I may be bordering on late to talk about this book, but I got it just before and was saving it to read on my family's vacation to Walt Disney World that we got back from early this morning. (And then all had a good long sleep afterwords) And, surprisingly, I actually finished it all on the drive there. Which is admittedly a good thing, because after a week of Disney Magic, I probably would've been confused when I picked it back up.
Anyway, I also want to clear up that while yes, technically this isn't "the Eighth Harry Potter Book," strictly because it wasn't by J. K. Rowling alone, it might as well be. And for me, it is.
That said, please note that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the official script book for the play of the same name, and is written by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. I haven't seen the play, and here I'm only going to be talking about the book.
And now for the book jacket summary:
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.
Truthfully I wasn't super excited about the whole thing being in script format rather than paragraph, but luckily it didn't distract much from the on-going plot while I was reading. I still prefer paragraph, but at least this wasn't written like the confusing as crap supposedly-official script books of my drama teacher's. Now that
would've been torture to try and read.
First off, I feel obligated to admit that if you're looking for a Harry-central story, you're not going to get it. Albus actually plays the heftier role here, at least in my opinion. Though what we do see of Harry, while yes, there is a certain emphasis on the fact that he's no longer a kid falling into the destructive path of adventure, it's not boring in the way it normally would be for a look at a character that has grown up.
Honestly though, for me, the way the plot unfolds paints a very clear picture as to who's side we're supposed to be on going into the start of the main conflict--Harry's.
Trying not to spoil anything, at least for me, it's very easy to see where Albus and Harry's sides split between the child that wants to be their own hero and the parent that knows so much better. Even I
was thinking, "Albus, you don't know what the heck you're doing. You can't see how much trouble running off half-cocked to play hero like this could and is most certainly going to cause!"
There's also something of an interesting subplot going on that becomes part of the main climax later on--And honestly, I was trying to figure out which character it was going to involve from the beginning allusions and I was greatly mislead and so
wrong with my level-best guess. It's a really good twist, and that's pretty much all I can say without getting into spoiler territory.
There's a few other things I really want to say, but they're spoilery, so I'll put them in small type and it can be at your own discretion whether or not you read them.Firstly, the plot's execution does a very good job of demonstrating the potential dangers of time travel, and would make for a very good argument of why time travel should be illegal if it's ever figured out here in the real world. And that's actually why the reader is very easily pinned to support Harry over Albus, since Albus is trying to change an important event in the past Harry has already realized shouldn't be messed with.
Additionally, I was actually surprised by Rose's lack of involvement, and Scorpius and Draco's contribution to the story. Heck, Scorpius briefly sees the spotlight as the main protagonist, and it's actually very interesting. Personally, I think this is actually makes the book a good thing for avid next-gen fan fiction writers to look at, since it takes a different path than the usual, "and all the main protagonists had kids and they all got along and became the spitting image of what their parents once were in their own way." Which, don't get me wrong, is fine and can be pulled off really well, but I almost like this way of going about a sort-of next-gen story better.
The other thing is that I have to say, it's very clever how in the epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, that book stays Harry's scar hadn't hurt for nineteen years, rather than, "And Harry's scar would never hurt again," or something similar. And I believe a line similar to the original actually repeats, and then is alluded to once more before the plot really starts picking up.
And one last time I will just say, and this is possibly the most spoiler-ridden thing I could possibly mention about the book, when talk started of Voldemort's child, I immediately ruled out Scorpius because he was way too obvious. And for the life of me, the best guess I could muster was that somehow it was Albus in some way, possibly involving Harry having once been an unintentional horcrux. And boy, was I ever wrong! Not once did I ever suspect who it turned out to actually be. Just...wow, what I way to misdirect a reader if I ever saw one.
And hopefully that's the end of the spoilers from me.
In all seriousness though, the cast returning from the original seven books are portrayed pretty much perfectly with the +19 years of age, and even though I don't think I caught quite all the allusions to other past character's children since it's been a while since I read any of the original seven, there are nice call backs and healthy doses of references. And that's why to me this is basically the eighth book--Because despite the difference in writing format, it really does feel like that. In my opinion, it captures that Harry Potter feel while bringing something new and interesting to the table, and I think this provides an even better end to the one series that a vast majority of the world over never wants to see die, myself included.
I'd definitely recommend this to any and all Harry Potter fans, and I would very solidly recommend to non-Harry Potter fans, if
you can put up with missing a lot of the references only Harry Potter fans or the original seven books would understand. For what it's worth, I don't think it would be too hard for a non-fan to pick it up, since I feel there's a good deal of quick explanation to make the important returning information make sense to those who might be unfamiliar with it.
That's all I've got for my review--I say pick it up and give it a read if you can, especially Harry Potter fans.
As for me personally, be on the lookout for some pictures of stuff I picked up while I was gone and a couple of other things here and there. I'll probably be slow because I'm trying to get back into routine, but I'll be working on it, I promise.