It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
I feel as if I've waited so long for this book that I didn't want to read it when I got it in case I was disappointed! I know it sounds dumb and it took five days to pick it up and read it. Now as it is the script for a play, it is set out that way so there are no sweeping descriptions like in the Harry Potter books just a line or two about the changing scenes. It did take me a bit of time to get used to reading that style but once I got into the story I didn't really notice it that much.
I admit that in the first few 'chapters' I wasn't sure if I was going to like the story but once the quest began, I was totally swept up in it. It reminded me of the end of the film version of the Prisoner of Azkaban but more detailed and complex, yet I found it pretty easy to follow. A few people have said that they found the plot confusing but I had no problem with it at all. Once the story hits full pace it just steams along like a rollercoaster ride with non stop action and interest and I couldn't devour it quickly enough. I liked the idea of the quest and what happened in the aftermath.
OK this is the paragraph where I set out what the plot actually is-there are no big spoilers, just a general overview of what the story centres around. Harry Potter is struggling with his workload at the Ministry and his dissolving relationship with son Albus, who seems to resent having the famous Harry Potter for a dad. Albus himself feels useless as he doesn't measure up in any way and has only one real friend-Scorpius Malfoy. When Amos Diggory begs Harry to use the last remaining time turner to go back and save his son, Albus decides that he and his best friend will use it to save Cedric and right a wrong he blames his father for. When I realised that this was the plot I was so intrigued and the plot does centre around The Triwizard Tournament in book four. We get to see extended scenes from this time as the boys decide to stop Cedric winning to save him from Voldemort. There is a lot more happening than just that of course, as meddling with time has consequences the boys are unaware of.
Ok I think that is enough of the plot without telling you everything that happens! Lets switch back to the characters. There are high expectations on Albus to be like his father but he just can't seem to measure up. He and Scorpius are more like Neville Longbottom than their parents! Albus resents being a Potter and feels sorry for Amos, and is determined to make things better for him by saving Cedric. It is a lovely idea in theory but of course, the boys have no idea what they are actually doing so chaos is about to follow! I loved Scorpius Malfoy! He is such a sweet and kind boy, smart and funny, and totally dedicated to his best friend despite all that he is suffering personally. I see their friendship as a bromance and not as a gay relationship as other reviewers portray it. Boys should be able to hug their friends without being labelled in any way.
I've seen reviews that question why Harry is such a 'bad' parent to Albus and that it isn't true to his character from the books. Actually, I liked the portrayal. Harry never had a father to be there for him so it seems logical that when things get difficult, he struggles. His son James seems very like him and is easier to understand but Albus is totally different and Harry is unsure how to relate to him. I also liked that Harry was struggling to keep on top of his paperwork at work. When you remember back to his homework struggles, this seems to fit perfectly. Draco Malfoy is also struggling to throw off the stigma of death eater, and the slurs cast against his son, and I found him to be a very sympathetic character. Ron and Hermione are just the same as they always were! We see a few other favourite characters too which is great but you'll find out who they are as you go along.
There is one issue I had with the plot which I just did not take to and I was surprised that JK Rowling approved it. Gah I can't talk about it without spoilers though! Lets just say I did not believe it would ever have happened and if you've read the book you'll know what I'm referring to. Please do NOT talk about this openly in the comments section and ruin it for those who haven't read it! I just put aside my own opinion on this thing and enjoyed the rest of the story and I found it didn't greatly affect my overall opinion. For other readers, I suspect it may be a dealbreaker and I fully understand that.
My overall opinion of the book is that I enjoyed it so much! It was GREAT to see the characters again and I loved the idea of the boys quest and everything that occured on it. There were things to laugh at, exciting scenes, plot twists and a few bittersweet moments. This was always going to be compared to the JK Rowling books and it is hard to compare a screenplay fairly to that amazing series. My view is that the play writers did a pretty good job overall and delivered an exciting Harry Potterverse adventure. I will certainly reread it many times and enjoy it again. It has made me hope for more plays or stories in the future. Now my brain is thinking how great a film this could have been if circumstances were different or if it had been filmed last year. I know that sounds a bit cryptic but some of you might understand what I mean. And yes, I am going to buy the final screenplay copy when it is released to see what was changed. I just have to know!!!
I do recommend it for Harry Potter fans. Give it a try and make up your own mind about it.