Read: August 8th, 2016
Rating (out of five stars):
I've read a lot of mixed reviews about this book, and while all of the opinions are valid, I do believe that most people were holding this up to a higher standard than other books. That is completely understandable, but I learned a long time ago not to compare any Harry Potter-related media to the original seven books. I used to complain about the movies not following the books exactly, until I realized they were two totally different mediums, and therefore, I shouldn't be so critical of the movies, but simply enjoy them for what they are - an adaption of the books. I enjoyed the movies considerably more after that, so I've started using that approach with other series, as well.
I think that also holds true for The Cursed Child. I know it was billed as the eighth book, and J. K. Rowling was involved, but it's not truly an additional book in the series, and it shouldn't be considered as such. In fact, it's not really a book at all - it's a script, and it would probably be fifty times better seeing it on stage rather than reading it, but I digress.
I am a huge Harry Potter fan, so to say I was excited for The Cursed Child would definitely be an understatement. I don't know about anyone else, but I loved it. Again, it's not the same as reading the original series, but it was fun to read about these familiar characters almost twenty years after the events of The Deathly Hallows. I was so happy that I wasn't spoiled at all before reading, and I believe it's a much better experience if you go in unspoiled. Therefore, this review will be spoiler-free. I'll try to stick to my thoughts and reactions, without mentioning anything specific.
Since this is a script and not a traditional book, it took a little time to get used to the format, but I was fine after a few pages. And, wow, it's going to be harder than I thought to discuss my thoughts without referring to specific moments. Suffice it to say, my emotions were running the gamut. I started out excited and a little nervous, and I was completely taken in by the story almost immediately. I giggled at times, I cried at others, but I think "shocked" is the emotion that would best sum up my reading experience. The plot twists. Some things didn't come as a surprise at all - I figured them out pretty quickly - but there were some things that completely blindsided me. I mean, I was truly gobsmacked. My emotions were all over the place at one point, and I had to close the book, and just take a minute to process my thoughts. It was intense. I loved it.
I ended up reading the whole book in one sitting - which hasn't happened in a while, I'll admit - and even though I stayed up too late to finish reading it, it was worth it. I was having a pretty bad day, but this book carried me away for a few hours, and for that I was grateful. The Cursed Child isn't perfect, and I may not even consider it canon, but it was a chance to spend more time with a few beloved characters, it entertained me, and it made me happy. For that, it's a five-star book to me.