Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book review: A 10-year-old speed-reader gives his verdict on the scripts

'It’s a really good story. It’s a very complicated story'

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The Independent Culture

It’s finally here: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth (and final?) part of the Harry Potter saga has been released worldwide for fans to enjoy.

Within an hour, the very first review was up, in thanks to 10-year-old speed-reader Toby L’Estrange, who finished the book in 59 minutes and awarded it six out of ten.

His main criticism focuses on the lack of time with each character, saying most scenes are quite short while also pointing out the storyline is confusing at times and requires knowledge of the previous Harry Potter installments.

However, he concludes that, once things get going, it “was a really good story”, just a little complicated at times.

Read the full review below thanks to Amazon.

10-year-old speed-reader Toby L’Estrange's review of The Cursed Child

Phew. Just finished speed reading the new Harry Potter book. My score on a scale of 1-10? I think it’s a 6. My favourite is still Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – it had lots of fun challenges and you got the best glimpse of Hogwarts).This one’s a bit different from all the others.

Firstly it’s the script for a play, so it’s quite different from reading a novel. The whole story is told through what the characters say to each other – plus some stage directions. But once you get over that, you read it just the same as the others – except the play is in two parts, so the book is too.

Secondly Harry and the others are grown ups which is a bit weird. And they’ve got children. So the story is a mixture of grown ups we sort of know, plus children we don’t know, in Hogwarts which we know well (but now Neville Longbottom is a professor of herbology at the school – Hagrid’s still there – and the head is now Prof McGonagall.

I’m not giving anything away (because JK Rowling introduced all these characters at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) by telling you that the story is about Harry and Ginny’s children, Albus, James and Lily – but Lily’s too young to go to Hogwarts – and Ron and Hermione’s children, Rose and Hugo, Bill and Fleur’s daughter Victoire, and Tonks and Lupin’s son Teddy (last seen snogging Victoire), and Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius (who would call their son Scorpius??? – Draco Malfoy obviously).

But now it gets tricky. What can I write without spoiling the story for you? OK. I’ll try.

It’s a really good story. It’s a very complicated story. It happens in different times, so it’s really helpful if you know all the other books and characters quite well (I do – and so does any other true Harry Potter fan). When I first started it was really difficult to know what was happening because everything was mixed up, but then it all got quite exciting – and a bit (a bit!) clearer.

It’s mostly about Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy – which is odd because Harry and Draco were enemies. And Harry and Albus don’t see eye to eye on – well, pretty much everything.

I haven’t really got a favourite character because not many of the characters appear for long. All the scenes are quite short (they might be longer when you watch them.) There’s a sort of cliff hanger at the end of Part One – but actually the way the story is told everything’s quite jumbled with different realities so it’s quite hard to keep track of which reality you’re in.

Who is the cursed child??? I’ve got three possibilities. I’m not sure – you’ll have to decide. 

If you want to know any more, you’ll have to read it yourself. But that’s the whole point. And I think you’re going to love it."

Book readers were up all night for the launch of the Cursed Child, with many stores holding midnight parties so fans of the series could get hold of the book as soon as it hit shelves.

J.K. Rowling talks about the script at the Harry Potter and the Cursed child opening gala

Meanwhile, JK Rowling has said the Cursed Child will likely be the last story to focus on Harry Potter as the ‘new generation’ take over.