The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling is perhaps somewhat of enigma. I, just like countless thousands of other readers was so curious about what this author would come up with after so many hugely popular Harry Potter books. This book was in a way, refreshing, and in a way disappointing. Let me explain. I knew going in after watching the news coverage on the release of this book, that it was intended for adults. I also knew that it was a...bit off the beaten path, particularly when held in comparison to her previous books. I think that is where we reviewers may be going wrong. As much as we swear we will not judge this novel off of previous books by this author, the magic and wonder of her previous series is steadfastly and stubbornly locked in our minds. I did my best to lay Harry and his magical friends to rest when I picked up "The Casual Vacancy." So from here on I will not mention the previous series again. What I loved about this book: This book was funny at times, sad at others and moved along at a good enough clip to keep my mind occupied. I thought the town was great, the characters were sharp and the writing itself was very good. I liked that the author told the fans what she wanted to write this time rather than beat a dying horse to death and stick with the program. I liked that the ending left you wondering certain things and yet answered the most important things. I thought the book was well edited and intelligent, regardless of the subject matter. What I didn't like: (Attempting to do this without spoilers) I really couldn't see how some of the material in this book could be considered as coming from a comedic standpoint. The opinion I got when watching the pre-release coverage for this book was that it was supposed to be tinged with comedy. Some of the issues in this book are just plain depressing and not at all what I would have considered a topic to laugh about. I found an undercurrent throughout this book that strangely, made me hate it for the same reason I loved it. I felt as though the author went to extremes trying to prove that she could write something other than young adult fiction, that in an odd way, made the writing came out a bit juvenile. I also felt that the author spent a bit too little time on description and a bit too much time pondering the macabre. Perhaps it was just me, but I came away feeling a bit dry. For me, this book was like sitting on a hilltop with your camera poised on a beautiful sky waiting for that perfect sunset. All of a sudden, your expectations are shattered when a huge cloud moves in front of the sun and ruins the shot. I expected so much for a book that was five years in the making. I did not feel this book measured up to that expectation. J.K. Rowling previously said that she would not want to talk to anyone who did not cry at the end of this book. I hope I am not the first to disappoint her, but Not a single tear did I shed. I seriously came away feeling casually vacant. To those of you who are moaning and groaning over the prices of the kindle books and leaving negative reviews...it is wingardium leviosa....NOT Wingardium Levi-o-sahhhhhhh. Read the book before you judge. I did.
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