Sunday, 7 August 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Authors: J.K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Genre: Supernatural, Children
Type: Hardcover, Screenplay
Pages: 336
Series: #8 in the Harry Potter series
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
First Published: July 31, 2016
First Line: "A busy and crowded station."

Book Description from GoodReadsBased on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.  The play will receive its world premiere in London's West End on July 30, 2016.

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.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review: I had mixed emotions about this book. First, I am a huge Potterhead.  I loved the first seven books in the series and was more than a little eager to jump back into Rowling's magical world.  But part of me hesitated with this book because A) it was written as a screenplay and B) while the plot was Rowling's idea, this screenplay was written by two other authors.  Would they get the feel right?  Would it fit in well with the first seven books?  Part of me wanted to know and part of me wanted to leave my knowledge of HP to the first seven books because they were perfection.

My curiosity won out.  I waited a whole .... day.  Yes, my internal dilemma lasted 24 hours.  I waited until August 1st to order a copy and it arrived the next day in all it's HP glory.  A big reason I bought it was that I didn't want to hear chatter about the book that would give away plot points. I had to read it for myself and what HP collection would be complete without the final book?

What I liked about this book:
- I got to revisit some of the characters that I loved from the first book and see what happened to them after the Battle of Hogwarts
- the time travel aspect was an interesting way to include certain characters
- the authors got Rowling's sense of humour right
- I adored Albus and Scorpius's characters and how they related to each other and their parents
- I surprised myself by adoring Draco and Scorpius more than other characters
- there were some great suspenseful scenes and a good twist
- you get to see a very different side to Harry, various characters and their relationships in a new light and even how a certain character regretted some of their past decisions

What I wasn't fond of in this book:
- there was a lot of jumping around with time travel which made it a little convoluted at times
- My biggest peeve, by far, was that I was not a fan of reading a screen play.  I did not like it.  Not one bit.  It felt awkward and didn't flow well. And I think by using this format the reader misses out on Rowling's immense talent of pulling her readers into her world with her vivid descriptions (that is IF she had written this book herself).  I would have much preferred for her to write a novel and if she wanted to publish the screenplay then do so as a separate publication.  But she apparently doesn't require my two cents before publication. ;)

- Now I'm going to show what a serious HP geek I am and sound a lot like Hermione.  If I'm not mistaken, some of the charms in the book were wrong.  
  • In Part One Albus uses an Expelliarmus charm on another person's wand and the books says that the wand "is summoned to Albus' hand".  Um, I believe you meant to use Expelliarmus (disarming) AND the Accio (summoning) charm.  Expelliarmus only disarms or releases whatever the person has in their hands, it doesn't give it to the other person. {I'm such a geek}
  • Also, in Part Two they talk about whipping up some Polyjuice Potion to use that day.  If I'm correct, Polyjuice potion is a complex and very time consuming potion and when they made it in Books 2 and 4 it took weeks and time was of the essence in this current scene {Waving my Geek Flag high!!}
Overall, this is a good addition to the Potter universe but as I read my rating wavered all over the place.  I admit that it took me awhile to get into this book with my favourite parts clearly being the second half of the book (the first half had a very 3 star feel).  The last half is when the action picks up and wonderful secrets are revealed.  Oooo, right?

I consider this Harry Potter: The Next Generation.  An epilogue to the original seven book series.  While it does have its place in the Potter universe, the form that Rowling chose to reveal her latest work, via screenplay written by other authors, greatly diminished my ability to immerse myself into her world again.  Overall, I enjoyed the ride and I liked seeing how things turned out for my favourite characters.  I recommend it for fellow Potterheads and if the play ever comes to Toronto you know who will be there in all her geeky glory. 

Favourite Quotes 

Note: The following quotes will mention certain characters that appear in the book.  If you don't want a heads up skip this part of my review.

::: spoiler alert :::

Harry: I need your help.  I need your advice.  Bane says Albus is in danger.  How do I protect my son, Dumbledore?

Dumbledore: You ask me, of all people, how to protect a boy in terrible danger?  We cannot protect the young from harm.  Pain must and will come.

Harry: So I'm supposed to stand and watch?

Dumbeldore: No.  You're supposed to teach him how to meet life.


Dumbledore: Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world.  Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic.  In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again.  Be honest to those you love, show your pain.  To suffer is as human as to breathe."

Dumbledore: Those that we love never truly leave us, Harry.  There are things that death cannot touch.  Pain .. and memory ... and love.

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