Monday Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

In case you missed it, this summer a new Harry Potter book was released.

The first thing that needs to be said about the latest Harry Potter book is that it’s not really a book. It’s a play.

The second thing that needs to be said is that it’s not really written by J.K. Rowling. The play is written by Jack Thorne, and it’s based on a story idea by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne himself.

harry-potter-and-the-cursed-childTitle: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: Jack Thorne

Genre: fantasy

Synopsis: It’s nineteen years since Harry Potter and his friends defeated Lord Voldemort. (Uhh, should I have mentioned a spoiler alert? You did read the original seven stories, right?) Harry has married Ginny and had three children. It’s time for his second son, Albus, to head off to Hogwarts, but Albus isn’t thrilled about being the son of the famous Harry Potter. When an unexpected time turner is discovered, Albus and his new friend at Hogwarts decide to travel back in time to right some wrongs.

It’s hard to talk too much about the plot of this play without giving away too much. I’ll only warn you that the story skips forward in time pretty quickly in the beginning. Albus is just a first year at the beginning, and then suddenly he’s in his fourth year.

While it was a lot of fun to be back with the characters and settings of Harry Potter, I found a few things about the play to be distracting. First, because it’s written as a script, we didn’t get the descriptions of the characters we usually get. This might not have been a problem with characters we already knew from the first seven books, but when a new character (such as Delphi) is introduced, we get something very brief, such as “a twenty-something, determined-looking woman.” That doesn’t really tell us much, and at times, she came across as more of a kid than an adult.

Another thing that tripped me up was when characters would suddenly “appear” on the scene, but they would never actually enter the stage. At one point, a character begins speaking, and I thought, “When did he walk onto the stage? Where is he standing on the stage? Or are we just hearing his voice? Is this a voiceover?”

All that being said, the climactic scenes have some nice tension, and the characters remain true to how we’d expect them to act.

Final verdict? If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, you’ll probably want this just to add to your collection and to find out what might have happened to Potter and friends, but realize that it’s not going to read like the original series.


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