Friday, 5 August 2016

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Authors: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Publisher: Little, Brown
First published: 2016
Edition: Hardback, special rehearsal edition script
Pages: 330
Blurb:    The eighth story.
               Nineteen years later…
               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.

History of my copy: As you can see from my post here, I was intending to go to the midnight release of this book, but was unable to. I got it first thing the following morning though!

This book is a script. I’ve seen so, so, so many people complaining that they were expecting a book, despite the fact that Cursed Child has always been a play and the book has always been a script. It’s also not written by J.K. Rowling. It’s based on her story, but the play itself and thus the script was written by Jack Thorne.
Now that that’s out of the way, onto the proper review! Regardless of what some people have said, this truly is the eighth Potter book. Rowling had an input, it’s her stories and characters and, at the end of the day, it had a Potter-esque plot and it is great! Did I like it as much as the original series? No, but it is still a.m.a.z.i.n.g.
I initially thought that the fact that it’s a script would put me off, especially as I haven’t really read any scripts before, but I soon got the hang of it and it really didn’t bother me.

Plot: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child primarily follows Albus Potter, who is sorted into Slytherin and befriends Scorpius Malfoy. Together, the pair try to go back in time to save Cedric Diggory but end up messing with the future. On top of this, it turns out that a part of Voldemort still lives and so the golden trio, along with an unlikely ally, Draco, must defeat that too.
         Full of both daddy trouble and magic, Cursed Child is a good mix between a growing up story and a traditional Rowling magic-filled plot.
         I actually really enjoyed the plot of Cursed Child. Whilst in some places it seemed a little far-fetched (especially the trolley-witch, what was that?), I had to remind myself that this is a world of magic and horcruxes and so nothing really is too far-fetched.
         The time-turning and alternative futures allowed a certain amount of nostalgia for the original series, especially Goblet of Fire, whilst also creating some almost humorous situations. And a horrific one where Umbridge was still in charge!

Setting: As a script, the only setting was the location listed at the top of each scene. Because of this, imagination was really needed to picture what was going on. However, it didn’t take away from the story. If you’re lucky enough to see the play, I imagine that would be a great benefit in picturing what happens.

Characters: Another common criticism of Cursed Child is the lack of characters, especially the well-loved Teddy Lupin. However, as a play, they are obviously limited to how many characters, especially as they all have to be introduced. I personally think Cursed Child had enough of the old characters, even Dumbledore and Snape, to hit that nostalgic tone, but also incorporated the new generation.
               Scorpius is my favourite character by far (apart from my beloved Ron of course). He was so well-written! He was nerdy, shy, but good at heart, really enforcing the fact that not all Syltherins are bad, especially considering who his father is. It also breaks my heart to know that Hogwarts students bully him because they think he is the son of Voldemort.
Whilst I didn’t like Albus as much, it was kinda nice to see someone who disliked having Harry as a dad, and it was interesting to see his struggles. Although he was a little whiny at times, he was actually alright.
Delphi was also a rather interesting character. Whilst her heritage was a little …odd, she was clearly clever and cunning and every bit of her father. Also, at the end of the day, I even felt a little sorry for her. Whilst Albus grew up with a father he didn’t get on so well with, Delphi was the complete opposite – growing up without a father whilst idolising him.

To read or not to read: Read. Or, if possible, go see the play (I would love to!) If you go in open-minded, remembering that it is a play and not written by Rowling herself, you won’t be disappointed. It truly is the eighth part of Harry’s story. I hope you love it as much as I did!

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