This review contains spoilers.
“Oh, Newt. You never met a monster you couldn’t love.”
Series: Fantastic Beasts
Published: 2018, by Little, Brown.
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Screenplays
Contains: Death, Violence, Anger, Fire
‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is the screenplay for the recently released film of the same name. Continuing on from the first instalment, Newt Scamander is back in Britain, following a travel ban after the events in New York City. After the success of his book, he seems to be trying to adjust to his life again until old Hogwarts Professor, Albus Dumbledore, asks him to travel to Paris in search of thought-to-be-dead, Credence Barebone, and protect him from the looming threat of Grindelwald.
It’s no surprise to everyone that I love the Fantastic Beasts franchise, falling in love with the story and its characters from the moment the first film was released. Although, this follow up seems more unpopular than the first, I loved it and its inconsistencies.
‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ sees the return of the original foursome, with heartbreaking developments. Although, we follow Newt’s journey, Jacob returns as the beloved right-hand man, with his usual humbling humour throughout the book. Newt’s character is developed further, revealing more of his history with the introduction of Theseus, the war hero older sibling, and his childhood love interest, Leta Lestrange. Both of which are fleshed out with strength and courage throughout the story. We’re also introduced to the iconic Albus Dumbledore, a character that is just as manipulative as remembered. However, it might just be my love for the 1920’s aesthetic, but he was much more easier to digest and accept in this franchise compared to the Harry Potter series.
This instalment is nothing like the first, becoming much darker from the first page. Whilst ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ lured you back into the Wizarding World with fluffy Nifflers and 1920’s elegance, ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ reminds you of the pain you suffered during the final Harry Potter book. Everything you thought you knew is wrong.
The language within the book itself is classic Rowling, the dialogue full of quirks and pure lovable lines, especially those from Newt and Tina, whilst the description is simple and easy to follow. The book is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations relating to the scenes, which immerses you further into the magical world within the page. However, there is the occasional mistake regarding Rowling’s own fictional timeline; some things just simply don’t add up. (
Dumbledore teaches DADA now? McGonagall is already teaching at Hogwarts?) Although, this story is the middle of a longer series, meaning it’s necessary to create subplots without there necessarily being a resolution, the sheer amount of unanswered questions and confusion did make for a too drawn out story. To name a few:
- Who and where did Bunty come from? She’s such an interesting character, but how long has Newt had an assistant? He was alone in FBAWTFT, but that might have been because he was travelling and not at home, but surely he’d have mentioned her or had something indicating her existence within the case?
- Why is Nagini with Credence? How did they get so close? She’s free from the Circus and has no connection to Grindelwald, so why stick around?
- How did Dumbledore know about the Obscurial in the first place? So, Newt knows he didn’t tell him about the Thunderbird with the intention of helping him with his book, but how did he know about Credence and Grindelwald’s plans for it?
- Who does the prophecy refer to then, if not the Lestrange family? Is it the Dumbledore’s?
- Was Abernathy always a Grindelwald supporter? I feel like I missed something with this one.
- Also, who is Grimmson and why was Newt against him taking over his ‘mission’ at the Ministry? I’m so confused by who this character is and their relationship.
Overall, I loved this chapter of the Fantastic Beasts series. It was great to return to the world I’ve fallen in love with so much and regardless of its imperfections, this book satisfied me enough for the next one. If only we didn’t have to wait so long…