Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Author: Newt Scamander (J. K. Rowling)
Genre: Fantasy/series tie-in.
Date Read: 20/10/2016 – 22/10/2016
Okay, it might not be fair of me to judge a series tie-in written for Comic Relief as harshly as I do books generally, but I’ve got to be honest, this book was kind of boring?
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is the definitive text on magical creatures within the Harry Potter universe, but I found it fairly hard to believe that such a slim volume (80 pages + introduction) would rank so highly on magical bookshelves. There are eighty beasts featured in the book, and there is only a paragraph or two dedicated to each one. Having said that, reading what is supposed to be an academic text would probably not be made more interesting by extra details if one is not inclined to read this sort of thing already.
Many of the creatures featured are ones that are seen throughout the Harry Potter series, so I already had a passing familiarity with them. Others were new to me, or may have only ever got a passing mention that I have since forgotten (it’s been a while since I read a HP book). The writing style is fairly accessible and makes a few comments that raised a smirk, but there was nothing truly revelatory within the pages.
There are also the scribbled notes in Harry, Ron and Hermione’s handwriting. These are cute at first, but a lot of them seem like in-jokes with the reader, more so than actual notes a teenager would scribble in the margins.
I’m reading back over what I’ve written here and part of me thinks I’m being unnecessarily harsh. After all, I did know the book’s format going in. It’s not like I was expecting a riveting plot. But I don’t know, I was expecting something to hold my attention a bit more.