Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II Review

Hi friends! Guess who read the new Harry Potter book? This guy!

I got my preordered copy of Harry Potter and Cursed Child on Monday the first, I believe. I halted the book I was reading (Cress by Marissa Meyer) and went straight into this book. If you can show me a person that says they can sit through a book they’re already reading when they have a new HP book sitting on their shelf, I will show you a liar. Harry Potter waits for no one.

For those who don’t know, I am a HUGE Harry Potter nerd. I love it, I have a tattoo for it, I have a painting for it, my life is basically all HP, and my blog is named for one of my favorite lines in the entire series, “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery” … I’ll admit, I omitted the latter half because I mean, really, what’s more important than books?

So I sat down a week ago and read the book. Admittedly it took me three days to do so, but I finished it! And oh my god…

This was completely different than the usual HP books, which was both good and bad:

First of all, it’s written like a play is written. For good reason: it’s the book based off of the play that just took stage in London. It’s supposed to be the same story that they’re doing on stage, only they turned it into a book for everyone to read instead of just the lucky few who get to see it on stage.

I am a huge fan of the fact that they released this book. I remember how bummed out I was when they said there was going to be a play but it was in London. I actually considered just going to London to see that play, so having the play in my hands and only paying twenty bucks instead of probably over 2,000 bucks was an amazing feeling.

The story itself is fantastic. I was hesitant at first because I thought, ,”okay, am I really going to sit down and try to feel okay about Harry being a forty-year-old father?” But I thought they did a great job.harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child-poster-461923

This book picks up exactly where we left off at the end of HP and the Deathly Hallows which I thought was a really great way to start the book. Just from the first few pages in King’s Cross Station I could already start to get a feel of the characters and their differences and similarities to the original books.

The plot was fun. It’s about Harry’s son, Albus Severus, who is trying to find his own identity at Hogwarts while everyone thinks he should be just as great as his dad (or the two wizards he’s named after…. Side note: I always thought it was fucked up that he named his kid Albus Severus because it seemed like a pretty heavy burden to put on someone. They’d constantly be trying to live up to the name. But in the book Harry actually asks a portrait of Dumbledore how he feels about having someone named after him and Dumbledore, being the smarty pants he is, says that it seems like a big weight to put on a kid! Ha! I was right.)

Albus Severus then goes on an adventure with his best friend Scorpius (Malfoy’s son) to try to change the past. Adventure ensues. I won’t give it away because I think it would make it much less exciting if you knew the whole story.

Now, while I enjoyed the books I did have a few dislikes:

As much as I love plays (I’m a Shakespeare girl through and through) I really do wish this were in novel format. Not because it wasn’t an amazing story the way it was, it really was an amazing story, but rather because I feel like there could have been so much more detail. I thought there were times where everything felt like it got cut off – because it was.

Because it’s in a play format, you don’t necessarily have all the imagery that you’re used to with Harry Potter books. There were several times that a scene ended and I was like, “no, there has to be more… Right?”

The problem with play format is that its broken down into what the character is saying, a small descriptive action, and then back to what a character is saying (obviously not always in that order). But because it’s broken up that way you almost don’t get as many of the descriptive emotions going on – you just have to identify it for yourself. Part of me is fine with that, but the other part of me wishes there was more meat to these bones.

The other thing I wasn’t crazy about was the portrayal of Ron. I know this is going to sound nit-picky, and it really is. But one of my favorite characters is Ron because he’s so cheeky, sarcastic, and just kind of reckless. Whereas in this book I didn’t get the same feeling from Ron. I got the same feeling from Hermione, from Harry, Ginny and Malfoy, but there was a disconnect for me with Ron.

Ron in this book felt more staged, almost like they wanted to have him say something funny but it just didn’t work. I wish they had more fluidity with his character.

Now, do I think that that’s a deal breaker? No. Do I think that makes the book any less great? No. I just really wish that there had been more “Ron” in Ron’s character in the book.

Other than that, I really did think this was a great book. It was so exciting to finally read a new HP story with new characters and a whole new generation.

I thought the idea was fantastic, the writing was impeccable (You can always count on Jo), and mostly the feeling of being back in the Wizarding World made me feel as free and welcomed as it always has.

Once again, JK Rowling has done it. She’s made me fall in love with Harry Potter all over again.

Now who’s ready for Fantastic Beasts????

Until next time,

Rachel

P.S. If you have any opinions on the book, have seen the play, or just want to talk to me about everything (because I want to talk to you about everything) leave a message in the comments or shoot me an e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Everyone Drop What You’re Doing And Re-Read A Book

Hello blog friends! I’ve been meaning to discuss something that’s very dear to my heart: re-reading. I’m a habitual re-reader and proud. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games and don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve read Hamlet. I just love it. Shakespeare for the win!

But really, it’s an amazing joy for me to re-read books that have meant a lot to me. So I’m here to tell you to do it. Alright, let me rephrase that because you’re your own person and you can do as you please. But let me give you a little insight as to why you should re-read.

When I was in high school I read some of the best books. Not even a part of the curriculum, just good books. When I started college I had so many stories to read as an English major, that I needed the comfort of a genuinely good book that I didn’t have to think about the symbolism for, or have to think at all really. I mean there’s only so many times you can read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman or D.H. Lawrence’s The Rocking Horse Winner before you’ve run out of meanings behind it. I mean for Christ’s sake they’re only like 15 pages long!

So rather than lose my shit over the books and stories I had to read, I started re-reading to clear my mind. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, I tend to read to relax. So all I wanted was something I didn’t have to think about. The first things I started re-reading like crazy were the Harry Potter books. I’ve read those books since they first came out so Hogwarts is more or less my second home. This was a wonderful thing. Being submerged in a world entirely unlike your own for just a couple of hours, with the characters and places you love, before you have to go back to the real world is something that I’ll never take for granted. It’s freeing to be able to escape for a while.

As time went on, and the work got more difficult, I read even more (oddly). This time I delved into Amy Tan books. The Bonesetter’s Daughter was read and re-read in less than a week. Hamlet, The Hobbit, My Horizontal Life, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Night, I re-read them all. Of course I don’t want to give you a false impression: I read a lot of new books too, or at least books I’d never read before. But my comfort was more with re-reading books I’d read.

So, here’s what I propose: think of a book that has made a huge impact on you, or at least a book you’ve read that you’ve enjoyed reading, and re-read it. I know re-reading isn’t for everyone. A lot of people think, “I’ve already read it, I know what happens! Why would I read it again??” And here’s the answer: Why not?

There’s absolutely no harm in reading a book you’ve enjoyed again. Yes, you may know what happens, but do you watch movies that you’ve seen before? Seriously, my Jaws DVD is WORN OUT because I watch it so much. I can guarantee that at least once in your life you’ve re-watched a movie. You know the plot, you know who the bad guy is and who gets shot at the end, but you watch it again anyway. So why not try the same with a book? Yeah you know the ending, but it doesn’t make the story any less good. And it certainly shouldn’t make you not want to read it again. It should make you say, “wow, I remember loving that book. I should read it again and understand why I loved it so much.”

Now, I’ll say this: there have been times when I’ve read a book that I loved and then when I re-read it I was utterly disappointed and thought to myself, “This? This is what I was so excited about?” But don’t let that discourage you. Give another book a shot. One you’ve read more recently and know you’d still enjoy. Perhaps you’ll find new meanings in the story – I’m still finding new hidden things in Harry Potter. That shit is loaded with hidden meanings. But that’s why it’s amazing!!!!

So give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments or via e-mail. The books might surprise you.

Until next time,

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com