JK Rowling's first novel since the hugely successful 'Harry Potter' series, 'The Casual Vacancy' has finally hit shelves, with the first reviews giving a mixed verdict.
The novel, Rowling's first attempt at adult literary, centres on an unexpected vacancy on a parish council in a small West Country town with the election to fill the seat unearthing snobbery and darkness at the heart of the community, according to the BBC.
Speaking to the Guardian in a recent interview, Rowling admitted the worst thing that could happen was the book was panned.
She claimed: "The worst that can happen is that everyone says, 'Well, that was dreadful, she should have stuck to writing for kids' and I can take that.
“So, yeah, I'll put it out there, and if everyone says, 'Well, that's shockingly bad- back to wizards with you,' then obviously I won't be throwing a party. But I will live. I will live."
The book went on sale earlier this morning, with book shops opening early at 8am for eager fans to get their hands on the read.
One reader, 29 year-old Rhiane Jones from London, who arrived early to pick up her copy told the Press Association: "Harry Potter was a large part of the experience of growing up so I was quite curious about what she'd produce.
"I think her fan base will be curious about a novel that is targeted at them now they've grown up. And people who've bought into the hype around the book and just want a good story will be interested. She may not be the most stylish user of language but she's an amazing storyteller. It will be a good read."
JK Rowling, Will she succeed post Harry Potter? (WENN)
But what did the reviews say?
The Daily Mirror described the book as “a billion miles away” from “Potterland” and picked up on the foul language used throughout, saying: “JK Rowling's first novel for adults is foul-mouthed, brutal and extremely bleak!
“This is adult stuff that requires a very broad mind as well as patience. But there's heart here and humour too.”
Jan Moir of the Daily Mail was not a fan claiming that “on balance” it failed to “live up to the hype.”
She wrote: “Not unless you want to have more than 500 pages of relentless socialist manifesto, masquerading as literature, crammed down your throat.”
The Independent went for a more balanced summary, stating: “Rowling's writing can be laborious in set-pieces but picks up magic with the adolescent characters.”
Rowling hinted that despite her new adult novel she may return to the world of Harry Potter in the future. In an interview with the BBC the author said: "It was murder saying goodbye. Now if I had a fabulous idea that came out of that world - because I loved writing it - I'd do it."
She added: "There were a couple of the Potters and I definitely knew that they needed another year. I had to write on the run and there were times when it was really tough. I read them, and I think 'Oh maybe I'll go back and do a director's cut', I don't know."
Are you going to be picking up a copy of 'Casual Vacancy'?
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