It seems that this book is very controversial amongst the Harry Potter book lovers. Everyone I’ve talked to who has read it either absolutely adores it, or thinks of it as an abomination to the Potter-verse. There are even some people who haven’t read it and never plan on reading it because they vehemently are against it.
If you decide to read this book, I think the main thing here is to remember that it is not the eighth Harry Potter book; it’s much different and you can’t go into it with the same expectations.
The one book—which is already shorter than most books in the original series—covers a time span of years, as opposed to nine months in the Harry Potter books. Everything goes by so quickly and you don’t get to see a whole lot of the day-to-day activities that readers loved in the first book. It’s also important to note that this is a script, so it’s all dialogue with the few exceptions of stage action and directions. The Harry Potter books are loved in part because of the amount of detail they go into, but the play doesn’t have the opportunity to do so, especially since the play production itself provides that.
“People think they know all there is to know about you, but the best bits of you are– have always been– heroic in really quiet ways.” (Act IV. Scene ix)
Now that the disclaimers are out of the way…
I was truly glued to this book. It was so much fun to read and it was quick, too. I paced myself (with great effort) so that I could lengthen the experience for as long as possible. I really enjoyed most of the story, as it mainly focuses on Harry’s middle child, Albus, and his life at Hogwarts, which is much different that of his parents or even siblings.
The book brought back a lot of pieces from the original series that I had not expected to come up. To be quite honest though, I thought they could have done more with the plot. The things that they did bring back could have be done in a better way. Without spoiling the plot, I found the climax of the book to be a bit cheap which disappointed me greatly.
Ultimately, I loved the set-up and exposition, but the ending lacked conviction and wasn’t up to J.K.’s standards, in my opinion.
I definitely don’t regret reading the book, but I also wouldn’t write home about it. I almost view this book as apart of the Potter-verse and don’t think of it as canon. In terms of recommendations, I’d say read it if you’re curious and think it’d be fun (it won’t ruin your perception of the original series), but don’t feel like you’re missing out on a key part of Harry Potter because you don’t read it.
Despite any thoughts, I do think that going to see the play would be so much fun and an amazing experience.