Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

via Goodreads

Today’s review is for something that I really looked forward to reading: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 by J.K. Rowling.  Though it probably needs no introduction, I enjoy the summary provided on Goodreads:

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.

I had high expectations for J.K. Rowling’s latest project, and ultimately, I decided to give it four out of five stars.

First thing’s first, I have to point out that I loved the Harry Potter series. I really got into it with the release of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and read that and each successive book voraciously.  This franchise is near and dear to my heart – I grew up with Harry Potter, as did many others.  I was cautiously hopeful about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and ultimately, I found it very satisfying.

The greatest adjustment for me was in format.  Moving from a third-person narrative to a play was an adjustment in perspective that I didn’t give much thought before opening the first page on my Nook.  But I found myself adjusting in the first few scenes…and then the first act…and then, all of a sudden, I was at the end.  I read the entire book in one sitting (satisfying my reading challenge to read a book in a day).

Even with the format change, J.K. Rowling still has the ability to spin her readers into a world of magic. Perhaps it would be difficult to orient yourself if you hadn’t read the seven-book series, but it was so exciting to sink into the Wizarding World to start another Harry Potter-series book.  That feeling is unlike any other, and the narrative, the structure of the story, all of it was still trademark Rowling.  Her writing is distinctive, and as always, excellent.

What’s most remarkable about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is that you find yourself disassociating yourself with Harry, and investing yourself in Al, the son who seems so different from the beloved Harry. You might see the ending coming (especially if you are familiar with Rowling’s blueprint), it is no less rewarding to get there.  My only complaint is that the medium lends itself to rushing, whereas a novel can spin its way along at a leisurely pace. The second act felt rushed, and that was a bit frustrating.

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, and you’re willing to give it a chance, this play will answer all of the questions that you had when you finished the epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  It will delight you the whole, magical way through, and will make you hungry for more of the Wizarding World in which Harry, Hermione, and Ron (and all you other favorite characters) live.


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