Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Review by Mini Me Bookworm, Slytherin House:
The original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by "Newt Scamander" was about the most fun I'd had when reading a Harry Potter book because of the whimsical additions by Harry, Ron, and occasionally Hermione. (I also learned that only male basilisks have red plumes on their heads. The serpent in the Chamber is female!) When the movie Fantastic Beasts came out, I really wanted to see it, but never came around to doing it. I received the screenplay and read it cover to cover about twenty times that first day. [Dr. Bookworm note: this is not unusual for Mini Me as she's a quick reader. She likes to devour a book quickly as she NEEDS to know what happens next, then she re-reads again to soak up the details or read favorite passages. I love when she just has to read a particular passage out loud to us.]
Every little detail in that book enthralled me. I loved learning about America's undercover magical community, because up to that point, it was all the British Ministry and schools. I thought I was destined for Hogwarts and to become an Auror for the Ministry, but maybe I'll be going to the American wizarding school, Ilvermorney, and join the Magical Congress of the US. The deepness of the moral and the emotions that hang heavily around Credence and Graves. There's also that suspenseful air that always appears at the climax whenever JKR is involved.
Another thing that I have to mention is the relationships between characters that evolve throughout the story. Tina is practically an antagonist, at least to Newt, when she 'takes him in' to be interrogated at MACUSA, but small traces of friendship begin to emerge until they are nearly inseparable. Of course, there's also Credence and his strange obsession-like love of touching Percival Graves, and the terrifying events that follow. And the obvious romance blossoming under Tina's nose between a particular, enchanting witch and a No-Maj. . . . . which makes the end so wistfully tearful. But in a good way. Sort of.
After reading the book, I had a fear of Obscurials and thought I might have nightmares, but instead I had weird, emotional visions of a sobbing child within a black mess of a monster, reaching desperately out for help to no avail. Everyone is repulsed by it. I almost cried, but because of the unfairness of it all. I want to scream when I think about injustice. (This serves as proof that it's a good story.) That part of the book/movie, the innocence disguised in wickedness concept, reminds me a bit of Beauty and the Beast, just without the enchanted rose.
Then I watched the movie. I'm happy that I read the screenplay first, because it allows me to imagine my own movie in my head. I loved the movie, but unfortunately it didn't have all the beautiful words that the book does.
Sometimes I can't put my words into sentences. Or my thoughts into words, for that matter. So here are my phrases for Fantastic Beasts: close your eyes and step into the sharp, sweet rain shower, embracing with fire and passion, adrenaline races as she leaps, and a splatter of blood. (There's always a splatter of blood in HP, don't worry.)
Rating: Place this book on the lowest shelf, next to all your other HP books.
Ages: per Mini Me, age 9 and up. The film is rated PG-13.
Note: Top photo of JK Rowling's Wizarding World: A Pop-up Book of Curiosities with illustrations by Sergio Gomez Silvan and paper engineering by James Diaz and the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling, both published in November 2016.