We can't help but wonder: was creating Harry Potter not enough?
A quick round-up delivers a mixed view.
The reader can only hope she doesn’t try to flesh out the Muggle world of Pagford in any further volumes, but instead moves on to something more compelling and deeply felt in the future.
Rowling is clearly a skilled writer. This book is more depressing than her previous work because it is set in a world without magic, where cruelty is less apocalyptic and more believably petty. Though some sequences feel a few drafts short of being ready, others are written with a fluency and beauty that suggest that there could be more and better works to come from her pen.
Despite tough topics and maybe 50 extra pages, Rowling has produced a vivid read with great, memorable characters and a truly emotional payoff; those 400-plus million copies sold of Harry Potter books were no coincidenc.
If nothing else, The Casual Vacancy has removed 50 Shades of Grey from the bestseller list. That can only be a good thing.