First a confession, I probably wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been written by J.K. Rowling. The blurb didn't make it sound like my typical style of book at all, but I was curious how she'd manage anything other than Harry Potter or at least the fantasy genre.J.K. Rowling's personal style very quickly became very apparent. Even in such a vastly different book, I could still recognize her 'voice', and have to admit that she knows how to write.But if one were to make comparisons to Harry Potter, that's as far as they could go. Beyond JKR's writing style they have absolutely nothing in common.A word of warning if you're about to read this, "The Casual Vacancy" is SLOW to start. The first 200'ish pages are spent setting the scene and introducing the people. I never got bored enough to consider giving up on it, but I did seriously start to wonder when the plot was going to start rolling. "The Casual Vacancy" has a HUGE people gallery. I'm usually pretty good at keeping everybody's names straight, but here even I would have benefited from a quick list in the start of the book. It took me awhile to get everybody sorted.Don't be fooled - this is absolutely a book for adults, and a depressing one to boot. My biggest beef with this book is that apart from one single exception, every single person seemed worse off at the end of the book than they had at the beginning (okay, a few were probably the same... at least within a slight margin). This is not a book that'll put you in a good mood - I closed the book with a feeling of hopelessness more than anything else.So why still three stars? Because JKR has proven without a shadow of a doubt that she knows how to create an engaging universe. I might not have liked it much, but it was REAL... and it's probably precisely because it felt so real that I didn't like it much.