The Casual Vacancy may not be what Harry Potter fans are expecting from J.K. Rowling. However, there is no denying that the author's writing style is engaging and entertaining. Rowling has created characters that have a lot of depth and while they may not appear to most people as the ideal "heroes and heroines" generally found in books, she has succeeded in giving them a disturbing yet realistic identity.
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The book highlights the negativity inherent in most human beings and how for the sake of selfish goals, normal people can become cruel. This book will not appeal to everyone and will probably get extreme reactions from people - they would either love it or hate it. An interesting aspect of this book is how Rowling has managed to use humor in an otherwise dark satire.
This is no Harry Potter. Readers will find less fantasy and more realism in this book as it talks about relevant social issues such as suicide, abuse, poverty, drugs and politics. This may not be the ultimate novel from J.K. Rowling but it is a good piece of work and should appeal to readers with an open-mind and also to those who are avid fans of J.K. Rowling. I personally enjoyed the book although if asked if I prefer her Harry Potter style of writing, I would definitely say yes.