Early verdict: Rowling’s adult novel lacks magic

LONDON (TIP): JK Rowling’s first foray into adult fiction was bound to be compared to her wildly successful Harry Potter series, and, while ‘The Casual Vacancy’ has earned mixed reviews, for some critics the magic has worn off.

‘The Casual Vacancy’, which hits the shelves on Thursday, looks destined for the top of the bestseller lists whatever the reaction, with Rowling’s celebrity status guaranteeing public anticipation and media attention in equal measure.

In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani likened some of Rowling’s small-minded, snobby characters to the odious Dursley family from the Harry Potter tales.

“One can only admire her gumption in facing up to the overwhelming expectations created by the global phenomenon that was Harry Potter,” Kakutani wrote. “Unfortunately, the real-life world she has limned in these pages is so willfully banal, so depressingly cliched that ‘The Casual Vacancy’ is not only disappointing — it’s dull.”

Other critics were less damning, however, and several reviews in British and US newspapers argued that, while not great, Rowling’s eagerly anticipated break from the world of child wizards and witches was good.

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