a government employee while Hermione is (obviously) the Minister of Magic. Harry’s youngest son is about to head to Hogwarts – a place that Harry found friendship, solace, and refuge in his childhood. Unfortunately for young Albus, he isn’t quite as excited. The beginning jumps quite a bit – and you can just picture how this would look on stage — full of magical illusions that make the time passing much more interesting than reading on a page. Instead, some of it does not come to life until later. Albus and his best friend Scorpius Malfoy (yep) decide to chase adventure and help right a wrong that Harry influenced in his youth. As we all know, changing the course of history has significant challenges and can be detrimental to the future, which Albus and Scorpius soon find out. Spoiler: Scorpius is the best new character in this book!
What is great about this adventure story is being back in the magical world, watching Harry as a father, and being reminded of the places and characters that have slipped our minds since reading the previous books. Unfortunately, JK Rowling was not the primary author, and there were times that I could tell. I wouldn’t go as far as other reviewers have and say that it felt like fan-fiction, but there were times that it felt too forced or just a little bit off.
The story at the core for me was a wonderful story of friendship and loyalty – something that was always prevalent in Harry Potter books. I was happy that this kept that consistency.
There is a villain, as always, and he who must not be named will always need to be defeated. It was a pleasant afternoon spent reading this book, and I would encourage any Harry Potter fan to read it (or better yet, go to London and see the play – and take me with you!). But if you are new to the Harry Potter world, don’t start with this one.