So, there are fans, and there are fanatics. I am a Harry Potter fanatic, sorted into the Ravenclaw and Wampus school houses on Pottermore, owner of a full set of robes and a wand I hand-carved. So when “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was announced, I freaked out and pre-ordered it.
Given all that, I will do my best to give an unbiased review.
To start off, this play/book assumes you’ve read (or at least watched) the rest of the Harry Potter series. Though it’s based on the next generation (kids of Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Draco), it keeps the grown up trio in a background focus. It has a theme of fame and rumors of parents affecting their kids, particularly Albus (Harry and Ginny’s middle child) and Scorpius (son of Draco Malfoy). The beginning of the play looks into the fear Albus Potter asks at the end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “What if I’m in Slytherin?” and then goes into a lot of “what if” ideas that were wondered throughout the series, such as “what if a time-turner was recreated?” or “what if minuscule moments were changed?” I’m really trying hard not to spoil anything here. 😛
These explorations and the change of format made the book feel like fan-fiction, unfortunately. Sure, it was created heavily (though not entirely) by JK Rowling, so you know everything is endorsed by her, but it doesn’t have the deep and magical descriptions of characters or settings. Also, there are slight contradictions to the rest of the series.
As for it being a script, I am very curious to see how it works on stage. Many of the scenes are quick and spells are cast with light and explosions. Also, a quick warning: just because it’s about a “cursed CHILD” doesn’t mean this play/book is meant for children. The main plot works as Albus, Scorpius, and Rose (Ron and Hermione’s daughter) are in their 4th year at Hogwarts, and the “darkness level” is about the same as the 4th book of Harry Potter.
In the end, I say it’s a very interesting addition to the Harry Potter library, but I’d also say it fits in the ‘Potter Canon’ as much as “Tales of Beedle the Bard.” ****3.5 stars***