As multiple media outlets speculate on whether J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults, The Casual Vacancy (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) releasing on Thursday, will be as big a hit as her Harry Potter franchise, library holds indicate that it will not. Most libraries have ordered heavily, but not as heavily as they would an HP title, with holds ratios at 3:1 or less.

In Britain, it’s being called “one of the biggest releases of the 21st century,” but not one that will top the final Harry Potter title, which sold 2.5 million in its first 24 hours in the UK alone (the Telegraph).

Currently, it is #3 on Amazon’s US sales rankings, below the account of the killing of Osama bin Laden, No Easy Day, and Rick Riordan’s latest in his middle grade Heroes of Olympus series.

The book is under heavy embargo, but the New Yorker’s Ian Parker was given an early look, for his profile of Rowling in this week’s issue. His assessment is lukewarm:

…whereas Rowling’s shepherding of readers was, in the Harry Potter series, an essential asset, in The Casual Vacancy her firm hand can feel constraining. She leaves little space for the peripheral or the ambiguous; hidden secrets are labelled as hidden secrets, and events are easy to predict. We seem to watch people move around [the town of] Pagford as if they were on Harry’s magical parchment map of Hogwarts.

If you don’t have time to read the full 9,000-word-plus profile, GalleyCat gives a handy synopsis of what it reveals about the book’s plot, along with the necessary spoiler alert.

Rowling also tells Parker that she is working on two books “for slightly younger children” than her Harry Potter readers as well as another one for adults.

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