Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Harry Potter is a huge, huge part of my childhood. Coming back to this world nine years after Deathly Hallows came out, in the form of a new sequel play, I was, like pretty much everyone else, hyped up. Cursed Child doesn't quite live up to the hype, because of the often bizarre ways in which the characters have changed, but the twisty plot, especially by HP standards, helps make up for it.
Albus Severus Potter isn't his dad. He's unpopular, he's lonely (other than his friendship with Scorpius Malfoy - now that was fun to read!), he's a Slytherin (though that's really not such a bad thing - come on, I know a bunch of Slytherins, and they're cool people!), and he's forever stuck in Harry's shadow. His relationships with pretty much everyone are strained, until he finds himself going on a life-changing adventure. Though it's not the sort of adventure Harry would have gone on, finding himself thrown into impossible situations because the gods must be crazy. No, this adventure is much more in line with the phrase, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
For details, you'll have to read the script - there will be no spoilers. But let's just say this book takes inspiration less from the original seven novels and more from a classic 80s movie or three. You'll know it when you see it.
Like I said before, characters are the play's weakness. There are surprisingly few returning favorites, and many of those that do come back get a few moments that feel out of character, even taking into account nineteen years of aging post-Battle of Hogwarts. There's also one of the big twists, which comes across as a bit of the stuff of bad fanfic when the reveal happens. (I'm mostly talking about the big twist from the middle of Part II, not so much the highly disturbing one from the end of Part I - a big "holy $#*!" moment you'll not see coming anytime soon.)
However, for the sake of Albus and Scorpius (and, yes, older Draco Malfoy), and of course Harry himself, this play, whether you're lucky enough to watch it or you'll have to settle for reading this printed script, is not to be missed by any true Potterhead.
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