In the last week I’ve read two of the most hotly anticipated new releases of 2016: Justin Cronin’s The City of Mirrors, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by she who doesn’t need to be named and a couple of guys. I wasn’t going to write anything about either of these books because half the world already has, but then I changed my mind because I can do that if I want.
Author: Justin Cronin
Genre: Fiction (horror)
Release Date: May 24th, 2016.
It’s taken four years, but fans of Justin Cronin’s ‘The Passage’ trilogy finally have a conclusion to this amazing vampire apocalypse series. Was it worth the wait? Well according to those five little stars above, for me it was most definitely worth the wait. In fact, I’m glad it took so long to hit the shelves (for whatever reason) because it gave Cronin the time to get it right. So far it’s had over 10,000 ratings on Goodreads and has a 4.25 star rating – so I think most people agree that it was a super satisfying conclusion.
All the favourites are back – albeit advanced in years – and if it’s been a while since you’ve read the first two books, I can highly recommend giving them a reread beforehand. It was so great reading all three one after the other, to see how the characters grow, and reflect on why I love some of them so much (I’ve always had a gigantic crush on Michael and that hasn’t changed at all). Most importantly for me, Cronin didn’t go soft on his characters. It’s obvious that he’s become attached to them over the years, but that doesn’t mean he gives them an easy ride in the end. I don’t read this series to feel comforted – I read it because blood and guts and vampires and survival.
There were some parts of the book that were a bit slow to read, and in the moment of reading I questioned whether they needed to be there. But in looking back on the book as a whole, these slow bits were necessary – it’s hard to go into specifics without giving away spoilers, but just trust me on this: the slow bits are like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and without them you wouldn’t get the full picture. I’d highly recommend keeping tissues at hand/wear something with sleeves you can wipe your face on, because from 462 onward I spent the whole time crying on and off. It got so bad at some points that my tears blurred the pages and I had to stop reading, and by the end of it I was a blubbering mess. It was emotional.
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Genre: Fiction (fantasy)
Release Date: July 31st, 2016
I truly wasn’t going to get this on release day. When the news first broke earlier in the year about The Cursed Child, I was super excited. Then I realised it wasn’t going to be a novel, but a play. This dampened my excitement somewhat. But the hype on the Internet the day before and the morning of its release, got me excited again and I naturally had to have it. And I’m really glad I didn’t wait because I had such a great time reading it.
Firstly, don’t let the script format put you off. There’s next to no detail about scenes – this is a play; it’s meant to be seen, not read – so as a reader you’ll need to fill in a lot of the blanks. But if you’re familiar with the wizarding world then you’ll have no problems imagining where the characters are at any moment, nor will you have trouble picturing the characters themselves and what they look like. I’m under no illusion that this will please everyone, but it’s another Potter story, you guys. Did we need it? Not really. But we all wanted it, so I guess we can’t complain too much. Just keep in mind that this was written to be performed and I think you’ll be satisfied.
The main focus of the story is the relationships between characters and it’s laden with morals, such as not judging someone based on who their parents are and that sort of thing. The usual suspects (Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny) are there, as well as the offspring of these four, plus some other familiar characters and some other newbies. I don’t think it’s a spoiler mentioning Scorpius Malfoy, but that’s all I’ll say about him in case I do spoil something for someone (why did I even bring him up? Read it and… just read it).
Basically I loved it to pieces – it really was exactly what I hoped it would be. I laughed, I cried (mostly for sentimental reasons), I gasped out loud, I was happy. My only complaint? That, once again, it’s all over.