What’s Good This Month: August 2016

My favorite book this month was:

Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson (2016)
I didn’t totally love Wilson’s first series, and I also didn’t totally love the cover of this book, so I was kind of hesitant for a while. But it was awesome. One of the best middle grade fantasy novels I’ve read in quite a while, and it was also extremely unlike anything I’ve ever read. I can’t wait for the next one.

I also read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I liked it about as much as I thought I would, which was not very much, but I read it anyway because I kind of couldn’t not. The story picks up immediately after the Deathly Hallows epilogue, and I’ve spent the last eight years pretending that epilogue doesn’t exist, so I knew I’d have problems.
To be honest, though, what bugged me most was that Cursed Child felt a lot like fan fiction (and not even really good fan fiction). I think that’s mostly because the inciting incident for the whole thing seemed so totally random and implausible, even ridiculous–it’s not the kind of thing I expect to see in anything that’s (presumably) vetted by a whole team of people, much less in something that’s supposed to become part of the canon of one of the major literary universes of our time. So that led to a kind of silly plot and the whole story being very fluffy (especially compared to how dark the later books were); even when a lot was at stake, I didn’t feel like anything was at stake, really. It felt like it was written for eleven-year-olds again, rather than the twenty-to-thirty-somethings that the original audience now is.
(One positive I will mention is that I was very pleased with how Draco Malfoy was written. (His son, Scopius, is arguably the main character.) Based on the epilogue, I had very low expectations, but in all instances, he turned out almost exactly as I imagined a grown-up Draco would be. (Which is kind of ambiguous, if anyone wants to know.))
Now that it’s been a few weeks since I finished reading, I’m mostly ambivalent about the whole thing. Would I recommend Cursed Child to other readers? Probably only if they feel it’s necessary to complete their reading of all of Harry Potter. (Which was the case for me–I mean, I even read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is basically an encyclopedia, cover to cover when it came out. (I think I enjoyed Fantastic Beasts more than Cursed Child, too.)) But I wouldn’t recommend it just for the story, and I don’t think it really adds much to Harry Potter as a whole; it definitely didn’t change the way I think about or understand any of the previously-existing seven books. Maybe it’s more like a footnote–technically, officially, it is part of the whole, but it’s also totally fine to ignore it.

Anyone else read (or seen?!) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Thoughts? And what else have you enjoyed this month?


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