As an overworked Ministry of Magic employee and a father of three school-age children, Harry has enough on his hands, especially with his youngest son, Albus Severus, the only Potter sorted into Slytherin. Albus struggles to live up to his father’s expectations and legacy, which only adds distance between them. When the Ministry uncovers a time turner and Harry’s scar hurts him for the first time since Voldemort’s death, the past and the present collide.

I love the Harry Potter series. Nine years ago I celebrated and mourned Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at a midnight release party and consumed the entire book in less than a day. The Deathly Hallows was a perfect ending to an incredible journey, and so it was with great anxiety I attended another midnight release party for my copy of The Cursed Child a few days ago.

Harry Potter #8 is not another installment of the franchise. It’s an homage. It’s a remix of the already established mythos. It’s not so much a story of magic and the fight against an all-evil villain, but a story of family relationships and growth.

Rather than a novelization, The Cursed Child is a stage play script, written primarily in dialogue, and takes place nineteen years after the battle of Hogwarts. In this way, the book separates itself from its predecessors in both format and time. It assumes you already know the characters, and the lack of exposition drives imagination more than ever. What you get in the script is the dialogue, which somehow balances concise stage dialogue and is appropriate for each of the beloved characters, and it’s funny.

Nostalgia runs rampant, and the story revolves primarily around Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Albus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, and a few others through the magic of plot devices. (However, with the wistfulness in full swing and the emphasis on family and children, there’s a notable lack of Teddy Lupin.) My heart expands three sizes seeing the gang together again, and despite the convenient plot, the lack of any real stakes, and the primary character growth consisting of Harry learning to be a better dad, I still love having The Cursed Child as my own personal time-turner into the magical world of Harry Potter.

Recommended for Harry Potter fans who grew up.

SCORPIUS: “No, (slightly grandly) it’s time that time-turning became a thing of the past.

ALBUS: You’re quite proud of that phrase, aren’t you?

SCORPIUS: Been working on it all day.”