Book Review: “Cursed Child” by J.K. Rowling

Book Review Star
Book Review Star
Book Review Star
Book Review Star
Book Review Star

I’ve taken a couple of days since finishing Cursed Child to write my thoughts. It’s one of those books that I just didn’t know how to feel once it was over.

Disclaimer: I approached Cursed Child as a separate entity from the rest of the Harry Potter series. If you read Cursed Child thinking of it as the eighth Harry Potter book, you will likely be disappointed. Let us all remember that this is a play by Jack Thorne, based on a new story by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, and J.K. Rowling. Rowling did not solely write this play.

Cursed ChildCursed Child the play made its world debut in London, England on July 30, 2016. Miraculously (or perhaps not, given the wonderful nature of Harry Potter fans) I did not get spoiled for Cursed Child.

If you can think of this book as a separate thing from the Harry Potter series, it is a really nice return to the wizarding world. 19+ years later, and we’re welcomed back into Harry’s life. We see the return of familiar characters like Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Draco. We meet new characters, like Harry and Ginny’s children, Ron and Hermione’s children, and Draco’s child.

** Spoilers ahead. **

After jumping into reviews of Cursed Child, I quickly found that many loyal Harry Potter fans are, quite frankly, pissed. How can they call this play the eighth Harry Potter book? This is such a departure from the Harry Potter narrative and voice, how can this even be considered a part of that series?

I rated Cursed Child five stars, but I have to agree: this should not be considered a part of the Harry Potter series. This is too far a departure from the novelization of Harry’s story to be justified as a part of the series. Once you can accept that, it’s actually a really nice read.

Obviously I can’t talk about everything, but some highlights…

Things I Didn’t Like About Cursed Child:

  • The only thing I really didn’t like about Cursed Child is the shift in character. I’ve seen this come up a lot in other reviews as well. There are just certain snippets of dialogue in the play that really didn’t ring true for our beloved characters. Particularly, I found that Ron’s character was a huge departure from the Ron of the books. Even with a 19+ year time-gap, this isn’t the Ron we know and love. He couldn’t have even grown into this person. I just don’t see it.
  • I’m not sure that the fate of Voldemort could rest so heavily on Cedric Diggory’s shoulders, nor am I sure that Cedric’s merely being humiliated would lead him to turn in such a monumental way.

Things I Did Like About Cursed Child:

  • I loved the bits that, I’m sure, J.K. Rowling had her hand in. The idea of Voldemort having a child (!!!) was a really pleasant plot surprise. I also really like that Draco’s son was suspected of being said child.
  • Another plot twist I loved is that Albus Severus Potter is in Slytherin. Harry was almost in Slytherin, but begged to be put into any other house. Albus might have done the same, if he hadn’t quickly made a friend out of Scorpius Malfoy.
  • Bringing back time travel was also a clever plot idea. I hadn’t even thought of Time Turners after the Battle of Hogwarts. What a fantastic way into another possible outcome. Of course the Ministry would want to rid the world of all Time Turners! How could I not have seen that?
  • When Albus, Scorpius, and Delphi take Polyjuice Potion and enter the Ministry, I have major flashbacks to Deathly Hallows, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione enter the Ministry looking for Umbridge. Albus is more like his father than he thinks.

Things I’m Still Confused About:

  • What the hell happened to Delphi in the end? Did I miss something? She just floated away? I need to know that she was dealt with!

I could likely go on forever about Cursed Child. It would be really easy to say that this book doesn’t live up to the expectation; that it isn’t as good as the rest, and therefore I’m not pleased. However, this is a gift. J.K. Rowling has given us the gift of 19+ years later, and we should all be grateful.

I guess my point, here, is this: in no universe should anyone be complaining about this book, because this book has brought us Harry Potter back. I will take J.K. Rowling’s world in any form she so desires to hand us. We’re this lucky. Be thankful.

My full review of J.K. Rowling’s Cursed Child is also available on Goodreads. Have you read Cursed Child? Please leave a comment below (spoiler free)!

Bree Crowder is a writer of dark and strange tales, and a freelance editor. She holds a B.A. in English, a graduate certificate in Creative Writing, and an M.A. in Creative & Critical Writing. Writing, reading, photography, and travel are a few of her favourite things.

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