Thursday, August 4, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

After pre-ordering my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for myself on my birthday in March, I've anxiously waited five months for it to arrive at my local BAM store. Once I got my hands on it this past weekend, I was able to read it a little every day and finish it today, four days later. Sadly, I liked the anticipation of waiting for it more than actually reading it.

Don't get me wrong; this is an engaging and interesting story, especially since it's in the form of a script, which can come across a little flat. However, despite its intrigue, it in no way compares to the magic, characterization, and eloquently written first seven books. To me, regardless of what it's called, this is not an eighth book. I consider it more of a bonus story for potterheads, like myself.

The main reason I can't call this an eighth book is the fact that it's not completely written by J.K. Rowling, herself. This is a script book 'based on an original new story by' her, but it actually appears to be written mostly by Jack Thorne. This is not an eighth story, it's a play based on the series. The other seven books had to happen for the story to progress, but this one didn't. Yes, it was nice getting to revisit old characters and peek inside their relationships and how they developed over the years, but it wasn't a necessity. The series, for me, ended with the Deathly Hallows, and I'm happy with that, as much as I miss it.

With that being said, this is actually going to be a book I can't rate. On one hand, if I look at is as just a stand-alone bonus story, I'd give it four out of five stars for the interesting plot and twists that continued to arise. On the other hand, if I look at it as what it's called, the eighth book in this series, I'd only give it one star. One star! *gasp* I know! *still shaking head in disbelief* I never thought I'd give anything that had Harry Potter written on it anything less than the highest rating, and maybe that's why I can't rate it properly. It would just hurt too much.

First off, the characters irked me. Ron was more like his twin brothers were in the first books than himself. Hermione and Ginny seemed more like themselves, as did Professor McGonagall, but that was about it. Albus's frustration with being Harry Potter's son, and having to live up to his name, was to be expected. On the flip side, Scorpius seemed more like Neville Longbottom's son, light-hearted and jovial, not a Malfoy. It was weird thinking about him being Draco's son. I just told myself he was more like his mom than his dad, but it was still odd, especially how much he ended up hugging Albus, which is weird for boys to do at that age, anyway, and definitely not something you'd think a Malfoy would do.

And then we have Harry, himself. Ugh.

Harry Potter was a butthole. He was a butthole to Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, and he was a royal butthole to his own son, Albus, at one point. This story made me not like him, which is another reason I wouldn't be able to rate it high. At the end of the Deathly Hallows, I loved how he was so reassuring with Albus on his first day at Hogwarts, which was completely lost with this story. I found myself liking Draco so much more than Harry, which is just wrong... for me, anyway.

And then we have Dumbledore. I actually wish he wasn't even in this book.

When Dumbledore's name came up as speaking, I was like, "Yes! He's back." However, once he actually started talking, my excitement quickly deflated. In the other books, he's portrayed as a strong and wise wizard, but in this one, even though he's dead and in a portrait, he seemed sad and weak. Yes, he's a mere essence of his former self, but, in my mind, even that would be pretty great.

Something else that didn't jive with me are just minor things that kind of contradicted the other books. I can't say exactly what, since I don't want to give away spoilers, but it was enough for me to question the validity of what was going on and being said. At one point, I was like, "What?" because I knew that wasn't right.

Despite these things, this is Harry Potter! I enjoyed reading about this magical world once again, nonetheless. Yes, it did kind of read like fan-fiction, but who doesn't love fanfic? I've even dabbled in a Harry Potter fanfic story, myself. I am glad I read this book, and did like it, despite some of the negative things I've mentioned, but an eighth story it is not.

Would I recommend this story? Well, that depends.

Yes, if you:

  • love Harry Potter and will read anything pertaining to it, like I do
  • don't mind reading a script
  • are okay with Harry Potter coming across as a bit of a butthole
  • are okay with minor story discrepancies
  • can read this as a bonus story, not an eighth book
  • just need a Potter fix
No, if you:

  • don't like fan fiction
  • don't like reading a script
  • don't want the original story to be tainted by an 'unnecessary' eighth book
  • love to hate Draco, because he was one of my favs in this one