“I really hope Ms Rowling reconsiders and turns this into a real novel. For me, this just wasn’t enough.”
I’ve been a huge fan of the Harry Potter series ever since I first started reading the books and the ending of the last one appeared to me to leave it wide open for Ms Rowling to continue with the next generation of Potters whenever she wanted to. I must admit I did hope she would, as even the intriguing snippet we were given back then had me wishing to read more.
However, I never imagined the story would continue in the form of a play.
When I bought Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I didn’t realise it was printed as a play – I had, perhaps stupidly, thought it would be changed into a novel for its release in book form and was therefore rather disappointed when I opened it up and saw “Act 1 Scene 1”. I’ve never enjoyed reading plays – they were obviously meant to be seen, not read – and the cues for the actors and so on are very distracting for the reader. And quite frankly, I can’t understand why the story was printed this way?!?
It felt to me as though I was being short-changed or cheated somehow. Ms Rowling had put together a story, then left it in the hands of others to be turned into a play. Did she not have the time or inclination to write a proper novel with this material? And if so, why not? It would have made for a cracking story and a worthy instalment in the HP series, but as it is, I’m afraid it doesn’t cut it.
The plot itself has great potential and it was wonderful to meet Harry and everyone else as grown-ups and see what had become of them. It was even better to meet the new generation of Hogwarts students (although very few of them actually feature in the story by name and hardly any of them are given more than a sketchy character outline). I loved Albus Severus Potter – a prickly, lost, troubled boy, but one you immediately empathise with – and I absolutely adored his best friend Scorpius Malfoy! The way the characters were almost reversed from the previous generation was brilliant, as was the fact that these two gelled right from the start.
The returning danger from Voldemort felt real, as did the way this manifested itself (I don’t want to do any spoilers, but it was good), but there could have been so much more to this story!
I missed the daily life at Hogwarts – we only get glimpses of Albus and Scorpius there – and I missed the humour of characters like Hagrid, Snape and the Dursleys. I missed finding out new spells and exciting magic as most of what was used had been done before. We don’t even get to find out whether Albus masters riding a broom and what type of wand he has. Tiny details, perhaps, but details that gave the original stories that ‘special’ feeling.
This is a very difficult review to write – I so wanted to like this book, and I did like the story, but I ended up feeling as though it was just another part of the HP merchandising machine. Something that the publisher and/or author were giving readers to stop them clamouring for more for a while and keep the HP momentum going. Personally I would rather have a ‘proper’ HP book than something half-baked and I really hope Ms Rowling reconsiders and turns this into a real novel. For me, this just wasn’t enough.
Pia Fenton writes contemporary romantic YA stories and her Northbrooke High series features UK heroines clashing with US heroes in an American high school setting. The fourth one in the series – New England Dreams – is out now!