I was so excited by the "let's read this book at the same time" plan. Too bad this book is so awful. And I've gotta tell you, I can hardly believe I wrote those words. It's J.K. Rowling! How can I think it's awful? I feel like I just punched one of the Weasley twins in the face.
We've talked a lot about the weight of expectations. But what do you do when you expect not to think much of a book and your expectations are low...and you actually dislike it MORE than you expected. Oof.
Here's my problem. I'm about 25% of the way through the book. Right now, if it wasn't for you, I'd put this book down and never pick it back up again.
1) Despite the rather exciting and dramatic inciting incident, there has not been a single other noteworthy plot element that has taken place in the book. And I've gotta tell you, this is *killing* me. I guess I did have one expectation going into this, which is that at the very least I could count on J. K. Rowling to have a well-plotted book. But nothing is happening. And because of nothing happening...
2)...None of the characters seem interesting, exciting, likeable, or distinctive. Literally every time the book switches perspective, I have to force myself to remember any sort of salient details about the person and his or her relationship to the other characters.
3) Speaking of characters, am I the only one who thinks that there are just too many of them? And that we know the perspectives of too many of them? My favorite phrase for this is "head hopping" and usually I actually don't usually mind perspective switching. I like knowing what everyone is thinking. But they also have to be *doing* something apparently. As it is, this is just a maelstrom of angry, worried, small-minded people thinking mean, uncharitable thoughts. Mmmm. Fun.
4) I have an awful feeling that this isn't actually a book, but rather Rowling out to prove something: let me take all the awesome and great things about Harry Potter and do *everything exactly the opposite* so that all these adult readers get that I'm serious and I mean business and that I'm a real author now! The problem to me is that the net result, at least so far, is a misanthropic, meandering mess. I'm not saying that books need to be sunny and bright and cheerful in order for me to read them, but this has really nothing to offer me.
PS How do you say Pagford? Pag rhymes with Lag? Or more like page?
PPS How many times will she use the term "casual vacancy" and why does it make me feel like she thinks I'm too dumb to remember; Or perhaps she's worried we won't get the metaphor, yes, yes, it's about death. I get it.