“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”
Read in August 2016
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
You guys have no idea how long and how fiercely I’ve been longing for another Harry Potter related book. Anything, even the slightest information, kept me needing it even more. I thought that I missed those books, but I only now realize how much.
However it took me one full week before having the courage to really start this book, I was so scared it would ruin the opinion I have on Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling in general.
RON: Nothing scares me. Apart from Mum.
/!\ This review will hold massive spoilers (along with incoherent thoughts), and I think that it’s a book that needs to be started without any expectations nor any heads up, so if you haven’t read it yet, come back later, I’d be pleased to share with you.
The hardest thing I have to do now that I’ve finished this book is to rate it. It doesn’t seem to fit anywhere. Some parts were amazing, some were extremely disappointing (and some even both at the same time), but still, it’s JKR material, and moreover, Harry Potter is not even rated on the same scale than any other book. They are way above. On a bigger scale. So I guess the question is “Do I want to rate this book by Harry Potter standard or not?” If I do, to be honest, the rating would be around 5/10 (the other seven books being at 11+/10) and if I treat this book on the “normal rating scale” it is more of a 6/10.
HAGRID: Hello, Harry Potter. I’m Rubeus Hagrid. And I’m gonna be yer friend whether yeh like it or not .
The feels I had right after reading the first page were something I never experienced before. I guess it is what I would feel like looking at my grand-children being teenagers and thinking that even after all this time, they will make me think about how they look like me when I was their age. This half-bittersweet, half-proud, half-relieve feeling. As unknown and new and scary as it could be, somehow it will feel familiar deep down. (Do I make any sense? Do I need to?)
☼ The writing:
Let’s first discuss the format of this book, shall we? I was really bugged that this book is the script of the play. It takes me out of my comfort zone in two ways; first I’m not really used to read plays, even less in English this is actually my second one. Moreover, it is not the way Harry Potter books are supposed to be written, at least not to me.
GINNY: I can forgive you for one mistake Harry, maybe even two, but the more mistakes you make, the harder to forgive you it becomes.
It had advantages and drawbacks: I like that they were not too many details setting the world and the characters’ past, it would have bored me to have them explain things that seemed obvious to me. This book is the exact following of book 7’s epilogue and this book has no function on his own. It has to be read AFTER the series. BUT the plays made me feel like actions were too fast and kind of blurry, I would have liked to have more insight into the characters thoughts.
☼ The plot & characters:
It all starts where it ended 10 years ago, the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, KING’S CROSS STATION, PLATFORM 9 3/4, when Albus Severus Potter looks up to his father fearing to be sorted as Slytherin. And he inevitably he is. And he becomes best friend with Scorpius Malfoy, son of Drago, also sorted to the same house.
Those two characters ally with Delphi, Amos Diggory’s niece, to go back in time and try to save Cedric from his death during the Triwizard Tournament. Those three are the main three characters of this instalment, and the made me feel a lot of contradictory feelings. Scorpius was the best of them, I loved him really, he was funny and brave and awkward and touching. The perfect combination. He is really lonely because of rumours that Draco couldn’t have a child and that his wife used the time turner to get pregnant of Lord Voldemort, and that Scorpius himself would be the result of this union. He really is a pariah and I loved how Albus immediately felt connected with him. And yes this is the only thing I liked about Albus. He was otherwise obnoxious, disrespectful toward his father, reckless and full of anger. I admit that for a while I even thought that somehow HE was Voldemort hidden son.
Both had a lot in common, they especially had trouble dealing with others’ expectations. Albus has a famous “saviour” father and thinks he has to live up to it, and Scorpio has a really powerful, pure-blooded and dark family from which, everyone assumes, he will follow the steps. Both of them are not really good at school, nor popular (quite on the contrary even) and they stick together against the world.
In the first parts of the book, I also thought that those three were going to be a trio in some way like Harry/Ron/Hermione and James/Sirius/Remus. But I then realized that Delphi is a grown-up! Who lets children get into that kind of danger? I didn’t like her as soon as I realized she was supposed to adult.
Concerning the characters from the previous books, the nicest surprise is Drago Malfoy. I didn’t like him before but here we can actually see him as a character who makes his own choices have opinion and grief. And also he is so sassy, it was the highlight of this book.
DRACO: I don’t care what you did or who you saved, you are a constant curse on my family, Harry Potter.
As for our Quatuor, I have to say I didn’t really recognize them. They probably changed during those 19 years since the Battle of Hogwarts, and it makes sense, I know, but still, it bugged me. I didn’t recognize Harry at all, it was the worst of them, I didn’t understand him, I didn’t connect with him. Hermione and Ron had some similarities with who they used to be, but Harry had really none. And we don’t know a lot about Ginny in the books before, so once again I feel like I am reading about friends that I know nothing about anymore. Hermione seemed bossy and self-sufficient, and Ron seemed quite… sad(?) I can’t explain why I felt that but he lost the spark I loved about him. And we don’t see enough Neville and not Molly at all. I would have loved to see her as a granny.
☼ What I loved the most:
Hiding this section because the previous part was spoiler-ish, now it is pure “telling the story with its facts”
SNAAAAAPE! This book has Snape!!!! J.K. Rowling couldn’t have made me a greater surprise. This part was really the icing on the cake. After going back in time a second time and humiliating Cedric to make him lose the Second Task, Scorpius comes back to present but Albus is not here. This humiliation made Cedric become a Death Eater. (Not really coherent in my opinion). This alternate reality presents how things could have happened if Voldemort won – a question I asked myself a lot while growing up, and Harry being dead, Albus couldn’t exist in this reality. And HERE my friends is what makes me believe even more to the Neville theory (click here to see my review about him) because there has been only ONE change during the war that made Voldemort win:
SNAPE: Cedric Diggory killed only one wizard and not a significant one – Neville Longbottom.
I adored the characters in this alternate reality. Snape who at first joined the army for Lily and then Harry ended up believing in it after all. Badass Hermione is a wanted criminal and with Ron (as friends) they do what they can to stop Voldemort. And this is what’s left of Dumbledore’s Army, those three faithful pals.
I loved the part when Scorpius tells HIS reality to Hermione and Ron. I’ve never been a shipper for them two, but this is when I realized that when they weren’t together, things were odd, not like they were supposed to be, it didn’t feel right. But then, the tears started.
HERMIONE: “And — Snape? What does Snape do in this other world?”
SNAPE: “I’m dead, presumably. […] You were a little too surprised to see me. How?”
SNAPE: “How very irritating. … Still, there’s glory in being taken down by the Dark Lord himself, I suppose.”
HERMIONE: “I’m sorry, Severus.”
SNAPE: “Well, at least I’m not married to [Ron].”
I mean, this is the first time we can see Snape as part of the “good ones” and it is refreshing. I didn’t love him back then, because he was more mean than good in my reading mind, but now, he made things right. And he dies again. And then more tears.
SCORPIUS: Thank you for being my light in the darkness.
SNAPE looks at him, every inch a hero, he softly smiles.
SNAPE: Tell Albus – tell Albus Severus – I’m proud he carries my name.
So yeah, a lot of tears, a lot of feelings, a lot of disappointment also, and a not-so-sure rating, this is where I’m at. I think this is an experience that has to be made, and I think that I don’t regret reading this and that it didn’t mess my love for Harry Potter.
I definitely want to go to see the play, I think it would take the experience further and that would be enjoyable
Have you read this book? What did you think about it?