Thursday, 27 September 2012

JK Rowlings New Book, Casual Vacancy Review

So, the first adult book from JK Rowling. A woman who wrote one of the most successful book series of all time. In this Casual Vacancy review I hope to outline the broader points of the story, the things I did and did not like.

Casual Vacancy Plot

The Casual Vacancyis set in a small, English countryside town known as Pagford. The story begins with the sudden death of Barry Fairbrother, who is a member of the Pagford Parish Council. The council is stuck in an internal struggle over the Fields, the Fields being a housing development on the border with Pagford’s larger neighbor, Yarvil. Some of the residents of Pagford see the Fields as a burden, with the children lacking education, petty crime and drug users.

These members want to rezone it as part of Yarvil and be done with it. Barry was more on the side of keeping, and trying to work on the Fields, but his death creates an opening on the council (The technical term being a casual vacancy) and in their haste to fill it people on either side of the disagreement begin to reveal their carefully hidden inner lives. Rich and poor in conflict, teenagers at war with their parents, wives and husbands in turmoil, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

Casual Vacancy Review - The Good

Being a big Potter fan, I was very comfortable with the writing style of The Casual Vacancy. It was quite similar to the HP books that I grew up reading, yet at the same time, the book still felt adult and mature. There are things in this book that you will not see in Harry Potter, things such as swearing, drug dealing, heroin addiction and abuse. Rowling does not shy away from the adult themes and in general the book is based in a brutal world, a world far away from the sometimes idyllic seeming world of Harry Potter, even with the main character almost being murdered in every book.

The Casual Vacancy has underlying themes of morality, of harsh truths about the world that we live in. Personally I love that. I love the way JK has stepped away from the magic and fantasy world, she has written a gritty, down to earth, great novel. The plot also has the elements of humour that Harry Potter fans will love, sticking to the gritty plotlines while at the same time providing the viewer with a giggle or two, is really a great weapon in JK's arsenal.

Casual Vacancy Review - The Bad

I have heard that this book has received mixed reviews, but I am not really that interested in what they are. I have not sought out these reviews as this article is supposed to be my own opinion of this book, and I did not wish to be influenced by the comments of others. The few criticisms that I can see being directed at the book, is that it has a one sided viewpoint. This, in my opinion is part down to the writing style, and is the way the book is supposed to be seen, from that specific view point. I can also see the themes that run through the book being criticised. Some may not expect an author of a best selling childrens book to release something with such adult themes, however, it has been widely advertised as being an adults book, so be prepared when you open the covers, that it is definitely an adults world you will find inside.

I saw on Amazon when ordering, that many many one star reviews have been given.. By people that have not even bought the book... These people are complaining about the price of the kindle product.. If you really are a fan of JK and her writing style, I will truly say it was worth the money for me, if you still think that it is too much, whatever was the matter with good old paper?

 I hope you have enjoyed this Casual Vacancy review. Overall I think that The Casual Vacancy was a great read, and at 500 pages, it has not stepped down from the long literary feats of some of the Harry Potter series. However, even over this long reading time, I did not get lost, the plot continued to roll at a steady pace, I felt like I was getting to know the world and its characters better. The Casual Vacancy really did immerse me in its storyline. A fantastic read and a new book for my recommended list.

To buy the Kindle, Hardback or Paperback version, I would recommend buying at amazon.
US residents check out the book here!
UK/EU residents check out the book here!