‘The Casual Vacancy’ — 3 out of 5 Stars

There is no wizardry, Dark Lord or messenger owls in J.K. Rowling’s "The Casual Vacancy." Rowling’s first adult novel deals with much more realistic drama.

Barry Fairbrother, a citizen of the small English town of Pagford, has died. His open spot on the Pagford Parish Council results in a casual vacancy. The town erupts into chaos as the election date for Fairbrother’s replacement approaches. Tensions rise as people argue about the causes with which Fairbrother was most involved.

While the adults in Pagford fight and take sides over the open position, the younger generation is fighting battles of its own. Bullying, intimacy and domestic issues shape the actions of the younger characters as they intertwine themselves in the controversies of the adult world.

Besides the war waged over the open position, the novel deals with issues such as rape, drug abuse, intimacy, self-harm and suicide. To the dismay of the reader, the ending does not provide the same uplifting feeling as Rowling’s previous works. Add that to her subpar writing, and you’ve got yourself an average novel at best.

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