Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 and 2 by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Not every element lands perfectly, but the story works far more often than it fails, and proves to be just as exciting as the earlier stories.

🖋 🖋🖋🖋 The plot successfully balances elements from the novel series with a new generation of characters. The book isn’t written solely by Rowling, and being a play, it has some farcical elements that wouldn’t work in a novel, but it still captures the books’ tone.

Published July 31, 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books

ISBN: 9781338099133

Genre: Fantasy, Theatre Play

🔪🔪🔪🔪 Fantasy violence sequences happen throughout the story, none of them bloody, but sometimes shocking.

Nineteen years have passed since Harry Potter and his friends saved the wizarding world from the evilest sorcerer in history. However, Harry and his wife Ginny have to face the fact that saving the world doesn’t make them cool to their kids – in fact, a famous legacy can be a handicap. When their middle son Albus goes off to Hogwarts and befriends Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius, it seems like life has no more surprises. Then Albus and his friends discover time travel secrets that could allow them to save people that their parents couldn’t help. Reality itself is about to change in ways that the Potters would never expect…

Writing a sequel to a well-loved series is never easy – especially when the series told a complex story about a prophesied hero changing his world. In this case, the time travel elements let the writers “have it both ways.” They can reference great moments from the books, while generating new insights about the past that make the concept more than a retread. Like David Eddings’ The Malloreon (a sequel series to his fantasy epic The Belgariad), there are plot twists that cast doubt on what’s come before. Much like Eddings, these twists are clever but don’t completely work – it’s hard to write a fantasy epic that asks big questions, resolves them, then wrenches them open again. In the forced moments, this book feels less like Harry Potter, more like Doctor Who.

However, even when the twists feel forced, the characters are interesting enough that it’s worth seeing them to the end. Harry and his pals are older but no less fascinating, and their adult struggles feel genuine. Harry’s parenting concerns particularly take fans into unexpected territory: the novels talked a lot about his mother, less about his father. As he painfully finds out, being a legendary wizard doesn’t make up for the fact that he is a father with no example to follow. Albus Potter and his Hogwarts friends are equally interesting, especially when their struggles link them to their parents in unexpected ways. Some of them find that they’re more like their parents than they would ever admit. Others have to live down the consequences of their parents’ choices, pain maturing them before their years.

While it has its rough edges, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child captures that thing which made the Harry Potter novels so good. It combines fast-flying adventure with interesting character drama. It introduces plot twists that couldn’t be predicted but make perfect sense in hindsight. The play script format makes it different from reading a novel, but no less exciting.

Reviewed by G. Connor Salter

G. Connor Salter is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer and storyteller. His short story series “Tapes from the Crawlspace” is available to watch on YouTube, as are various pieces published by Tall Tale TV. He has published over 300 book reviews in publications like Aphotic Realm and The Waynesdale News. He will read anything once, but prefers thrillers, fantasy and horror.