Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

fantastic beastsI didn’t see the movie, but I read the transcript, so that counts, right? Expanding upon the Harry Potter universe, this story takes place in the U.S. in the 1920’s. Newt Scamander, whose name you will recognize from HP lore, has arrived in the states from England with a case full of magical creatures. He’s attempting to write a scholarly book about them, and he is also attempting to return a poached creature back to its home. Things go awry when he runs into – literally – a No-Maj (that’s “Muggle” to most of us) named Jacob who sees what’s inside the case and attempts to steal it, undoubtedly to fund his idea to open up a bakery.

There’s also Tina, who works for the US equivalent of the Ministry of Magic, who is somehow on Newt’s trail (this wasn’t really given a good explanation on HOW she knew he was there), and tries to turn him in, but ends up becoming an ally.

The book is broken into scenes and has dialogue, so there aren’t actually a lot of words on its nearly 300 pages. I was able to read the entire thing within the course of a few hours, over a 24 hour period. So it’s missing some substance – you have to imagine that the actors are doing their jobs of conveying what is going on: the emotions and subtle hints at the evil that you know is coming (would Rowling write something WITHOUT a villain??? I think not!)

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, you might not love Newt as much, but you’ll appreciate the addition to the canon, and all of the magical creatures we get to meet throughout the book. I can only imagine how this came across on screen. Well, I can only imagine for now – I plan on watching the movie as soon as possible.

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