The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling I don't have a huge amount to say about The Casual Vacancy other than I thought it was good but not my cup of tea. I don't think JKR has ruined her reputation by publishing this after Harry Potter, I just think she wants to get out of the whole children's author thing and she did it in a very dark and adult book.
The characters in The Casual Vacancy were not very likeable but I still like some - Andrew, Tessa, Samantha, Suhkvinder being some of them. Her characters were honest and moving and my opinion did change through the books. I disliked Andrew and Samantha at the beginning, now I like them. Most important of all, however, was Krystal, who was fascinating and beautifully written. A true enigma.
I do believe JKR is still an amazingly gifted writer and even though I found a lot of The Casual Vacancy quite dreary, it picked up in the end (sob) and I admire JKR's courage for writing something so different to the beloved Harry Potter series.
So, to other readers - read it. Just have an open mind and don't hate on JKR for releasing something that's not HP.