Monday, August 29, 2016

Review of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD Pts. 1 & 2

This month, it's back to good old book reviews for me! I couldn't be happier to be reviewing HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne (Don't all of those names sound lovely together? It must be the alliteration).

Before I jump into the review, here is the beautiful cover art:




If the cover art alone doesn't make you want to grab up the story, then I'm not sure what will. But in case you're not gripped yet, here is the synopsis of the play (Yes, I should probably mention that this is written as a stage play, in case anyone wasn't aware.):

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.


***

So I'm going to start my review by saying that I LOVED the story, which, I know, is contrary to a lot of other opinions. I gave HP AND THE CURSED CHILD a 5-star review on Goodreads, and those who have kept up with my reviews probably know that a 5-star review from me doesn't come along every day. 

*SPOILERS AHEAD*
 
I admit that for me a lot of the reason I loved the story was the nostalgia factor...Being back on the train to Hogwarts, reading scenes between Harry and Dumbledore, tasting Chocolate Frogs. I didn't mind that much of the play borrowed from scenes already written in previous books. In fact, I thought time-traveling made the other stories seem richer. 

And honestly, the read brought me back to my own fledgling storytelling days. I couldn't have asked for better role models in my youth than J. K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Tanith Lee, Suzanne Collins, etc. Their influence shows in my work to this day. 

I also loved the story because the tension between Harry and his son hit home on SO many levels that both time and the personal nature of them forbid me from naming them all. But seeing the transformation from son and father completely misunderstanding one another, resenting one another, then growing to see how alike they truly are had me crying buckets of tears. Do I think that a process like that really happens as quickly as it happened in the story? No. But this is fantasy! Let's suspend reality for a bit and pretend that perhaps life-long wounds really can be healed in a few hundred pages!

As someone with a history memorizing lines to later perform on stage and with writing my own urban fantasy screenplays (how weird that that's a term that seems so out-dated now), I had no issue with the format of the story. Dialogue is nearly always my favorite part of stories anyhow, so I enjoyed the presentation, unlike a lot of readers I know. To them I have to say go read bunches of screenplays and stage plays! A lot of them you can find for free online. I promise you might grow to at least appreciate the art form (though I admit I could never get into the graphic novel/comic book scene, even after years of trying).  

My biggest issue with the play was the whole Voldemort has a daughter, and she's been in hiding all of this time. With Voldemort's inhuman form, the splitting of his soul, etc, I find it hard to believe that he wouldn't be completely sterile. I also have a hard time believing that this chick would have hidden away until this magic moment in time--but I guess that's what prophecies are for?

Had she been portrayed as ANYTHING else? Even another Death Eater's daughter, then I could have gotten behind the idea of this character and the prophecy. 

But other than that ringing entirely false, I truly enjoyed the story. I read it like my eyeballs were starved--finishing it in a partial afternoon. I fully recommend HP AND THE CURSED CHILD to all HP fans. Just do what I did. Go in with NO expectations and enjoy what the story churns up. 

Did you love HP AND THE CURSED CHILD? Did you hate it? Leave your reviews in the comments below! I'd love to see what you thought of the book. 

Until next time!