1) Do not compare it to the Harry Potter series..ever!

2) Do not, in some corner of your mind, hope for an escape into a fantasy world…this book is as real as it gets.

3) Do not read it just because it is written by J.K. Rowling.

4) Do not be surprised when the author who molded your childhood and teenage years, introduced you to the fantastical world of magic and mystery, writes about drugs, prostitution,rape,etc with a generous sprinkling of swear words!

This one was a long pending review..one that has done the rounds in my head quite often and I wasn’t able to decide whether I liked the latest offering by J.K.Rowling or not.

They say ‘Do not judge a book by its cover’, but the cover of the book should give you a clue, it is plain, stark and contrasting ..just like the book itself!

The book starts with the death of Barry Fairbrother and with this event a casual vacancy opens in the parish council of the town of Pagford. Barry seems like a very well-loved character and the story unravels through the ‘ghost of Barry Fairbrother’ which exposes the deepest and darkest secrets of the citizens of Pagford who are aiming for the vacant seat.

Pagford is split into two opposing bastions-sympathizers for the people of the fields and the other group consists of the bigoted and prejudiced citizens who have a long-held loathing for the fields and its people, the drug rehabilitation center and the antisocial elements that it breeds.

J.K offers a rich tapestry of characters through this book, though the story line changing focus from one to another in every chapter can be slightly tiresome.

The one thing that comes out shining clear from the latest work of this author is that writing about children and teenagers is her forte!

She has a deep understanding of an adolescent mind like no other.

I fell in love with the character of Krystal Weedon…you will have to love her, sometimes hate and most of the times admire this gutsy gritty and gifted lass…

There were also times when I felt that J.K has used sex, prostitution, drugs and a liberal sprinkling of vulgar language, just to prove a point – that she can write adult fiction too. But this might be because, howsoever I tried, a small part of me was hoping for this one, to be the next Harry Potter book!

Do I love or hate this book..I can’t decide. Take a look for yourself…its different, tedious at times, engaging, heart wrenching with no neatly tied up endings and just not what you would expect from the author of ‘Harry Potter’!!