GREETINGS FELLOW POTTERHEADS! Apologies, I don’t mean to shout. I am just SO UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED. Today’s book review is of one of the most anticipated books of the year, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play written by J.K. Rowling as a follow up to the Harry Potter series.
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. (Goodreads)
I will begin by saying that as a child, Harry Potter played a massive part in my life. It is the first book series I ever truly loved, and most likely played a massive role in shaping the reader I am today. The eager anticipation of waiting for the books to be released are fond memories I carry from childhood, and so waiting for this book was the first time since the Deathly Hallows that I had that feeling. When my copy of the book arrived, I could barely contain myself. I opened the book up and was overcome by emotion and nostalgia upon reading the first page, just experiencing the feelings I used to get when reading the latest instalment of the series for the first time.
While excited for this story, I was also incredibly nervous and (I hate to admit it) slightly sceptical. You know when something is absolutely perfect the way it is, and you are scared that anything extra may wreck it? That was my fear for the HP series, and I was slightly concerned that Rowling was making a mistake going back to following Harry’s life in the wizarding world. I was nervous that the book wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Turned out it surpassed them tremendously.
Now, I realise there will be some skeptics out there, and I have seen a number of reviews saying that this play read like bad fan fiction and left a bad taste in their mouths, however I disagree. I will concede that it is both not the same as the Harry Potter series or anywhere near as good as them, however for die hard Potterheads who simply want nothing more than to visit the wizarding world again, it is a must read.
The story was meticulously calculated, with plot points weaving together and linking to each other. The plot in itself was great, I enjoyed where it went and I thought it did a good job of incorporating existing aspects of the series while keeping the story fresh and exciting. It pretty much overlaps with the final scene of the last Harry Potter book, 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. I absolutely loved finding out where all the characters were and what they were doing, I loved seeing the relationships between my favourite characters and seeing what happened after the last chapter of The Deathly Hallows. I don’t want to spoil this for any HP fan who hasn’t yet read it, so I shan’t say any more about the plot.
Obviously this book is written in script and stage direction format, which I worried may be an obstacle. However, it was all too easy to recognise J.K Rowling’s writing and to quickly fall back into it. I almost forgot this was written as a play as I read it, imagining only the story. In a way, the stage directions added to the experience as they made visualising actions easier. I can only imagine how fantastic this play must be to see in real life. I hope at some point to be able to see it down in London, as it appears to have both a tremendous cast and seems as though it shall be artfully carried out.
If you want to take a trip down memory lane (or Diagon Alley?) for old times sake, and want to find out what happened to the boy whose story you followed through 7 books then you should read this book. If you want to cry, laugh and feel all of the feels then again, I think you should read this book. Try and read it with an open mind, as nothing will ever be as brilliant as the original Harry Potter books. While I agree that it is almost like reading a fanfiction, I find it hard to care if it means I can be back in the wizarding world, following a story I am so invested in and will continue to love.