When Harry Potter and the Cursed Child hit best-seller lists last week I expected that a lot of fans would be angry when they discovered it was a script rather than a novel.
It turns out that readers were less upset about the story format than the fact that they paid $15 to $18 for what was basically a rough draft of the story.
Cursed Child has been out for just under 24 hours, and it has already racked up nearly 400 reviews on Amazon.com, including 124 one- and 2-star reviews. With an average rating of 3.5 stars, over 30% of the reviewers have given the script book a negative review (the percentage is higher if you factor in the disappointed 3-star reviews).
At the time of writing this post, there are far more 1-star reviews than 3-star or 2-star reviews.
Here is a selection of the higher rated reviews:
- Plot holes that Hagrid could fit through and over-wrought writing. ... With the greatest deus ex machinas ever, polyjuice potion and a time turner, the writing team still wrote themselves into a corner and ended up ignoring the rules of the world they created.
- This script is being touted as "Book 8". Sadly, that's not what it is at all. JK ruined the characters by allowing someone else to "puppeteer" her characters which she slowly allowed to grow and thrive. It's proof that a "Book 9" won't be written, because she'll have to clean up what was essentially a ghost writer did to her characters.
- I think casual fans will really like this, but if you're a big Harry Potter fan it's very disappointing. Years of character development are thrown out the window, and the plot holes are more like craters. Overall the dialogue is poorly written, the characters are over to top, and the basis of the plot is beyond ridiculous.
- This play was not what i expecting. I want depth, i want character development, world building and an author who builds a story that captures my attention. This thing was none of them and I'm very disappointed in J.K. Rowling for even thinking this was acceptable. I've read fanfiction that had more depth in its first paragraph than the whole play had.
- Fully aware that it's a script, not a narrative, that's not the issue. The 'story' itself, the plot, reads like straight up bad fan fic. Voldemort had a daughter with Bellatrix? lol. Established characters act completely out of character... Cedric a death eater? Yeah, just not. Harry having suffered much abuse by his aunt and uncle tells his own child that he is unwanted? Just no. Time turners are used over and over to fix the past? Contrived and a kinda soulless fix to revisit dead characters. Will forever love all HP books, but not this story that feels like a money grab because we as fans will buy anything, even this convoluted mess.
I have not read the book myself, but the reviews make t sound like the first and biggest problem is that the Cursed Child wasn't written by Rowling at all, and so it lacked the expected Rowling touch. The reviews have given me the impression that fans will soon be denying that this book ever happened (just like that XKCD comic strip).
That may change when the final version of the script book is published later this year, but it remains to be seen whether this mess will be salvaged by JK Rowling in a later book. The Cursed Child story may be rewritten as the stage play is tweaked to work better before a live audience, but Rowling has said that there will be no ninth Harry Potter book.
"He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we're done. This is the next generation, you know," Rowling told Reuters. "So, I'm thrilled to see it realized so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now."
Some are taking that to mean that the series has ended, but a careful reading tells us that Rowling didn't say anything about the next generation, or the Harry's parent's generation. Rowling has left herself openings to write prequels or sequels - just not ones featuring Harry Potter.
Have you read the book? How would you have her fix it?