The wait is over. The time is finally now upon us muggles to don our cloaks, ready our wands, hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and embark on the next magical adventure in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We love the here at Book People, and so we decided we should put together a review (a spoiler-free review!!!) of the exciting new chapter of the best-loved series.
The first Harry Potter story since 2007's amazing, heart-breaking, thrilling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes readers by the hand and dives straight back into the Wizarding World we all know and love, 19 years later. While not a novel (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the script for the West End stage play written by Jack Thorne), the book acts in a way like the eighth part of the Harry Potter series but with cross-medium appeal, enabling both fans of the films or books (or both!) to join in the magic and enjoy it with equal awe and wonder.
For the first few pages it really would have been useful to have had some kind of 'get your head around anything' potion from Professor Slughorn - if you're a fan of the books (like we are), the script formatting really does take a few pages to get used to. That being said, once you've gone through a few pages and taken in some of Thorne's hypnotically poetic stage directions, you really do feel like you're zipping through pages of Rowling's story-led prose.
While this review is spoiler-free, we will have to go over some of the plot points a little. If you don't want to know anything regarding the plot to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, skip this section and scroll down to the 'it's safe, you can look now!' section below...
The story begins right where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows epilogue left off - with Harry and Ginny saying goodbye to their son Albus at Platform 9 ¾. Albus soon meets the son of his father's old school foe Draco Malfoy, Scorpius, and the pair strike up a friendship. This friendship, forged in part by the pair wanting to escape the shadow of their famous parents, is played out against the backdrop of magic and mystery we have all come to love - with a refreshing twist of time travel thrown in for good measure.
Harry Potter's son, Albus, wants to right one of Harry's failures by going back in time to save Cedric Diggory from being murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort, played out in the fourth Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. But in doing so, Albus and Scorpius trigger a sequence of calamitous alternate realities which puts the lives of everyone they know and love in jeopardy.
It's safe, you can look now!
Right, back to reviewing the book - we won't discuss the plot at all now, promise!!!
If you're not familiar with the original books, or at least the characters from the Harry Potter films, you might struggle reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Though, if you haven't read them, you can catch up by binge reading through the Complete Harry Potter Collection and save £30 off RRP. There are no recaps at all, so we definitely recommend you read all the stories before you embark on the Boy Who Lived's next adventure.
If you are familiar with the Harry Potter stories already, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a delightful combination of witty dialogue and pacy storytelling which really feels as though it's not only following on from but resurrecting J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter stories.
If you haven't seen the show, the first thing we'll say is that you really, REALLY should. The most successful thing about it, apart from bringing the Harry Potter stories to the stage, is the spellbinding stage effects. And seeing these effects in the flesh will better prepare readers for envisioning how the spells looks and what transforming objects look like: stage directions do not a novel make. Though, like we said, Jack Thorne's stage directions are no ordinary stage directions...
While it might not satisfy all fans (the time travel element in particular is a huge departure from the mythology of the original Harry Potter books), the climax of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is as touching, brutal and crushing, yet all the while thoroughly moving and ultimately tender as J.K. Rowling's original Harry Potter novels. We definitely recommend reading it; there is no magic like the magic of Harry Potter!