Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


It took me longer than expected, but I have finally finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I'm having mixed feelings about the whole thing. I know there are Potterheads among us who hate at least the print version of the play, and I know that there are those who insist its faults lie in its being a play. The latter believe seeing it in person resolves those flaws. I fall somewhat in the middle.

I'm not going to speak to the story line at all in this review because the book is still fairly new. Also, I think you can say a lot about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child without giving away the plot, so I'll do that. Suffice to say that you'll see heroes and antagonists old and new.

I was off to a rough start with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I found the dialogue off-putting, to say the least. Old characters lacked the charm they possessed in the novels. New characters had stilted and even corny lines. I've had people tell me "That's because it's a play!" This isn't the first play I've read. The dialogue was not appealing to me. Worse, I didn't get caught up enough in the plot to make up for it.

Now, I told you I was somewhere in the middle in terms of my enjoyment of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I began to enjoy it more somewhere around the third act. Some of the dialogue got a little more compelling, the action was a bit more convincing, and the old characters weren't as stupendously out of character. I did enjoy reading the play from this point on, though it still had its shortcomings. I've yet to see how it translates to the stage, so I'll reserve judgment on the final product.

While, as I said, I found Harry Potter and the Cursed Child enjoyable to a certain degree, I wasn't moved by it. In the novels, I was at times in tears. I laughed out loud. I grew to love the characters. None of that was happening with this play, and I'm afraid it had nothing to do with the lack of prose that comes with the format. I've enough imagination to fill in the blanks. I just wasn't swept away enough to laugh, cry or anything close.

All of the above being said, I'm so ready for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. If this isn't the last of the bunch, I really hope Rowling is the only writer of canonical Potter texts in the future.

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