Series: Harry Potter, Book 8
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: July 31, 2016
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Told: Play Format
Content Rating: Teen (some scary images, intense and emotional moments, some minor language)
Format Read: Hardcover (library)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase On: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Based 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.
* * *In a Sentence: A quick but unimpressive "eighth book" in an otherwise impressive series.
I had middling hopes for this "book," excited for something new in the amazing Harry Potter world but knowing realistically it would not be another Rowling masterpiece (it is essentially written by someone else, after all). So I wasn't as surprised as most that this book proved rather disappointing, although it did let me down a little more than I'd expected.
Since the main reason I "enjoyed" this book as much as I did was because I had absolutely no idea what it was about, this review will be brief to avoid spoilers. I will say, however, that it read rather like fan fiction, asking "what would things be like if this had happened instead" questions and exploring the results. I did enjoy some of the results, and enjoyed seeing some unexpected characters, but overall the story lacked proper character motivation and connection for me, and I wasn't impressed with the plot at all.
I must admit though that some of my connection difficulties were most likely due to the format - I've never read a play before (screenplay yes, theater play no), and the spartan format left a lot to be desired. This did make for a quick read which I was glad for, but the minimal movement, detail, and emotional resonance with the characters created too much distance for a truly enjoyable book.
Conclusion: If you loved the original Harry Potter series, you really can't not read The Cursed Child, but thankfully it's a quick read with an intriguing premise, if little else. Although I doubt I'll ever read it again (and am very glad I borrowed it from the library, not purchased it), I'd definitely be interested in seeing a recording of the play, even though I've now ruined quite a lot of the impact. Still, I'd be intrigued to at least see how the man-eating bookcase works on stage...