The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling Rating: 4.5 Stars

Okay, this review needs to start out with a disclaimer that I think the book itself should probably have: The Casual Vacancy is a graphic book. It is NOT a children's book. I don't care that it is written by J.K. Rowling, it is for ADULTS, or older teens at the least. Don't bother reading it if you're not okay with that, because this book deals with, and graphically depicts, pretty much every "adult" situation you can think of. It also discusses rape, abuse (of all forms), cutting, addiction, and other potentially disturbing subjects.

That said, this book is great. Rowling flashes back and forth between the POVs of at least SEVENTEEN characters (yes, I counted), but she somehow manages to make it all easy to understand and keep track of. Every single character is memorable and interesting, and the reader clearly understands their motivations and feelings. In my opinion, character creation is the area that Rowling most excels in, and she proves that point here. It's not easy to have one or two round characters in a book, to create and maintain around twenty is a feat that deserves the highest praise.

I'll admit, I don't personally like graphicness in books. Constant cursing and graphic descriptions annoy me, and if this book wasn't by J.K. Rowling, who I respect and adore, and if it didn't have those aforementioned wonderfully written characters, I might not have finished it at all. That said, given the ending, I am SO glad I did. In many ways, this book is addictive...once it hooks you, it's hard to put down, which is why it very nearly received a five star rating from me. If it wasn't for the brazen graphic images, it almost certainly wouldn't have lost that half star. So if graphic scenes don't bother you, or, better yet, if you like them, this could well be your new favorite book.

There isn't too much more I can say in this review without giving things away, something I would never want to do. I don't like reading spoilers, so I certainly don't want to write them. I'll wrap this up by saying that, in this book, J.K. Rowling proves she is an incredible author in any setting and with any story. Her captivating style and dynamic characters are in a league of their own, and, while I admit I hope she writes more books for a younger age group, my chief hope is only that she continue to write and grace us all with her unparalleled literary genius.