The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling!


After weeks of promising it, here is my review of The Casual Vacancy, at last!


When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
From Goodreads


It took me a while to get through this book, but I loved it! It’s absolutely nothing like Harry Potter; it’s amazing in a completely different way. It’s a story about how one man’s death can affect the lives of others, and cause events to snowball. The initial death is the most minor incident in the novel – the rest of the events grow from there. The death of Barry Fairbrother is the catalyst.

Positive aspects:

- Excellent characterisation - J. K. Rowling has the ability to create very human characters who are well rounded, have visible flaws and are very believable. This made me emotionally invested in the characters and their lives – I was gleeful when characters I didn’t like suffered (which happens a lot) and sad when characters I liked suffered. 

- It’s very ‘real’ – J. K. Rowling tells it like it is, it's very blunt and believable.

- I love books that show multiple points of view, and this one does it really well. Usually there is at least one character whose POV I don’t want to read, but that wasn’t the case for The Casual Vacancy; I wanted to read all of the characters POV as they were all interesting. There were no parts that I wanted to skip through; each part was important to the overall storyline.

- I Love how all of the different stories intertwined (kind of like in the film Love Actually) with one main theme; the death of Barry Fairbrother. It’s interesting seeing how the families are connected with each other.

- No ‘good guys’ or ‘bad guys’ – just like real life. Everyone has flaws, some people are kinder than others, some smarter, but all of them are flawed. Nobody is perfect.

Negative aspects: 

- The start of the book is quite slow, but this is necessary to introduce all of the characters, and make you understand where they fit into the story. 

Overall, the novel makes you feel; it makes you care what happens to the characters, whether you like them or not. It’s entertaining and I really enjoyed reading it. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars - the only problem I had with it was the slow start, but like I said, it was needed. 

Comments

  1. It's interesting to read a review that seems more honest than many I've read about this J K Rowling's new book.

    It takes courage to jump to something entirely different, and there's never any lack of naysayers for any author.

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    1. Thanks! I can see why some people didn't like the book, especially if they were expecting it to be like Harry Potter. But I liked it :)

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  2. We think alike ;) I loved and disliked the same aspects of this book, and overall gave it a 4 on 5.

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    1. Yeah, I remember reading your review, you certainly said a lot of the same things!

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  3. I bought this book for my mum for Christmas so I read this review thoroughly to make sure that my mum who's an even bigger Harry Potter fan than I am enjoys the book when she gets around to reading it. I think she's actually started over the last day or two and likes it so if she likes it already despite the slow start then that's a good sign. When she's finished with it I'll probably end up borrowing it too, it sounds really compelling and interesting which is great.

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    1. It really is very good, you just have to work through the beginning a bit :) I'm glad your mum seems to be enjoying it! I gave my copy to my mum to read but she hasn't started it yet.

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  4. Thanks for the review. It's good to know the start is slow. This tends to really turn me off but since its JK I'm sure i can get over it :)

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    1. It is well worth reading to the end :)

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  5. Thanks for the review. I heard it gets off to a slow start; I've read other books that start slow and ended up liking them.

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    1. The start is slow but still interesting, definitely worth finishing :)

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  6. Interesting that Rowling is still writing. I would have stopped and just enjoyed myself for the rest of my life, spending money on whatever I wanted.

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    1. Yeah you have a point, she certainly doesn't need to write anymore!

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  7. I've been on the fence about reading this one. It's nice to see how you broke it down. Great review!

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  8. I wondered how this book was. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  9. I've been looking forward to reading this one. It's definitely on my TBR list. Going by your review, it sounds like something I'd really like. Thanks for the recommendation!! :)

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  10. Hi Laura
    I take it this isn't a fantasy like Harry Potter. Sounds interesting and a little daunting all at the same time.
    Nancy

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  11. solid review! i was so curious! thanks for the review =)

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