REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Originally posted on Around the World in 80 Books


By Tqwana B.

4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆

hp script book

Little Brown UK
July 31, 2016
YA/Fantasy/Play

 

Synopsis:

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.


4 stars for nostalgia and 3 stars for story

First, some conditions of this review:

  1. It is spoiler free. I will #keepthesecrets.
  2. This is based solely on the words on the page. Plays are meant to be read aloud and performed. I’m sure it’s magical – pun intended – on stage. The stage directions have my mind spinning wondering how they pulled them off.
  3. If you read spoilers after the first previews, they are true. I wanted to not believe them b/c they seemed too on the nose as far as Albus’ Hogwarts House and such. But, then again, I though RAB being Regulus was too obvious to be true, and we see how that turned out.
  4. This is the rehearsal script, not the final one. I hear that comes out next year in a Definitive Edition. I hope that means Act III is shorter. Geez…

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is finally here! And I’m a little bit disappointed. This is probably the first Potter book I didn’t read in one sitting, and considering it’s a script and a very short read in relation, that’s saying something.

I loved being back in Harry’s world, but this read like fan fiction. Really good fan fiction, but fan fiction nonetheless. The story is in part created by Rowling, but you can tell right away, it’s not her writing. And while some of the characterizations were spot on, Harry and Hermione for example, there were others that seemed off. Ron leaned too much on the comic relief movie version than the more well-rounded but still funny version I loved in the book series. Two others from the past just didn’t feel quite right either.

The main plot involving a time-turner is pretty far-fetched and slightly ridiculous, even for a book series about witches, wizards, and magical creatures. The villain is also pretty obvious from the beginning. Again, very fan fiction-ish motivation. I’m sure I’ve read one with a similar villain.

Don’t expect a continuation of the Golden Trio’s adventures. This is firmly a story about the Potters (most of them anyway… I missed Lily and James Jrs.), which is the strength of the play and the part I loved the most. This is Harry’s story as a father and a husband, and Albus as the son who reluctantly lives in his shadow and does some very stupid things because of it. Of course, Ron and Hermione are there and even have some very adorable Ron and Hermione moments. But, Harry turns to his wife (Ginny’s great. I adore Ginny), as he should, and probably has more screen time with Draco Malfoy than Ron and Hermione combined, which is expected considering the nature of the story.

And then there’s Scorpius. I love Scorpius Malfoy! All the adoration that Draco undeservedly received, Scorpius more than earns. He’s probably worth the price of the ticket alone.

Still, this is a Potter story, a glimpse into adult Harry’s life, so I can’t dislike it. It’s what most of the fans have wanted since “all was well.” In fact, I want more. There’s still 19 years in between that we can explore. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne still confront many of the themes we’re used to from the books, with loneliness and acceptance at the forefront. I just wish it surrounded a plot that wasn’t so outlandish.

I Think I’m Hate-Reading a Book Series

I’m hate-reading and I need an intervention or something.

I have a friend who hate-watches TV shows and I have never understood why he does it. There are so many other good shows to waste our idle time on.

And it’s not that I haven’t done it before. Twilight and Fifty Shades come to mind. But, with those, I read them just to see what everyone else was going crazy over. Can’t form an opinion about something without reading it first.

I still don’t get it.

But, with this series (no, I’m not telling you what it is), I don’t have former students or colleagues to blame. I chose this book of my own free will. Though I was unimpressed, that hasn’t stopped me from reserving the remaining books in the series from the library. I need to know how it all ends, though I know I’m just going to be pissed about the ginormous plot holes, contrived plot devices, the unbalanced narrative that feels like it’s all filler for the lackluster sex scenes (it’s romantic suspense, btw), and a heroine who’s kind of stupid. And I don’t say that lightly. Naive is one thing, but flat out dumb is another. This chick is head-scratching dumb. That would be me scratching my head wondering WTF she’s thinking most of the time.

And what’s worse is that I keep giving them 3-star ratings, though with all the harrumphing and side-eyeing and wondering “how in the hell did we get to that conclusion?!” I’ve been doing, they likely deserve 2 stars. But, I keep reading them.

So, I’m hate-reading.

Why am I doing this to myself? I make it a point to DNF books that I don’t like. I have enough in my TBR pile that I will never want for something to read. And time is not on my side.

Is it possible that bad books can still draw you in? Something you can’t turn away from, like a car accident on the highway?

I’ve been reading more self-published books lately, and it actually angers me that those authors are not getting the opportunities from traditional publishers that this author did, for books, in my opinion, of lesser quality. We’re talking NYT and USA Today best sellers here! How????

And why can’t I just give them up?! It’s like an awesomely bad 80s movie or something.

What’s your experience with hate-reading? Any books you absolutely did not like, but couldn’t resist their pull?

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