I have been the biggest Harry Potter nerd for my entire life so, of course I went to the midnight release and enjoyed the festivities at Barnes & Nobles. Yet, nobody else in my school paper, The Inkblot, had read the book yet, and deadline was quickly approaching. Going on a limb, my friend told them I could write and to ask me if I’d be interested in writing the review. I nearly vomited from excitement at being picked out but also anxious to prove myself. With such kind editors and a great experience I was hooked, and come fall I joined the paper.
Nine years after the last Harry Potter novel was released, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” hit bookstores on July 31 at midnight as the official eighth book in the series. As any other super-fan, I spent six hours at the midnight release party before grabbing my pre-ordered script and forwent any sleep until I finished it front-to-back.
The new installment is the script of a play by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, but was “based on” an original new story by J.K. Rowling. The play takes off from the epilogue of the original Harry Potter series, found at the end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” as a final goodbye to the books.
The new book takes fans through the misadventures of Harry’s teenage son, Albus, as he finds himself struggling under the weight of his father’s shadow. It focuses on the new generation of Hogwarts students, fleshes out characters we met only briefly at the end of the series and also comes back to Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy as they find their way through parenthood and the aftermath of the Wizarding War.
The novel still holds the same magical feeling previously set up from Rowling’s universe although it can feel like a fan-fiction at points with over-dramatic turn of events. But from start to finish, it is a spell-binding read that captures readers with its diverse cast of personae and adventures that bring both new and old characters together for a thrilling ride.
Just like its seven predecessors, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is a story of friendship, misfits and growing up that hits long-time fans with tear-jerking waves of nostalgia, and invites new fans to experience the same magic that inspired a generation.