Sunday, September 25, 2016

Book Review 42. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Book: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Series: Harry Potter (#8)
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Genre: Fantasy Play
Pages: 327
Published: July 31st, 2016

Synopsis: 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.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.” 

(Quick note, this is not my best review because I just read this play and really wanted to rush my feelings out. It'll be a bit all over the place.)

It took me a few months to get around to reading this, because I heard a lot of lackluster reviews. I was afraid it would ruin the series for me. Let me tell you, it did NOT ruin the series for me. It just didn't improve it either. (I know I can't really bring anything new to this discussion, but I'd still like to put in my two cents for my own sake.)

The main point that has to be brought up with this book is that it is not a book: it's a play. Plays are not meant to be read. They're meant to be seen on stage, so when reading it a lot of the context of the story is lost. I can't really complain about the fast pace or the lack of details because of this, but to me it was a real shame that it wasn't a novel. I feel like it would have been better if it was.

In a way, the plot felt a little bit like AU fanfiction, but that's only because they (highlight for spoilers) literally went to alternate universes.

The best part of this book was definitely the new kids. I loved being introduced to the new generation of wizards, and that's another reason why I wish this was a book and not a play! I wanted more of them! I REALLY wanted more of Rose. Scorpius was a total sweetheart, and a complete little nerd. I ship him and Rose very hard (but that's a conversation for a different day).

I also loved the trolley lady. Although this play couldn't go into a lot of details for obvious reasons, I did love the little tidbits of worldbuilding that we got. All these things I never even gave a second thought to had an entire other layer to them!

The whole bit about (highlight for spoilers) going back to save Cedric, of all people, really reminded me of this quote from Jessica Jones:

"You think you're the only ones who've lost people? You think you're the only ones with pain? You think you can take your shit and dump it on me? You don't get to do that! So you take your God damned pain and you live with it, assholes!"

So can someone tell the characters of this play that?

A lot of reviewers complained that some of the characters from the main series were out of character in this, but I disagree. It's been over 20 years since we've last seen them. You can't expect them to be the same person they were when they were 17. People grow and change, and just because we didn't see them do it doesn't mean it didn't happen. I have no problems with the character development.

Not sure if this is a spoiler or not since it's what the whole plot hinges on, but (highlight for spoilers) time travel is really hard to write well. I feel like it's a bit of a cop-out, because why is there any suspense when you can just go back in time again and make some more changes? We screwed up? Just go back in time again! Just keep going back!

Also, I was under the impression that, when it came to time-turners, everything was already set. Wasn't that they way it was in the third book? Everything was already set, and going back just pushed things into the place they were already in? I mean, Harry literally saved himself in the Prisoner of Azkaban, because everything was a set circle. Maybe I just need to re-read the third book.

Not a big fan of the Delphi character. I mean, her backstory didn't really make sense to me. it's just, like, I don't want to spoil anything, but HOW?

And just a comment, you can't read or watch this play without prior knowledge. You really need the worldbuilding of the other books, and to me, it felt a bit limiting to the play's potential.

All-in-all, it was fine, but it could have been so much better. Didn't make or break the series for me. I'm actually viewing it as an entirely separate entity from the rest of the series. I do really want to see the play someday though. I imagine the special effects must be amazing!


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