Monday, June 5, 2017

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Book Review

by The Wanderer 

Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Publisher: Pottermore
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Harry Potter Book Eight
Pages: 320

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(Contains spoilers for Harry Potter's 1-7, but lets be honest who hasn't read these books).

Albus Severus Potter, the second son of the famed wizard Harry Potter, has begun his magical education at Hogwarts. However, he's not the son Harry nor the rest of the world expected. Sorted into Slytherin, and best friends with Scorpius Malfoy, Albus looks to make a name for himself by changing the fate suffered by Cedric Diggory at the end of Goblet of Fire.

Here's an idea lets take one of the most well respected and liked Y.A. fantasy stories ever written and write a sequel about it that doesn't need to be written. But lets not stop the sacrilege there, lets take before-mentioned series' greatest flaw (the time turner), and use that as the major plot device for this unneeded sequel. But wait ...  lets take it even further and use said time turner to change the plot that was previous loved by millions just to get in a few cheap cameos for some blatantly ineffective emotional manipulation.

I seriously had to put this book down a number times and ask myself if Rowling wrote this just to troll her fans? I'm not a die-hard Harry Potter fan, but I read all the books the day they came out, I've seen all the movies in the theater. I grew up with Harry Potter, and these books had me reading at a time when I wasn't even into reading (fortunately that was only a temporary thing). That being said I don't consider myself a purist, but I definitely have a love for Harry Potter.

So reading The Cursed Child, was one of the most disappointing and sad things, for all the wrong reasons, that I've had to read in awhile. It's not just this horrible plot and the return of the time turner that makes Cursed Child lacking. It's ... pretty much everything. Albus Severus, is very much a one dimensional character. He just wants to be respected for who he is, especially by his father. He goes about trying to achieve this in the stupidest way possible. The reasons for his surliness are poorly explained, and not really believable. All in all, he's a character that's really hard to get behind. 

Instead I found Scorpius to have a lot more potential. Having a death eater for a father, would be like the modern equivalent of being raised by a former member of Hitler's S.S. Hmmm. That would be interesting, but the relationship between Draco and Scorpius is placed to the side, in favor of Harry and Albus, who's relationship (and its outcome) is not only predictable, but not even worth the emotional investment. 

Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and the way they're written doesn't seem to accurately reflect who they were in the original Potter series. Sure one could argue time changes people, but the voices of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, don't sound like Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Even cameos by Snape and Umbridge, two of Rowling's best characters don't feel like they were authentically written. Everything about this story feels so contrived and staged. I'm struggling to understand how J.K. Rowling could even put her name on the cover.

Writing a sequel series is always a risky business. One of the few people who's done this successfully has been Robin Hobb, and even then, going into her sequel series I had some serious reservations. It was of my opinion that if J.K. Rowling were to ever return to the Potter world, she should tell stories that didn't have Harry Potter in them. And for nearly ten years it seemed like that was going to be the case ... and then this happened. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a worse disaster than I ever expected it to be. 

Score: 3.3

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