Monday, 15 August 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Book Review

I recently borrowed this book from a friend, read it in a day or two, and, just as with every book, I reviewed it on Goodreads.

And then I realised the review was 800 words long.


So I decided to put the review in a blog post, and shorten the Goodreads review to a few dot points. That way people won't run away screaming in terror when they see it's length.

[Edit: ha ha. Like I was ever getting it short. I re-wrote the Goodreads review and managed only 390 words so...that's half as long at least]

I just trust you guys to be brave enough, or to just skip reading this thing. To be entirely honest, I do that. If it's a book I don't really care about I'll just skim through the post in five seconds and then close it. I know, it's bad, but true. So, feel free to get bored, but if you do read on, be warned. It is a eight hundred and fifty word long rant.

Brace yourself.

Here goes nothing.

First, I guess I'll give you the blurb:

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.

And now. The review...Rant...Thing.

So where to start? First off the rating: I couldn't decide for a while what I wanted to rate it. Eventually I'm going for a 3 1/2. It wasn't the worst book in the world, but it wasn't something I want to read again. Nowhere near as good as it could’ve been. I still liked it kinda, but at the same time feel rather let down by it. It read like a fanfiction with the author's name on the cover.

It wasn't what I expected. I thought it was going to be more Albus struggling with not living up to his dad's reputation at Hogwarts, but then it turned out to be him messing up the entire universe by trying to bring someone back to life again. Not quite how I thought it would go.

The fact that it was in play script form was a massive (like, really massive) downside. It forced me to imagine it acted out on a stage and so I never was engaged and drawn into the story. There weren't any descriptions really so half the time I was forgetting what everyone/where looked like. I was disappointed that I didn't get to live the story with the characters I had liked so much. Because basically all the action has to be in dialogue, the ending fight scene felt forced and jerky and completely acted out. The whole book had a touch of that feeling just because it was. It's a play, you have to imagine it a play, and that might be okay for some people but it really just annoyed me. It could have been so much better as a novel, not a script.

The writing style wasn't the familiar 'good old J. K.' I wanted to get. Because it's in play script, it's mostly all dialogue, and you can't do much within those limits. Again I've got to say, did it actually have to be in play script? Re-reading the 'Nineteen Years Later' at the end of the last HP book, I can't help but wish this could have been as entirely beautiful a carrying on from that scene as it deserves. Sadly, no.

The Time-Turning got messed up. In the original HP series, it was unique and stood out, in The Cursed Child it's turned more into the same familiar thing that happens in a library full of other books.

[SPOILER] (to view spoiler, select the white space below) -- The only thing I liked about the Time-Turning is that I got a whole chapter/scene/act/whateveryoucallthesedementedthings where Snape was alive again. And I remembered how cool and sarcastic he was. Then he died again...NO FAIR.  -- [END SPOILER]

The plot felt like the writers were really grasping at straws to get another book out. The entire Voldemort has a child was a bit over it, and I was skeptical of the whole idea. The whole thing was flat and the only time I really cared was in a Time-Turning scene where someone I liked died...again. Otherwise, there was just frustration (at Draco and Harry for not stopping fighting and starting friending) and a sort of detached 'oh I hope they don't all die'. It was page turning, but not because I was in the story, it was because I wanted to care about the characters and - I'll admit - I wanted to see how much more messed up it could get.

Scorpius Malfoy was the only character I liked for ages. He was funny and quirky and had no clue whatsoever what was going on, and I actually connected with him almost immediately. It wasn’t until nearer the end that Albus was a little more likeable. Draco and Harry frustrated me the entire book until they finally became friends. In all, I really struggled to feel for the characters and they never came alive to me.

I also just had to bring this up: my biggest disappointment was that it didn't mention George Weasley. Not even once or in passing. And nothing about Fred II either. Ron seemed to be the owner of the joke shop, and there was never any Uncle George or Cousin Fred. WHAT'S WITH LEAVING OUT THE BEST CHARACTERS OF THE ENTIRE SERIES?! Ahem, yeah. But it's like they didn't even exist! Very sad. And no Teddy Lupin. Or any of those other characters I had hoped for. Just the old ones. Albus Potter, Rose Granger-Weasley, and Scorpius Malfoy were pretty much the only newbies, and Rose barely got any more than two pages.

So overall, it had massive potential but it didn’t live up to the HP standards. Part of this is just the play script, but also the plot and flat characters didn’t help. Don't get me wrong. I did kinda like this and I do vaguely recommend it, just so you can try it out and maybe like it. But if you read it, don’t expect anything much. Read it with a mind that it’s something entirely different, a fanfiction, only with the author's name on it.

Give it a go. Have fun. Keep your expectations low so you can be pleasantly surprised…Hopefully.

Honestly, I'm not guaranteeing anything though. I didn't say 'rantings of a disappointed mushroom' on the picture for nothing. 'Cause that's what I am concerning this book: a disappointed mushroom.

And there you have it, my view on the new Harry Potter book. I'm not sure it really deserves to be supposedly in the same series. But I've already finished the rant so I'm not going to start on that again.

Ahem, so yeah...It's depressing when a book doesn't live up to your standards. 

But now, until Friday...

Fair Winds!

Jane Maree


  1. Oh dear. We do not share quite the same views on this book XD. Loved reading your rant though, it was really fun (I didn't skim it, just sayin' XD)! And the things you said (in the spoiler)? WELL I FULLY AGREE. I WANT ... THAT PERSON ... TO COME BACK *is sad and angry at the same time*.
    Have you watched the Harry Potter movies?

    1. Hehe, oh well. I'm pretty sure there's going to be massively varying views on it. It just wasn't my thing, I guess. :D


      No, but I do want to some time. I've been warned that they're not like the book but same thing goes for tons of other movies and I still want to give them a shot. ;)

    2. Don't know if I'd advise you to give the movies a shot or not - I could rant about them all day (because they SERIOUSLY stray from the books sometimes), but ... ya know *shrugs*. ANYWAYS the part in the last Harry Potter movie where Snape loses Lily just about made me cry when I watched it with my sisters ;(. IT WAS JUST. SO. SAD. *sniff*

    3. Yeah, I'm not sure. But at least the music is good. I know that much. ;P

  2. I like your background on the picture, very cool :D And of course it is always good when you have a nice long review... well good for being a good review, if not always a good book.

    1. Thanks! It was actually just the edge of the cover stretched out maaasssively. It was a complete accident at first but then I was like 'heeey, that looks kinda cool' and so I kept it. :D

      Indeed, very sad when the book isn't as good as you hoped though.


    I never was the hugest fans of the books, but I liked them enough and had my phase of squealing over them. I was so disappointed to hear that this book was going to be written in script form. I feel like it's a lot harder to get into the character's heads and such. *sigh*

    I'll probably give this a try eventually. But I don't have much interest -- especially after some not so great reviews. :/

    // katie grace
    a writer's faith

    1. YES *sobs* As I said, I'm a mushroom of disappointment. I really wanted to like it, but just couldn't make myself.

      At first I didn't realise what it meant by script form because why would you publish a play script? It just didn't make sense. And then it WAS in script form and it just didn't work like it would have as a novel. :/

      Yeah, maybe if you go in with low expectations it won't be as bad? But I really don't know. It's a rather sad problem really.


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