Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne & Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
It’s taken me a lot longer than I’d like to admit to read this book. I heard a lot of negative reviews about it, which was kind of off-putting, when I hear bad things about a book, I can’t help but think that the book must be bad, and I go into it with those pre-concieved notions. Which, is normally why I avoid reading reviews about books before I read them, if only so they don’t sway or influence how I feel going into the book. Like, if a book is super hyped, and I go into it expecting a masterpiece and it doesn’t perform, then I wonder if I read the wrong book or something. Of course, there are always books that people tell me “I need to read” and that “THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!” and then I read said book and also scream “THIS BOOK IS AMAZING! READ IT NOW!” to everyone that I pass *cough cough Sarah J. Maas books cough cough* But enough about that, let’s talk about a book that got so-so reviews and how I felt about it.
The hardest thing to adjust to, and realize, when reading this book. It isn’t a novel. This is a screenplay, it’s a script, and it’s not written by J.K Rowling, so yes, it’s basically fan fiction, fan fiction that she authorized. So obviously, since it’s a play, the story will feel a bit rushed and there isn’t as much character development, since there really isn’t time to flesh things out as intensely as it could if it were a novel. Comparing this to a novel would be unfair, because it can’t be a novel, it’s a script! I think that’s where a lot of the negative reviews came from. I don’t think people, when buying this book, realized it was going to be a script. Or if they did, they didn’t really understand the implications of that.
When Alex asked me what I thought about it right after I finished it, I told him “Well, it reads like fan fiction.” and he replied with “Well, duh, that’s because it is fan fiction.” And yes, while that would normally be a compliant of mine, I realize that it really can’t be, since yes, this screenplay IS INDEED fan fiction. So if we ignore that complaint, which I think was another common compliant, we will move onto my main complaint which was: Man I hated Harry. Obviously, do to the nature of the format, things weren’t fleshed out much, but Harry would win worst father of the year award and his relationship with Ginny, as shown, seemed somehow…depressing? Not the word I’m looking for really, but the relationships of the main series protagonists just weren’t there. Granted, obviously, this book isn’t about them, it’s about their children. I honestly like Draco as a father better than Harry as a father. That might be saying something.
I did like the conflict though, there were twists that I enjoyed and didn’t quite see coming, and the relationship between the two protagonists was lovely. The only reason I wouldn’t consider this to read quite like fan fiction is because the two didn’t kiss, which is an internal complaint of mine. (There was subtext there god dammit!) I liked the struggle that Harry’s son went through, it made sense, it didn’t seem too forced at all. Overall, the more I ruminate over it, and let the obvious draw backs fade away, I can say that I enjoyed it. I would love to read it fleshed out in a novel form, I think I would enjoy that even more. I would have been nice to learn more about other characters and see more relationships form between characters, but that’s something that would need a novel, not a play. Part of me still doesn’t quite consider it canon though.
Okay, no lies here. I totally had to read the spark notes for this book to remember what happened and who betrayed who and what not. I remembered a little bit about the book, like how it was basically a hodge podge of all other popular YA series all crammed into one. (Dystopian, class system, dictator, war going on, magic powers, love triangle, female protagonist, etc.) We ended the last book with betrayal after betrayal and our lovely lead, Mare, flees with the rebels along with the disgraced prince. The evil prince (not naming names, in case you are planning to read this and all, because that would be a total spoiler) is literally off the wall crazy, and the queen is a giant bag o’ dicks. Although, the rebels are a bit rude as well.
Mare wants to find all the people in the kingdom like her, red blood but with silver powers, and she wants to do it before the crown kills them all. This is what the bulk of the book is about and her internal struggle with herself, how she is constantly worried that she’s doing the wrong thing. Also, he super awkward relationship with prince-boy, which is a bit cringe worthy only because they try to fight it SO MUCH, yet also don’t try to fight it at all, but always say things like “But I shouldn’t” and “I can feel betrayal in the future” but then go and do it anyways. Man it’s complicated. Granted, I guess any romance in this world would be hella complicated, so no fault there I suppose.
If I had to give this book a theme, it would be “betrayal”. Honestly there is no end to the twists this book slaps you in the face with. The whole time was basically me screaming “YOU BETRAYED?!” and then “AND YOU BETRAYED TOO?!” and wondering “WHO IS NEXT?! IS IT YOU?! IS EVERYONE GOING TO BETRAY ANYONE?! IS THERE ANY TRUTH?!” The answer is no, there is no truth at all. Lies, deceit, and slander are EVERYWHERE!! Which is fine in small doses, but this book felt like I was walking on a tightrope. I didn’t want to like anyone because I figured THEY WOULD BETRAY EVERYONE AND CRUSH MY HEART!! And man, that’s a tough way to go through a book, mistrusting everyone and every word, you feel me?
I still will read the third book though, and I don’t hate the series or anything, it’s interesting, even if I forgot nearly everything about the first book by the time I got around to reading the second one. It’s not a YA masterpiece series that I’d beg you to read while clinging to your leg, but it’s also not something that I’d tell you to avoid, at least not for now. We will have to see where the third book goes, which I feel is going to go someplace very dark considering where it left off. (I can imagine where it would go in the realm of fan fiction.) I worry about how it will end though, as endings can either make or break these kinds of series. I’m looking at you Hunger Games….hated how that series ended. I’m prepared to need to read the sparks notes again when the third book comes out to refresh my memory again, but I’ll be reading it through to completion!