Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling – A Book/Script Review

I admit that I can typically get caught up in a moment, but Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is my new favorite Harry Potter story.  If you haven’t yet read it, I urge you to do so.

Of course, it must be clarified that while this is in book format, it is not actually a book.  It is the script to the play currently being performed in England and hopefully soon headed to a US theater near you.  So, as one would expect, it reads like a play, not a novel.

With that being said, though, I found the script format a breath of fresh air.  I don’t need any more paragraphs devoted to the sorting hat or the train station – the script takes us right to the heart of the matter.

That word–heart–is something this particular story has in droves.  Is is nineteen years after The Deathly Hallows.  Harry Potter is now an adult with children of his own.  His youngest son, Albus, does not quite find his legacy endearing.

Albus seems to be nothing like his father as he immediately befriends the son of Draco Malfoy and lands in the Slytherin House.  Yet, Harry does not quite seem like himself either, for when it comes to Albus and he, Harry is less than heroic.

This story became my new favorite Harry Potter tale because it shows us a deeply flawed, and relatable, Harry Potter.  Just as his earliest readers are now adults, he struggles with the very same issues we do, especially as parents.

Furthermore, the story is far more complex than I ever expected with relationships fraught in tension, difficult moments between children and parents, and even more potent experiences between friends than I imagined.  Harry Potter’s world and family are far from perfect, and, frankly, I found such conflict vastly interesting and fun.

In fact, the story itself is more ambitious than I believed it would be.  Beyond the very realistic problems each character faces with friends and family, the story itself delves into time travel and alternate realities which allows for old favorites to reappear in logical, if not permanent, ways.

Nothing unfolds the way you would assume in The Cursed Child.  Harry is not the perfect father, nor is Albus the perfect son.  Unlikely friendships are forged even as difficult sacrifices must be both accepted and allowed.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a complex, mature tale firmly rooted in the realty of family life even as it breaks new ground in the realm of fantasy.  It is funny, exciting, heart-breaking, adventurous, and emotionally authentic.  I loved the script and I can’t wait to see the play.

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5 Quotes That Prove I’m In an Unhealthy Relationship With Jay Cutler

  • “People just don’t understand him.”
  • “He’s under a lot of pressure.”
  • “He may not show it, but he really does care.”
  • “He’s got so much potential, he just needs time to find himself.”
  • “It’s going to be different this time.”

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(Did you enjoy this article?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

 

Black Magick (Volume One) by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott – A Book Review

Black Magick kept earning all sorts of praise so I finally got a copy of the first volume entitled Awakening.  The premise is that Rowan Black is a tough-as-nails detective by day and a witch by night.  Not the flying on the broom kind, but rather the sort who communes with nature and is able to tap into realities beyond normal human understanding.

Greg Rucka is an above average writer who particularly excels at crisp dialogue that often progresses a story line logically and engagingly.  He has created a cast of well-rounded characters that will surely become even more interesting as the series continues.

Nicola Scott is a phenomenal artist with a superb grip on anatomy and, like Rucka, knows how to pace her drawings to always move the story forward fluidly and fetchingly.  Her colors are also subtle yet they set the tone magnificently in more hues of grey than I thought possible.

But even with all that being said I can’t say Black Magick particularly captured my interest.  I’m not excited to read the next installment and really don’t find myself all that invested in Rowan Black’s ensuing tale.

That’s not to say you won’t like it, though.  If hard-nosed detective stories with a dash of the supernatural are your thing, you may very well enjoy it.  After all, Black Magick features the work of two of the best in the industry.

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Star Wars: Rebel Jail (Volume 3) – A Book Review

Marvel Comics’ Star Wars continues to thrill with the third installment entitled Rebel Jail.  The premise is that Princess Leia and Han Solo’s former flame, Sana Starros, must deliver Dr. Aphra to a secret prison run by the Rebels.  If you’re unfamiliar with Dr. Aprha, she is a breakout character from the Darth Vader series and a fan favorite.  However, while at the prison, an assassin arrives with his own killer droid unit.  He’s not there to break anyone out, though.  Quite the opposite.

This volume is very interesting because it begins with a standalone story featuring a Rebel spy deeply embedded within the Empire who comes face-to-face with the Emperor himself.  The core of the book then features Leia and Sana, who must team up with Dr. Aphra as they deal with the crisis at the Rebel prison.  A subplot also exists featuring Han and Luke that finally reveals why Leia likes to refer to Han as a “nerf herder.”  Finally, the last component stars the always-charming Obi-Wan Kenobi during his time on Tatooine while looking over a young Luke.  

This volume is incredibly fast-paced with on-the-spot characterization and a great mix of humor, action, and epic fantasy.  Dr. Aphra and Sana Starros are perfect additions to the Star Wars mythology, and this book offers them a real opportunity to shine along Princess Leia’s side.

You can’t miss with this series and the current volume continues a masterful standard.

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Barkskins by Annie Proulx – A Book Review

Though I adore Annie Proulx’s work and count her among my favorite authors, Barkskins did not engage me as much as her previous books.

That’s not to say it’s not worthy of praise.  It’s magnificently written.  It’s also intricately detailed.  To declare it as epic may be an understatement considering it follows several generations of two men’s families from the 1700s to present day.  It pays an astounding amount of attention to historical fact, the trends and science of deforestation and reforestation, as well as various cultural customs spanning several centuries.

Honestly, I felt like I’d lived several lives by the end of this book, and it taught me much about how difficult surviving in this country proved to be for both Native Americans and the various early explorers, invaders, and settlers.  After all, nearly every character meets with a difficult end in this novel.  It also made me think about my own family history, as well as what the future may hold for my descendants.

So why didn’t I like it as much as Proulx’s other work?  I suppose I found it a little dense and slow.  Furthermore, part of what made it brilliant is part of why I didn’t find myself engaged – there are a lot of characters.  Too many characters, actually.  Six or seven of them I found captivating, but many of the rest were difficult to track and I lost interest in their particular stories.

Frankly, I may not have been in the right frame of mind for a book so demanding of my time and attention.  Perhaps I should revisit it in the summer when things are a little slower and I can give it more consideration (and possibly take notes).

As expected, Proulx has delivered a masterfully written book full of such passionate detail and historical authenticity that it’s hard not to appreciate its many positives.  In the end, though, I simply found it too long with too many characters that did not consistently hold my interest.

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