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A Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling – 4/10 (DNF)

“Krystal’s slow passage up the school had resembled the passage of a goat through the body of a boa constrictor, being highly visible and uncomfortable for both parties concerned.”


Nothing I write is going to change your mind on this book. People are going to read it because they want to read the new JK Rowling, not because reviews have said that it’s particularly good or bad. However, I would say don’t read it.

There are very few likeable characters in this novel; as a number of reviews have pointed out, the best developed characters are the teenagers that Rowling has had so much practice writing. A significant number of the adults are actually repellent. While every book needs the odd repellent character (Filch, anyone?), these ones are caricatures.

What stopped me from carrying on with this book was the way that the writing is not only adult, gritty, dark etc… it was as if Rowling was deliberately inserting adult content simply for the sake of it, to make the book not suitable for under-18s. “Hmm, this sentence is missing any mention of an R-rated body part. Where can I squeeze one in?” Yeurgh.

There is some funny writing (see quote above) and Rowling has a knack for the petty-minded empire-builder. But with a huge cast and vocab from the gutter, it’s easy to turn away.

Additional information:


10 thoughts on “A Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling – 4/10 (DNF)”

  1. No, no, you’re wrong: I am one person who will heed reviews! I have no particular interest in Rowling so I will rely on fellow bloggers’ reviews to make up my mind on reading it. Thanks. I’m likely to leave it and buy/borrow and read something else…

  2. I have heard so many bad reviews regarding this book. It is really a shame but just like Jo, I think I will wait if I read it at all, so love Harry Potter!

  3. I decided (after reading many of the different reviews on release day) to give this one a pass as well. After listening to a few of her interviews, I think she was trying too hard to prove she could write something other than Harry – both to herself and to readers. I think a lot of YA authors make the same mistakes when they switch to adult books, and it will hopefully be something she adjusts to as she writes more books. In good news, I heard her say that her next book is YA/children’s again.

  4. I hadn’t heard about the writing, the over-18 aspect, I mean. It’s a pity the teenagers are better written because it won’t endear her to the audience. I do want to read it though, if just because it’s a Rowling (I fully admit to my interest being that).

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