Let me start of by saying that in my opinion there are roughly three kinds of Harry Potter fans:
1) Apologists: people who find everything the Harry Potter Universe name is connected to is awesome no matter the quality.
2) Analysts: those who consume every new tidbit of information and analyze how it fits into the already known canon. Critical but loving of the universe.
3) Casuals: read the books and saw the movies but enjoy it as a piece of entertainment instead of an important part of their lives.
I’m with the second group with some tendencies of the first with characters I love. Bear with me as I try to take you into the pages of the newly released playbook with very mild spoilers that do not touch on the plot.
The book mostly focuses on two characters: The infamously named Albus Severus Potter, and Scorpius ‘Scorpion King’ Malfoy. Albus, with the broody tendencies we’ve come to know from Harry, doesn’t enjoy Hogwarts at all (I know right, already very unbelievable). Being the son of the famous Mr. Potter brings attention he doesn’t want and his only light in all this teenager darkness is his friendship with the adorable, geeky, and bookish Scorpius Malfoy.
Well this all sounds simple enough right? So why not make things a lot more complicated. Mild spoilers about story elements upcoming, but no plot points and twists I promise, because a review is impossible without mentioning this: Time-turners are back people, and they are here to shake things up!
We are introduced to a new character, Delphi. With Albus, being the teenager he is, he wants to help this pretty girl make some things right. This is perfect for him because it’s also a really good way to defy his father’s wishes which seems to be his main objective in life. Of course, his best buddy Scorpius comes along and they get into a lot of exciting shenanigans.
Got you interested? Good! Because it is a fun read that will take between about 4 and 6 hours to complete depending on reading speed; so not a big commitment. To go in prepared I will take you through some of the good and some of the bad without spoiling the plot.
There are some amazing characters! For or example: I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Scorpius who is the kindest soul in the most dire circumstances. Ginny is absolute bad ass, as she was foreshadowed to be in the books. Draco is also fantastic, as you get to experience all the different sides to his character.
This story contains a lot of fan service, and this is where I am a bit of an apologist. I loved most of those parts! Sure some of it was hard to believe, but there were things I wanted to hear and read desperately, even if it is a few years late. It takes place in the magical world we’ve come to love and miss. Magic in the form of spells and supernatural objects is still there.
It is not a regular novel. Now that takes some getting used to since setting the scene doesn’t happen in conversations or in what characters experience. Moods and pauses are literally described which may seem even comical at times. The plot is thin at best and reads as a guilty pleasure fan fiction in certain scenes. Over the top, unnecessary moments that the play could have done without are present, taking place of moments where the plot could have gotten a bit deeper.
There are a lot of discrepancies from the book canon. From very little things like someone who is balding in the books and now suddenly has a full ponytail in the play. But also, very big things, like the way something established with rules in the novels is re-invented in a way that is headache inducing. It feels out of place, and stands on shaky ground when it felt perfectly fine before. Character development and identities from the books are in some cases being ignored. Saying or doing things they never would no matter in what circumstances.
So you’ve made your way through (or did you skip to see the rating)! If you belong to any of the above mentioned fan groups please buy and enjoy the book. As it is looking now, getting tickets to the play is hard and so far they have only announced they are coming to the USA some time in the future; how many shows and where we can only speculate. Not everything will get to see it in all its glory and you will get spoiled since this is the Internet. No it isn’t the second coming, but it certainly isn’t a failure either. Get into it with a light heart and not too high expectations and you’ll find you are sad when you finish.
Verdict – Buy
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