Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

39 - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Rating – 4*

Advanced warning, while I will try and be as spoiler free as possible I can’t promise that will be the case. So, if you don’t want to have The Cursed Child spoiled for you, run now and come back when you’ve read it so we can discuss it. Now that warning is over, I’m going to start.

A quick disclaimer: I was very sceptical about this. I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. I was pretty convinced I would hate it actually. From spoilers I stumbled upon, I was pretty certain I’d read better fanfiction and while that sentiment does hold true, it doesn’t take away the magic of this book in any way. It is incredible. I went to the midnight release, I was sad that some muggle outbid me on eBay for some robes, but I had fun anyway. Harry Potter just brings some of the most amazing people together, and it was an incredible 2 hours. Harry Potter is my childhood, I feel like I am part of something and sharing that joy with others for just a few short hours gave me the warm fuzzies.

Now, this picks up exactly where Deathly Hallows left off – with some overlap. We start in the familiar scene of Platform 9 and 3/4, Harry, Ginny and the kids waiting to send Albus off for his first year. We follow Albus and Rose on to the train and, like their parents, they want to meet a friend for life. This is when we meet Scorpius, and I fell a little in love with this little Snake on his first line. He is just precious and he remains that way throughout. We follow them to Hogwarts, and as is expected, both Scorpius and Albus are sorted in to Slytherin – and immediately Albus faces the repercussions of this. Fast forwarding a little bit, we end up in their 4th year, and the relationship between Albus and Harry is tumultuous – Albus doesn’t fit with the family, is most definitely a black sheep. Without giving too many details away, Albus and Scorpius end up travelling through time, back to the Triwizard Tournament, in an effort to save the life of Cedric Diggory. This is pressured by a young witch calling herself Delphi Diggory, who isn’t all what she seems. Needless to say, this doesn’t go very well!

We end up in several timelines and I loved, loved this. It is contrived, it is convoluted, and it is extremely messy, but I can imagine how incredible it is to watch and it does sort of work. The first is a bit of a dud, but then we end up in a timeline where the dark won, Albus doesn’t exist and the wonderful Scorpius has to figure out how to fix it on his own and get his best friend back. This resulted in what I found to be one of the most powerful moments of the entire script, and that was the appearance of Severus Snape. It was bittersweet, and heartbreaking for me personally, as Snape will always be Alan Rickman in my heart and the thought that there is someone else out there, being him made me pause for a moment. It doesn’t take away from the importance of his role because, once again, he plays the hero and it’s glorious.

I don’t want to say too much more, but how it pans out from that point is a little heartbreaking. Scorpius saves Albus, but they get thrown in the past again and this time without a way to get home – Delphi reveals her true identity and it all goes to hell until Scorpius and Albus, between them, have a genius idea. It reaches it’s peak in Godric’s Hollow, with the Potters, the Granger-Weasley’s, and Draco fighting to preserve the timelines. And it was powerful, contrived, but powerful.

At the end of it all, I’m not sure who the Cursed Child actually is – it could be Albus, Scorpius or Delphi. Each of them is cursed in their own way; all living up to their fathers legacies.

There were a few things I wish could have happened – cannon LGBT being one of the things. Reading this, I could see Albus and Scorpius being an incredible couple and it is just so, so frustrating that this is disgustingly hetronormatitive and completely ignores the blatant written chemistry between the two of them. It wouldn’t have to be explicit, but it could have definitely been something that was there. Also, it would have been an opportunity for JKR to make Dumbledore’s sexuality cannon – but not even a squeak about that.

All that aside,I loved this, and really hope I get the opportunity to see it in the West End in the not so distant future. Honestly, I went in to this with very low expectations but come the end of it I was pleasantly surprised. A few things disappointed me, quite significantly, but those aside this was a really interesting take on something I love so much. I would encourage every Potter fan to give this a go because you don’t have to be a genius to understand this script – knowing the characters and the world make it so much easier to follow.

Overall, I gave this 4* because it was a bit cheesy and contrived but I loved it anyway.

Review: The Muse – Jessie Burton

37 - The Muse

Rating – 3*

Number one, this book is beautifully designed. It is gorgeous. Noone can escape that. It doesn’t really cover much of what is on the inside but it’s beautiful nonetheless. Anyway, this book is beautiful inside and out, and I feel bad giving it a 3* review, but while the premise was amazing, and Jessie Burton can really tell a story, I just didn’t find myself as invested in this as I wanted to be.

There’s no denying it, this is an ambitious book. There were a lot of characters, and a plot that spanned decades. Odelle, our primary protagonist, was fantastic; Trinidadian born she and her friend have come to London to make a better life for themselves. She, a typist, eventually finds a job with a Miss Marjorie Quick at The Skelton Institute of art. At her friends wedding, Odelle meets a man who has a painting which needs an appraisal, so he finds her and that’s when we get the story behind the story. The story of the painting, which takes us back in time to Spain on the brink of the Civil War, and our protagonist there is Olive. The story alternates between Odelle’s experiences as an immigrant in London, trying to make her way in a world where her skin colour presents huge challenges and Olive’s story in Spain in, where most of the action takes place.

Don’t get me wrong, this book is masterful in parallels between our protagonists, Odelle and Olive. The writing is beautiful, the imagery is amazing and yeah, I loved so much of this story but, there were just too many unanswered questions and open ends for me, and I found that very unsatisfying. In parts it felt disjointed, and jumpy. I would have liked for it to maybe have slowed down in parts, and sped up in others. For me, the pace was all wrong but that’s a very personal thing. I’d liked to have known for certain what the deal was with Marjorie, and if she was who Odelle thought her to be.

All that being said, Jessie Burton in this book has proved herself to be an incredible writer. Her characters are well developed, her writing is elegant and flows beautifully, and her ability to capture human emotion is second to none. The only downfall for this, in my opinion, is the pacing and in some respects the plot. So yes, a happy 3*, bordering on 4 and I will definitely be picking up her next book!

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