Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


As some of you might know, J.K. Rowling released a textbook referred to in her Harry Potter series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, By Newt Scamander. I should start this review with some kind of clever joke about schoolwork and reading textbooks for fun, but unfortunately nothing much is coming to mind. Clearly, I need to sort out my priorities.


Fantastic Beasts is mostly comprised of entries describing the appearance, eating habits, habitats, and sometimes breeding habits of various magical creatures. Sprinkled throughout these entries are hints at a larger narrative, largely concerning the classification of this or that magical creature as a "beast" or a "being," and the difficulty of hiding non-sentient creatures from the muggle world.

There are many ways to tell a story, and not all of them are as straightforward as a novel. This story is told with footnotes and snippets of description, as well as more traditionally in the foreword.

There are sections of this book that can be frightening to those with vivid/overactive imaginations, but there are no visual descriptions of violence or death (rather, there are statements of violence or death, to the effect of "this creature likes to ambush its victims, suffocate them, and then devour them, leaving nothing behind").

I feel that while this book was entertaining in spite of its brevity, the narrative component could have been pushed further. I'm not sure how that might be done, or if it would be any good to read, but I think it's worth experimenting with.

Pay special attention to the format and frequency of the footnotes, and how often the author references the foreword by way of explanation. In addition, the audiobook is read by Eddie Redmayne, the man who plays Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts movies.

#FantasticBeastsandWheretoFindThem #HarryPotter #JKRowling #Fantasy

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