As you should know by now, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Most people who know me think I’m a little weird due to my extreme love for this book series. Well, like most Potter fans, when I heard that the genius behind the story had written another book I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on whatever this new novel was going to be.
Then the press release came out. It was revealed that JK Rowling’s new novel was called The Casual Vacancy and would be about the ripples caused by the death of a man on the council of a small town in London. I remember staring at the official description in shock at how boring it sounded.
But this is JK Rowling we’re talking about. Surely anything written by her would be good. It couldn’t possibly be bad, right? Alas, yes, it could.
I bought this book when it came out on September 27 and only just finished it last week (part of why I posted no blogs, I was on a mission to finish this thing). For the first 150-200 pages I actually fell asleep every time I tried to read. I think the most I got through before battling sleep was 15 pages. That is not normal for me.
JK Rowling wrote the book from the perspective of nearly every character that featured and almost none of them were likable. It wasn’t just a matter of them being flawed, which they were, but I genuinely had difficulty caring what happened to most of them.
The plot (I use that term very loosely) gets more interesting the last 100 pages or so, which mainly means I no longer struggled to stay awake. It wasn’t until the last 20 pages where I actually felt invested and cared about the events taking place. And then it was depressing.
I am sure that there are some people who would enjoy this book, but I am not one of them. Most of my fellow Potter obsessed friends didn’t even finish the book. I think part of the problem is that the genre is so completely different from what made Rowling famous that it reached the wrong audience. If this book had had any name on it other than Rowling I wouldn’t have even considered purchasing it because it didn’t sound like anything I would ever enjoy reading. The writing itself was still great and there were even times when I could hear the writing voice I loved so much from Potter, but pretty words are not what keeps me turning the pages late into the night when I should be asleep.
I think it is pretty evident that my reading of The Casual Vacancy was a colossal disappointment, but I am still hesitant to give the blanket advise not to read it. Instead, what I would say is, if you read the description inside the jacket and it sounds like the type of book you would normally enjoy, give it a shot. If not, leave it be and just be content to reread Harry Potter.
Have you read (or attempted to read) The Casual Vacancy? What did you think? Did you find it as boring as me or do you think I’m crazy and that it is a fantastic read? Let me know in the comments.